Improving PDF Quality

With the increased need for Portable Document Format files (PDFs), users may look for ways to enhance the quality of these documents.  With MicroStation V8i, the ability to produce top quality PDFs is available. 

By default, the MicroStation PDF printer driver configuration file (pdf.pltcfg) produces PDFs with very good PDF quality.  This is considered “STANDARD” quality.  However, the driver also allows for several adjustment settings which can vastly improve the quality of your documents.  These adjustment settings include: IMPROVED, HIGH and MAXIMUM.

To change the default quality setting, edit the delivered PDF.PLTCFG printer driver configuration file and set the appropriate value.  To do this, first make sure the PDF.PLTCFG printer driver is the active driver.  This can be accomplished by choosing the File>Select Bentley Driver option from the main MicroStation print menu:

 

Then select PDF.PLTCFG from the pick list and choose the OPEN option.  PDF.PLTCFG will now be set as the active driver.  This can be verified by the looking at the MicroStation Print Menu title bar.  The name of the currently active driver, will appear enclosed in parenthesis.

At this point, choose the File>Edit Printer Driver Configuration option to edit the driver:

 

The following Printer Driver Configuration form will appear:

 

From the “Base Properties” tab, navigate to the “Driver Properties” section.  You will notice an entry entitled “Precision”.  By selecting the down arrow on the far right of this entry, you will have access to the other quality choices available for the PDF printer driver configuration file.

 

The following information is available in the MicroStation Help concerning these choices:

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The precision property controls the number of digits after the decimal point used in coordinates written to the PDF file. Higher precision improves print quality, especially for TrueType text, at the expense of larger PDF file sizes.

The default precision, Standard, is designed to produce the smallest PDF file size with good text quality at printer resolution. PDF coordinates are rounded to 1/10th of a point. At high zoom levels in a PDF viewer, text may appear slightly deformed.

If the precision is set to Improved, text coordinates are rounded to 1/100th of a point while other coordinates are rounded to 1/10th of a point. This setting is designed to balance text quality at high zoom levels with PDF file size. PDF file sizes may be between 10-25% larger than when using Standard precision.

If the precision is set to High, all coordinates are rounded to 1/100th of a point. PDF file sizes may be between 20-50% larger than when using Standard precision.

If the precision is set to Maximum, no coordinates are rounded. PDF file sizes may be between 30-80% larger than when using Standard precision.

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As indicated in the Help page, changing the Precision default STANDARD setting to any other value will produce a larger PDF, so discretion has to be used to resolve the quality-gained vs. pdf-size dilemma.  However, with the number of quality choices available, a suitable compromise can be easily found to produce a PDF with the quality (and size) you desire.

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