Persnickety Pages and Printers

During the first baby steps of a project you’re likely to hear a lot about in the coming weeks—the production of my daughter’s preschool yearbook—I encountered more than a couple of quirks when working with Apple’s iWork page-layout application, Pages. Oh sure, I could move to InDesign or Quark to do the work, but, by gum, this is exactly the kind of project iWork was designed for and I’m determined to bend it to my will, quirks and all.

While Quirk 1 likely has more to do with my HP Photosmart 8450 printer than with Pages, it’s still irksome. It’s like this: When I attempt to print a page that contains five photos, one of the photos doesn’t print and, instead, a duplicate of one of the other photos on the page appears in its place—stretched to accommodate the space relegated to the original photo. When I print the same page on my HP LaserJet 1300n, it prints as it should.

To work around the problem, I chose Print from Pages’ File menu and saved the document as a PDF. When previewed and printed in Acrobat and Preview, the correct images appear.

Ah, but as Jeffery Battersby notes in his fine review of Pages, when you save a Pages document as a PDF file and open it in Adobe Acrobat, you lose any drop shadows you’ve applied to pictures. The drop shadows do appear in Preview, however. The trick, therefore, is to print your PDFs from Preview rather than Acrobat.

Speaking of drop shadows leads me to the next quirk. When printing to the HP Photosmart printer in regular-old-paper mode (paper is set to automatic), drop shadows are printed 90 degrees off—if they’re supposed to appear along the right side and bottom of the image, they appear instead on the top and right side. Yet when I printed in really-expensive-paper mode (highest quality with HP Premium Plus Photo Paper selected), the drop shadows appear where they should. Again, the HP LaserJet did the right thing and printed the drop shadows in their correct position.

And what’s the take-away from all this? Before committing a load of ink and paper to a Pages project, print a single test page with the settings you intend to use to be sure what you see is what you’ll get.

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