Printing Light Tables

by Ben Long

Printing a Light Table is a great way to knock out a quick printed proof of a layout idea or presentation. Just select File > Print Light Table and the contents of the current Light Table will be printed to fit your specific page size. But Light Table printing is also a way of delivering annotated electronic proofs, thanks to Aperture's ability to output Light Tables as PDFs.

Say, for example, that you want to email a layout idea to an editor. Mock up the layout on a Light Table, then choose File > Print Light Table. In the Print dialog box, click the Save as PDF button and save the file. Aperture saves its PDFs with full-res images, which means that the resulting PDFs can be quite large - much too large for emailing or uploading. So, before you transmit your PDF, you'll need to crunch it down. You have two options for reducing the size of a PDF.

The easiest way is to open the PDF in Preview, and choose File > Export and then save the file as a JPEG. This will produce a full-res JPEG of the PDF, which will be substantially smaller than the original file. Depending on the JPEG settings you use, you should be able to output files with little discernible quality loss.

One of the great advantages of PDF, though, is the ability to add comments and annotations using standard PDF markup features. Apple's Preview, Adobe Acrobat, and many other PDF editors provide markup tools, and markups can be a great way to include comments and queries in a Light Table layout. Obviously, if you convert the PDF to a JPEG, you'll lose those annotations.

So, if you want to create a smaller PDF to preserve any annotations you might have made, you'll have to turn to Adobe Acrobat, to re-build the PDF with smaller images. Open the Aperture-created PDF in Adobe Acrobat and then choose Advanced > PDF Optimizer. The optimizer provides a number of options for controlling how images are compressed and altered, but simply choosing the defaults should greatly reduce the size of your PDF.

One last note: if you want to print your entire Light Table, you must be certain that no individual images on the Light Table are selected. If you have individual images selected, then they will output separately.


Dave Watts
2007-06-25 15:11:46
Great useful information!
2007-06-26 09:15:20
You can shrink PDF's for free on OS X: just click on the PDF button in the Print dialogue box, and choose Compress PDF. Took a 74MB Light Table PDF down to 3.2MB.
Bakari C
2007-06-27 14:35:12
I kind of do the same thing with album layouts. I take a screen shot of a sample page and then email to the client.