In a previous posting, we talked about the value of Adobe InDesign’s Separation Preview tool to view the color plates that would print out from your file. Acrobat Pro has an even more powerful tool called Output Preview which you can use to preview your PDF files.
To open it in Acrobat 9 Pro, choose Advanced > Print Production > Output Preview. In Acrobat 10 Pro, choose Tools > Print Production > Output Preview. The first panel you view in the Preview menu by default is Separations. It provides similar information to InDesign about the color plates that would print out. An Ink Manager button takes you to the controls for which plates to print. In addition, you can see the effects of overprinting and view the total amount of ink at a given location.
Clicking on Object Inspector in the Preview menu can access a second display. Here you can click over any part of the page and view the objects at that point. You could tell, for example, what the resolution of an image is, or what color space it’s in.
Examining the PDF you send to your printer gives you more control over your job, and assures you that it will print the way you expect.