Limitcheck errors are caused by the complexity of the document, such as there being too many path elements in a line. This error is more common on old PostScript level 1 RIPs than on Level 2 or PostScript 3 devices.
Sometimes it is not the document that is too complex, but the RIP or printer has certain limitations.
Reduce the complexity of the file:
- In a lot of cases, redesigning the document to make it less complex can get around “limitcheck” errors.
- Breaking up the print job in smaller entities can also do the trick. Print only one page or even one color at the time. Send your page without including the images to see whether images are causing the problem.
- Ungrouping objects can be very effective. Often groups and especially groups in groups or rotated groups of objects really make it tough to render PostScript.
- Nesting files (e.g. placing an EPS in an EPS or placing a PDF file on a page) also adds to the complexity of a document and can lead to limitcheck errors (especially with the offending commands ‘save’ and ‘restore’).
- If you have a printer with a limited amount of memory you could try to reduce the number of fonts used in the document.
- Use the option ‘split long paths’ in drawing applications to split up complex path in easier to process chunks.
- If you are printing from Illustrator: if the document contains gradients, select Compatible Gradient Printing (Illustrator 7.x or earlier) or Compatible Gradient and Gradient Mesh Printing (Illustrator 8.0) in the Document Setup dialog box.
- Johan sent me an e-mail: He got a couple of limitcheck errors in PostScript 3 RIPs because of a very big ‘history’ entry in Photoshop EPS metadata. The problem is solved by deleting the metadata, but finding the offending image can be tricky in a big project. Photoshop itself has no problem with such EPS files and they can be placed in QuarkXPress documents without a problem. Using TIFF or JPEG or making it a standard procedure to remove history info from metadata (or all meta data) are valid workarounds.
Give your workflow, printer or RIP more room to work
- Lowering the resolution of your imagesetter or printer makes it easier for the RIP to calculate the job. This may seem odd but sometimes selecting a higher screen ruling is not such a bad idea as well.
- Reboot the RIP (or printer) to clear its memory.
- Some laser printers allow you to add more memory. That often does the trick and with the current RAM prices, it doesn’t even cost that much.
- If you are still using an old PostScript level 1 RIP, perform a font cache delete if you have the tools for this.
Avoid extra layers of software
- Get rid of all extra software that adds to the complexity of the job: do not use OPI, do not print using a printer queue, disable any extension or plug-in that adds stuff to the PostScript data, don’t download an error handler,….
Random characters as offending command
In QuarkXPress you can select ASCII or Binary data transfer to the RIP. If all our CMYK images are binary encoded, you should also select ‘Binary’ in the Page Set-up menu of XPress. If one of the images is ASCII encoded and you select binary transfer, you can get a ‘limitcheck’ PostScript error, offending command ‘(ÁEGD-**£12ze8’ (or other meaningless characters). Reopen all imagefiles in Photoshop, save them as binary files and print again in XPress. The problem will be solved. You could also keep the original images and redo the layout in XPress 3.11 or later as these versions of XPress are less scruffy about ASCII encoded files.
Limitcheck errors due to corrupted fonts
Another source of limitcheck errors are corrupted printer fonts on either the Mac, the server or the RIP itself. Try to find out if the limitcheck errors only occur with documents that share certain fonts. If this is the case, you should replace all those fonts with a fresh copy from the original disks.
Limitcheck errors due to insufficient memory
On laser printers, the limitcheck error can also mean that there is not enough memory to do the page size and resolution requested. A letter/a4 size page needs about 1 MB at 300 ppi, 4 MB at 600 ppi and 7 MB at 800 ppi. Double these requirements for A3/11×17 paper. Double again for duplex (double sided printing). Quadruple for color printers. This is just to hold the page; more will be needed (at least 1 MB) for fonts, paths, and other things.
Niknak causes limitcheck error
PDF files created by Niknak version 1.1 Patch Level 2 can cause limitcheck errors when printed from Exchange to an Adobe RIP. This was fixed in patchlevel 3 of Niknak.
More detailed information
There are several commands that can cause limitcheck PostScript errors. Check the specific offending command to get a more detailed error description: addglyph, clip, fill, findfont, image, restore, save, sethalftone, setscreen, show, stroke.