FlightCheck Professional 6 Inverness

A truism is often painfully learned: just because your electronic documents look fine on screen doesn't mean they'll output correctly when they're sent to the printers. Markzware's FlightCheck Professional 6 helps to avoid disaster by flagging potential problems faced by your electronic documents and allowing you to correct them before they go to press.

Albasoft Ltd
01463 667356
The Green House, Beechwood Park North, Inverness
Inverness
 
Laing PC Support
07912 938019
3, Eastfield Avenue, Drakies, Inverness
Inverness
 
Equal Systems Ltd
01463 250724
10, Bellfield Park, Inverness
Inverness
 
Lambda Research Consultancy Ltd
01463 732541
Kintail House, Beechwood Park, Inverness
Inverness
 
Mac North
0870 0636336
160, Miller St, Inverness
Inverness
 
ITP SOLUTIONS
01463 245 600|
4, Walker Rd, Inverness
Inverness
 
iTek Solutions Ltd
01463 725999
1, Cromwell Rd, Inverness
Inverness
 
Jaid Technology
01463 715295
80, Hawthorne Drive, Inverness
Inverness
 
Geeks2you
0845 2004335
19, Harbour Rd, Inverness
Inverness
 
Sutherland Systems & Services
01463 234007
36, Tomnahurich St, Inverness
Inverness
 

FlightCheck Professional 6

Provided By:

A truism is often painfully learned: just because your electronic documents look fine on screen doesn't mean they'll output correctly when they're sent to the printers. Markzware's FlightCheck Professional 6 helps to avoid disaster by flagging potential problems faced by your electronic documents and allowing you to correct them before they go to press.

FlightCheck Professional is a venerable preflighting application that has struggled for years to get to grips with the different demands of a Mac OS X workflow. However, it now seems the program has finally hit its stride. This release, which comes after a lengthy beta period, offers excellent performance and functional improvements, the most critical of which are that it's now a Universal Binary and can deal with native QuarkXPress 7 and InDesign CS3 files.

In other ways, FlightCheck Professional 6 keeps a familiar but more polished approach to checking files. An expansible Ground Controls window, divided into groupings such as page layout, fonts and images, lets you choose which attributes the program will flag when it checks documents. You can categorise these as issues to be ignored or highlighted as either an error or warning.

You can save Ground Control settings into sets, which can be later accessed from a pull-down menu or exported, so you can share different settings with others according to the output device or type of document being scanned. The program handles more than a score of different file formats, from CorelDraw to Microsoft Office documents, but doesn't need the originating application to be present to check the file. As you scan documents in FlightCheck, the applicable Ground Control set is automatically adjusted. For example, if you have a PDF-based document, FlightCheck will open a PDF Ground Control set. You can adjust - or even turn off - this automatic preflight detection in the program's preferences, or tweak it according to a document's type, version number or file extension.

Version 6 adds pre-built sets for PDF/X1-a and PDF/X3 documents, as well as those based on specifications provided by the Ghent PDF Workgroup. Users of older versions of FlightCheck will find that the Ground Control window in version 6 is neater and easier to navigate than its predecessors, and tailoring a set remains intuitive. As a document is scanned, the parameters in the Ground Control window that match errors or warnings are highlighted, making it easier to find the settings to adjust if you feel it's too picky about certain errors.

FlightCheck's speed when scanning documents is best measured relatively. While it still takes its leisurely time chugging through documents - it's much faster on an Intel Mac than it is on a G5 - it outpaces the murderously slow FlightCheck Professional 5.5.

There are a lot of places where Mac OS X can squirrel away font files and the program shortens this search by taking a couple of minutes to build a font database when you first launch it. You can customise the search order for fonts and images by specifying absolute or relative paths to their containing folders, which makes things faster if received job folders are organised into preset directories. You can also prioritise search paths in the program's preferences by moving them up or down a list.

After scanning a document, FlightCheck launches a Results window, which displays an overview of flagged errors and warnings alongside suggested remedies, and a detailed error listing from which you can open the offending file or image.

You can also get a visual overview of errors from a Page Layout view. In past versions, the program would occasionally struggle to recognise fonts handled by third-party font utilities and flag them as missing. We didn't encounter such difficulties in our testing of version 6.

FlightCheck can collect and optionally compress output into a .zip archive, arranging the collection into fonts and images folders. This is a blindingly obvious organisational nicety that, although present in older versions of the software, was bizarrely posted missing from version 5.5.

Another really useful touch is that FlightCheck tags the icon of the compressed or uncompressed folder with a red cross if it contains errors or a green tick if it passes the FlightCheck tests. This is more than an aesthetic touch. As FlightCheck is thankfully once again AppleScriptable, any visual clue to indicate a document's integrity at the end of an automated workflow process is more than welcome.

Although InDesign CS3's basic preflighting tools and XPress 7's job jackets offer some protection against native file problems, FlightCheck Professional remains the best preflighting solution around. And this version is faster and more capable than its predecessor. Aside from some woeful documentation that came with our download version of the program, we find it difficult to fault.

Verdict

Great for scanning documents before printing, as long as you're not in a hurry. Supports latest versions of InDesign and QuarkXPress.

Author: Tom Gorham

MacUser Online