Which DesignMerge Print Driver should I use?

How to select the best DesignMerge VDP print format to use for a particular job

So you have a job, and you are wondering which DesignMerge print driver format to use to obtain the best possible performance (both on the desktop, and at the printer). The first thing to do is to determine which VDP file formats your digital print controller can accept (because this will limit your choices). The VDP formats that can be created by DesignMerge include PDF and PDF/VT, Adobe PostScript, PPML, and Creo VPS.

As long as your printer supports it, the best choice is always PDF/VT. This output format is ideal for jobs like addressing, where you are overlaying a variable address block or other personalized text on top of the InDesign alyout.

Most modern production printers support PDF/VT, but may not support PPML. You should check with your printer manufacturer to be sure (or you can just give it a try with each VDP format and see if it works!).

Once you know what your options are, we recommend the following basic guidelines:

1) Job has Variable Text Only (no Variable Graphic Images)

If your job uses Variable Text only (no variable pictures; no master page swapping), then use PDF/VT. For more information about the settings for a PDF/VT job, please have a look at the following article:


2) Job has Variable Images and/or Variable Text

If your job uses any Variable Images, then PPML is the best choice. PPML provides built-in image caching, and is appropriate for most jobs that utilize Variable Images.

3) Printer does not support PDF, PDF/VT, or PPML

If your printer does not support PDF, PDF/VT, or PPML, then use PostScript (and if your printer does not support PostScript, welcome to 1984!). PostScript jobs will tend to be very large and slow, so it is best to avoid this format if you can.

4) Job has Variable Text with Transparency

If your job uses Variable Text that also has some type of InDesign transparency effect applied to it, then use PPML, or PDF/VT. We do not recommend PostScript for these types of jobs because it will be much slower than PDF because each page will need to be "flattened" during output.

5) Printer uses a Creo Systems Controller

Many people are under the impression that on Creo systems, Creo VPS is the only VDP format supported. This is not true! We have confirmed with the Creo team that PPML is fully supported on Creo systems and runs even more efficiently than VPS. And because the DesignMerge PPML driver provides performance features not available with VPS, we recommend to always use PPML instead of Creo VPS.

For more details about each of these DesignMerge Print Drivers, including all of the options and features that they support, see the Print Driver manuals, which are available in PDF format in DesignMerge Documentation. To download the latest version of DesignMerge Documentation, go to the following web site: