Pitney Bowes
MapInfo Pro™ Monthly Journal

Tips and tricks for PDF printing in MapInfo Professional

Christian For printing PDF there are usually alternative methods that can be employed to reduce the file size or improve the quality. Generally speaking, if the default settings are not achieving the desired results you will need to try different settings.

Please find below a number of different tips on printing PDFs:

PDF file size increases dramatically when a raster image is included

Raster images can cause the PDF file size to become quite large. To resolve this you can use one of the Image Compression algorithms in order to help reduce the file size of the PDF.

To configure the Image Compression settings go to File > Print to PDF. Click the Properties button. In the dialog box that appears click the Image Compression tab.

There are a number of different settings that can be configured depending on what is to be printed. Taken from the Help Guide please see a description of each setting below:

Black & White compression, Algorithm

  • Default compression - The default image compression algorithm makes use of color palettes to reduce the overall size of all images. This algorithm works well as long as the number of colors does not exceed 256.
  • CCITT Fax Group 4 - this algorithm is recommended to reduce the size of black and white images. Image quality is not affected by this type of compression but file size can be greatly reduced.

Color image compression, Algorithm

  • Default compression - The default image compression algorithm makes use of color palettes to reduce the overall size of all images. This algorithm works well as long as the number of colors does not exceed 256.
  • 256-color compression - The 256-color compression algorithm computes the mostly used 256 colors in an image and replaces all other color pixels by their closest match. This lossless compression algorithm works usually very well with most applications but is relatively slow on large images with a greater number of colors.
  • JPEG compression - The JPEG compression algorithm produces excellent results with real life true color images with a small distortion of the source image. It is not recommended for graphics other than real pictures.
  • When JPEG compression is selected, the JPEG compression level selection box appears. JPEG compression levels vary from 1 to 9. Level 1 produces poorer quality images with a very large compression ratio. Level 9 produces very good quality images with medium compression ratio. The default value is 7, which will produce compression levels and image quality suitable for most situations.
  • Automatic compression - (Windows XP only) This algorithm analyzes each image separately and tries to apply the compression algorithm that is best suited to that image.

PDF output does not appear as it did onscreen

Sometimes the PDF output can look quite different compared to how it looked onscreen. Hatch patterns can appear incorrect and symbols can appear as black squares. Postscript simulation can be used to resolve this.

To apply this setting go to File > Print to PDF. Click the Properties button. In the dialog that appears, choose the Advanced Options tab. Choose the Enable Postscript Simulation option.

Please note when employing Postscript Simulation the file size of the PDF can increase.

Enhanced Rendering can also affect the PDF output. There are no exact settings that can be applied to produce like-for-like output but if you do notice your maps in your PDF do not appear as they did on screen please try altering the Enhanced Rendering settings via Map > Options.

"Out of memory" error received when printing

This can occur when the computer does not have enough memory to print the PDF. There are a number of different options you can use to generate a smaller PDF file. Some of these options will reduce the quality of the PDF - there will be a trade-off between quality and file size:

  • Use a different Image Compression algorithm as detailed above
  • Reduce the resolution. By default the MapInfo Professional PDF driver prints at 600 DPI. This can be more than required if you do not intend to print highly detailed raster images. To change this setting go to:

File > Print to PDF > Properties > Paper Settings > then reduce the Resolution via the drop down menu. 

  • Disable Enhanced Rendering. Enhanced Rendering is used to print smoother text, images and lines. It produces better quality maps and is required for translucent layers. Disabling this setting can reduce the PDF file size if you are happy to trade it off against quality.

To disable Enhanced Rendering go to Map > Options. In the Map Options dialog box, untick Enable Enhanced Rendering.

If you are printing from a Layout Window you will need to also disabled Enhanced Rendering from the Layout by going to Layout > Options > then untick Enable Enhanced Rendering. Note you will first need to disable Enhanced Rendering from the Map Window. Note this applies only to the Layout Window not the Layout Designer window first introduced in MapInfo Professional v12.5.

  • Print unlayered PDF files. By default the MapInfo Pro PDF driver prints a layered PDF. Disabling this feature can reduce the size of the PDF.

To disable layering, in the Print dialog box (File > Print to PDF) click the PDF button. In the dialog box that appears untick Layered PDF

Article by Christian Jackson
When not writing articles for the MapInfo Professional journal, Christian enjoys tinkering with MapBasic applications and helping clients get the most out of MapInfo products. When not working he spends his time learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, pretending he is a Samurai.