Don’t worry–there is help!! Most of our digital customers have no issues when printing from home. Occasionally, we have some customers write in about some pages that printed strangely. Each computer, PDF viewer, and personal printer is different so we are not able to provide troubleshooting for all needs. But we would love to help with some more-common print issues, anyway, to be of assistance to our customers.
Many homeschoolers or teachers who try to print digitally through Adobe Acrobat will occasionally encounter the phenomena of black boxes, white boxes, a funny frame around the page, squiggly lines, lowered print quality, and more.
We want to assure you, this IS NOT a problem with our files. If you pull up the file on any device you own, you should see there are no issues in the digital download or PDF as you can see it on your device (SEE POINT 2, AS WELL). Hundreds of customers print without issue, and we also print ourselves to ship to customers without issue.
So, let’s go ahead and get you some help with what your particular issue might be! Most of these fixes have worked for 99% of the customers who had problems before, and it deals with their particular device settings and plugins used:
1: ADOBE ACROBAT READER –
This is the program you need to be using if you encountered any issues with your regular PDF viewer/printer (there’s a free Adobe Acrobat Reader online). Switching to this program and using the steps below can eliminate 99% of customer printing issues.
- First, on your main Adobe Reader screen, click the “help” tab, and then “check for updates“. If Adobe needs updating, then update it and try printing again. If it says “No updates available,” then proceed to step 2.
- On the “print preview” screen [this is the screen where you get to pick how many copies you want, if you are printing in black/white or color, etc] you will see a section titled, “Comments and Forms.” Make sure that the option chosen under that section reads “Documents AND markups.” If it does not, please change this setting and try printing again. If it was already at the correct setting, proceed to step 3.
- On the same “print preview” screen, usually near the top, is a button that says, “Advanced.” Click that. This will open a new window with different options. On the new window that pops up, there will be the option to click “Print as Image.” Click that button, then proceed to the next step.
- After clicking “print as image,” return to the main print preview page, and try printing the 1-2 pages with which you were having issues again. Please note: sometimes printing as image can make the issue worse; sometimes it can make it better. It depends on your print drivers and how Adobe Reader reads them. Test 1-2 pages first to see how it works, and then continue from there.
- If “print as image” made the document worse, return to point #3 and this time, UNCLICK “print as image” and instead click “Simulate Overprinting“
- This should clear up 99% of any problems that Adobe Acrobat creates.
2: WHAT IF IT DOES LOOK FUNNY ON MY SCREEN BEFORE I EVEN PRINT IT?
Some people accidentally uncheck “view all documents and markups” within Adobe. When this is not properly chosen, your Adobe program will only “read” to you a portion of the document on screen, instead of the entire thing. This, again, is nothing to do with our product but is just a simple “viewing” setting. Making sure you select the right button should undo any screen issues.
***If anyone continues to see issues directly on their screen when using Adobe, it is usually because they have the wrong settings in “output preview” clicked. This particular “output preview” setting was created by Adobe to “speak” to your printer and show you something specific on-screen. For instance, you have the option to preview “text only,” “images only,” with certain colors only, with overprint on or off, with transparencies on or off, flattening on or off, or a multitude of other ways. Think of it like grocery shopping online. If you click “show me only the vegetables” you won’t be able to see any of the meat for sale. If somebody has accidentally marked this (or similar) setting incorrectly within Adobe, then adobe will show you only that portion of the product (therefore making it look funny on your screen instead of displaying all transparencies/flattening/images/text). Simply toggle those back to the appropriate settings and “view as a PDF” to see a perfect rendering on screen. Then follow the tips above, and all should be well!
3: PRINTER KEEPS PAUSING OR WON’T PRINT?
- Usually this is an internet issue. Our files are larger files in order to provide our customers with the highest quality graphics that our families love. Sometimes smaller files will print fine through a wifi printer, but the connection drops for larger files. This results in a blank page or nothing but a single line printed. This is especially a common problem in rural areas but can happen on any internet connection. In order to eliminate the “wifi” issue, simply plug your printer directly into your device and print.
- If you would prefer not to plug directly in, customers have great success by printing “X amount of pages at a time.” For instance, they will first print pages 1-30, then print pages 31-60. This sends less data to the printer over wifi and allows your wifi not to drop during the processing. Each wifi setup will require a different limit. It depends on what your particular wifi speeds are and where you live.
4: WHITE FRAME AROUND THE PAGE? THAT’S JUST A BORDER SETTING YOU CAN CHANGE IN ADOBE READER THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH OUR PRODUCT. BUT WE CAN HELP YOU OUT WITH IT AS A COURTESY ANYWAY:
- When you open the file to print, you will see a tab in Adobe Reader that says, “TOOLS” (it is usually directly above the file image, rather than at the top of the screen)
- In the search bar that comes up under tools, search for “page boxes“
- The link to “Set Page Boxes” should appear. Click it. Another window will pop up.
- On the new window, there will be a box you can check that says “remove white margins.” Click it.
- IMPORTANT: Make sure you then go and click “ALL” under “PAGE RANGE“
- IMPORTANT: Now click on any other text box (like “units”) on the page before saving. We are not actually changing anything here. Adobe simply sometimes has a glitch that you have to “click” somewhere else in the page before it remembers your last entry
- After clicking “ok” or “save” (whichever your version says) you will return to your original file preview.
- Click print
- Now, under “Page Size” click “CUSTOM SCALE” and change the number to 100%.
- IMPORTANT: Again, click on any other box on the page before proceeding (to make sure it doesn’t have that glitch we talked about)
- Then, click print
- This should remove the white “frame” that you see around pages.
- NOTE: Your printer may not offer borderless printing, so you may still see a thin white line around the page even after the frame is removed. This thin white line, however, is printer-specific and cannot be changed by a setting. It is not the same thing as the thick “Adobe Page Frame.”
- Nobody ever said Adobe was user-friendly haha!
5: WEB-BASED PDF VIEWERS OR PERSONAL PDF VIEWERS (IE: On a Mac)
We advise not using a web-based PDF viewer. This means, we do not recommend opening your PDF file in “Firefox” or “Chrome” or “Safari” etc. The viewers on web-based programs do not have sufficient resources to properly read a PDF file and print appropriately. We recommend using one that is built in on your desktop.
Other PDF viewers (such as “Previewer” on Mac) are fine, as long as they are up to date with the proper drivers installed. If, however, they give you black boxes or distort anything, then you need to update your drivers appropriately or switch to Adobe Reader, which is a free download (SEE TOP OF PAGE).
6: SMART PHONE DEVICES
- We also do not recommend printing from a phone, if you have other options.
- If you opt to print from your handheld device, do not “open file with browser.” Instead, open as a regular download from your downloads folder
- If you encounter a white screen when initially pulling up the document, wait 30-60 seconds for images in the file to appear. If you try to print when the screen is still white, all of the data will not have been received from your phone nor will it properly communicate to the printer
- We cannot address every single smartphone on the market, but most do not have PDF viewers that are as good as those on a desktop. The built-in PDF viewers often render high-quality images as more pixelated, blurry, and with more squiggly lines. This is not always the case (again, it is device-specific). This is often done automatically by the program to compress data in a way that optimizes phone storage.
- You can try downloading PDF reader/viewer apps to your device to see if this corrects the issue for your particular device.
FINALLY: Please remember if you print through another company, we cannot provide support and troubleshooting on their behalf. Our recommendation is to ask them to print your finished product exactly as it appears on the PDF. You can also remind them to always print with “simulated overprinting” (they should be doing this as a standard, but many do not, and it causes information to disappear from the page).