What is the quickest way to print MXD?

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02-19-2017 12:36 PM
RickCheney
Occasional Contributor II

Disregard the question below!  I asked the question while I was running the MXD to PDF Python script.  I asked because I assumed it might take many hours to run the script.  The script completed in 39 minutes compared to 14 hours using Export to PDF.  I quality of the PDF is great.

I'm using the latest version of ArcGIS for Desktop and ArcMap.  I have a large format printer and I would like to print my ArcMap .mxd file to the HP Printer.  I tried printing directly from ArcMap to the printer via a parallel printer cable connected to the printer but the map is large and nothing happens I think there is not enough memory, maybe not enough printer buffer memory, I'm not sure.

I tried exporting from ArcMap to PDF but it takes 14 hours to create the PDF file.  I could try printing the map from ArcMap to PDF, but I don't know if printing to PDF is any faster than exporting.  

Would it be faster to create the PDF file from this Python script?

MXD to PDF

Or, would it be faster to export the .mxd to tiff and then somehow convert the tiff to pdf?

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8 Replies
RebeccaStrauch__GISP
MVP Esteemed Contributor

How we typically do it is to export to a PDF, then use Adobe Acrobat to "flatten" the PDF.  Thus can bring even a large plot down to < 10 mob, and sometimes <2mb.  Much faster to print on the

HP.  It would if course depend on the map, but usually we don't lose quality.  This is how we serve up PDF maps for the web too.

i haven't tried the script, but plan to check it out.

RickCheney
Occasional Contributor II

Thanks Rebecca, I have Acrobat XI Pro and I did not know that it had the tools to flatten a PDF.  I looked at it this morning and found the tools.  Thank you very much.  Even if I end up using the script because it is fast, I can try flattening the pdf after it is created by the script.  Do you use the default settings for flatten or do you have any tips for which options to select?  There are many options.

For anyone reading this who has Acrobat Pro and if you don't see the Flatten tool, you should be able to find it under:  Tools >> Print Production >> Preflight

RebeccaStrauch__GISP
MVP Esteemed Contributor

lol....grrrr.  They just updated us to Adobe Acrobat Pro DC. Just opened it and can't even find my tools (hopefully I can import my old tools) so I'll have to figure that our and test.  But basically I used the defaults for web viewing, but made sure to keep it the same size (w x h).  I also use Bridge for making my thumbs.  Both processes are batched, i.e. I read in all the pdfs in a folder and output to a different folder. 

I'll see if I can find out more and give a snap shot of my parameters later today, if you don't get it to work on your own.

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RickCheney
Occasional Contributor II

If you are generally making a PDF for web viewing, maybe the "flatten" defaults are different for printing on paper.

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RebeccaStrauch__GISP
MVP Esteemed Contributor

I think it's going to take me a while to figure out how to get my Action Scripts set up again in Acrobat Pro DC ..total different interface.  When searching online, I did find this link Printing complex PDF document using Adobe Acrobat  that talks about flattening for printing. 

I think we use the same options for web and printing, but since I think my old scripts were wiped, I won't be able to verify. 

But, we don't actually use Acrobat for printing the files.  Once they are flattened, we send them directly to out HP plotter with the web interface for the machine. Our plotter is about 10 years old, HP Designjet 4000ps.  Old, but still works well for us....especially with fewer actual prints and more just staying digital maps.

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RickCheney
Occasional Contributor II

Thank you for the link about Printing complex PDF, I will read that info.  I have a DesignJet 5500 and I heard that printing to the printer via the network is a good way to good but I haven't tried it.  The printer is hooked up to the network but since I also have the parallel cable, I never tried the network.  I will test it and see if either option works better or faster.

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RebeccaStrauch__GISP
MVP Esteemed Contributor

I'm not sure about it being faster over the network vs a good old parallel cable.  But for our plotter, to get to the hp interface, in a browser, we just enter   http://xxx.xx.xxx.xx   that is, the printer's ip.      Just tried it with another HP here, and that came up with the interface too.  Besides submitting and previewing jobs, is also lets you checkink/paper and usage.  fwiw.

RickCheney
Occasional Contributor II

Thank it is helpful to get that preview and info about the ink and paper, I will print using the network next time.  I appreciate the tip.

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