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I create worksheets for my classes with AI. These usually consist of pictures in color and text. I have the following problem on Mac when printing with my laser printer Brother L8900-CDW:

Using the postscript emulation driver for my printer and printing pure text files in black, printed text looks fine when created with AI on Mac.

However, if I use any color other than black, the text becomes rasterized (not 100% sure this is the right definition of my problem) and colors of pictures are off, which is why the postscript driver would only be an acceptable solution for black text-only documents.

So on the Mac with the postscript driver black text is fine, anything else is way off. With the standard driver on my Mac, text is very bad while graphics and colors are normal.

The problem only occurs when printing ai-files or pdf-files from AI; when I print a pages-files, it looks fine.

On Windows everything works fine with the standard Brother driver (non-postscript); with the postscript driver I get the same bad results like on the Mac.

I thought I could just transfer the ai-file created on my Mac to my Windows computer before printing, but the result is as bad as on the Mac.Only when I create a completely new ai-file on my Windows computer, the printouts are fine.

I have already tried printing from the Adobe pdf reader without any better results.

Does anyone know of a solution?

I don't want to redo all my work on my Windows computer.

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    Hi. Welcome to GDSE. I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's a tech support question. These are difficult to answer without access to specific files/hardware/software/settings on your computer. You might be better to contact Adobe or Brother directly for customer support, or ask on Super User. Sorry about that. – Billy Kerr Sep 6 at 15:41
  • What color mode is the file – joojaa Sep 6 at 16:40
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    Is it a postscript level 3 emulator? What you are describing is how AI prints when there is no Postscript Level 3 translator in play. A level 1 or level 2 will diminish the problems, but only Level 3 will generally result in quality prints from AI. – Scott Sep 6 at 17:11
  • @Scott Yes you are right, I am using the BR-Script which is an emulator of Postscript. I tried saving as PDF and printing from Adobe Acrobat Reader DC as you suggested in your answer. The results are exactly the same. – nexfoto Sep 7 at 2:39
  • @joojaa Color mode is CMYK – nexfoto Sep 7 at 2:39
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If I check the specifications of the Brother L8900-CDW

For emulation it lists.....

BR-Script3‡, PCL5c, PCL5e, PCL6 (PCL XL Class 3.0), PDF Version 1.7, XPS Version 1.0

There's no Postscript Emulator. I don't know why you think there is. (BR-Script is not postscript)

To print from Illustrator and get quality prints it is mandatory to have a Postscript Level 3 RIP. Postscript Level 1 or Level 2 will work to a degree, but only Postscript Level 3 will provide solid prints.

(I don't know what "BR-Script" even is -- I'd guess that it's some sort of proprietary emulator to try a mimic a postscript emulator. Emphasis on the word "try". All in an effort to avoid paying Adobe for their Postscript emulator software.)

What you are describing is exactly how Illustrator prints without a Postscript Level 3 RIP. You will not get good prints from Illustrator using that printer and it's drivers. it simply does not support Postscript well enough.


However...

An easy workaround is to save a copy of AI files as PDF.. and print from Adobe Acrobat or Reader.

Acrobat/Reader is a software Postscript RIP which will circumvent any postscript issues with the printer itself. You will get good prints if you print from Acrobat/Reader.


This is one of those things that really requires some due diligence before purchase. So many print manufactures fail to support Postscript Level 3 because it is really only needed for the MacOS and a few select applications on the Mac. In other words, the market for it is small so it traditionally not something manufactures build into the less expensive models.

Note that you'll also get pretty bad prints for Adobe InDesign on the Mac with that printer -- same issue.

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It says I need 50 reputation to be able to comment, which is why I am posting as an answer. Feel free to close/delete..

I have done a few more tests with the Brother L8900-CDW and want to share some strange results.

Printing PDF files created from websites, Pages, MS Word or any other source are all fine on Windows and Mac - as it should be.

Printing ai files directly from Adobe Illustrator is fine on Windows, too. However, when saving as PDF before printing with Adobe Reader, the print quality is bad. Printing via Adobe Reader results in worse quality than Microsoft Edge or when printing from the Google Drive viewer. Both are still pretty bad quality.

I have tried a printer in a convenience store nearby, the prints were fine...

Printing directly from Adobe Illustrator results in bad print quality on Mac (ai and pdf files).

So it seems my printer prints PDF without any issues (when on Windows), unless they are exported PDF files from Adobe Illustrator.

I am still not sure how to solve this, but for now I will be printing Ai files from Windows which are fine in quality and color.

  • I can tell you, without question, the only anomaly with Ai on the Mac I know of is the requirement for Postscript Level 3 Emulation -- that makes AI different than any MS tool, any web browser, any Google tool, heck even different than Photoshop. But I have never, in over 25 years, come a across a situation were merely saving as PDF and printing from Acrobat/Reader did not solve the issue (assuming you UNCHECK the "print as image" option in Acrobat/Reader). – Scott Sep 8 at 18:38
  • Edit your question to add these details instead of a comment or an answer. – Luciano Sep 9 at 8:51

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