Error Timeout Offending Command When Printing PDF Files
By Tom Chmielewski
, last updated March 13, 2012
When an "offending command" timeout occurs, the printer is reporting that a time gap between the transmission of two portions of the same job exceeded a preset time limit. Although this error is less common now that slower connections, including parallel or serial lines, have been replaced, the error can still occur when attempting to print certain file types, including PDFs.
Use a Different Method
The timeout error could have been caused by the procedure you used to create the PDF. You usually have options, however, on how to create a PDF. Go to the source file and if you exported it as a PDF the first time, this time create a PostScript file and then distill the new file into a PDF. If, on the other hand, you created the PDF by using a distiller, try using the “Export to PDF” command instead.
Delete Irrelevant Data
The timeout error can be caused by data and elements that are meant to be used in an electronic or online version of the PDF file, but not in its print form. You can avoid the error by deleting extraneous comments, forms, scripts and animations within the PDF. Some preflight programs that check for errors in a file before sending it to a commercial printer can help in eliminating data not needed in a printed file. Adobe Acrobat has its own preflight feature, or you can use third-party software, such as Markzware's FlightCheck, Software-Robotics's FreeFlight or Enfocus's PitStop. After completing a preflight review of the PDF file, use the “Save As” command to create a trimmed-down PDF file.
Clean Up the Source File
A complex source file can also cause the timeout error. To alleviate this, go to the source file and clear up problem issues, such as converting spot colors -- those printed with a specific colored ink -- to four-color CMYK process colors. If you’re using Adobe InDesign, delete anything left on the design program’s pasteboard. Even though those items don’t end up on the printed page or show in the PDF file, the echoes of the coding for these elements can end up in the file and cause a timeout error. For the same reason, delete unused pages and elements hidden beneath other elements created in InDesign or QuarkXPress. You may need to merge layers, paths or channels. Do a “Save As” to create a new source file, which you can export as a PDF.
If nothing else works, open the PDF file in Photoshop and save it as an image. This can have a negative impact on quality as it converts all text to bitmap. But it does create a single-layer image you can save as a Photoshop PDF and print successfully.