Offending command: setscreen

The setscreen operator is used in PostScript files to define the screenruling. As far as I know problems with it only arose in the early Postscript days. There are no reports of problems related to it in recent years.

Setscreen errors when printing from FreeHand

A PostScript error: limitcheck: Offending command: setscreen” can appear when printing from FreeHand 3, 5 or 7 or when printing pages that contain drawings made in these applications.

  • In almost all cases, a value of zero or a higher number has been assigned to the Frequency setting in the Halftone palette. The Halftone palette is used to apply halftone screen attributes (e.g., screen frequencies, screen angles, dot shapes) to specific objects in a FreeHand illustration.
  • This phenomenon can also occur by setting the halftone screen value to “0” and hitting the Return key. This results in the default Frequency setting of 4 in the Halftone palette. The correct way to set the halftone value to “none” is to double-click in the Frequency field, press the Delete key, then press Return. Any settings assigned to an object in the Halftone palette override the LPI set at the ink level in the Print dialog box.
  • It is also common to have the preference “Changing object changes defaults” turned on when you set the frequency of a halftone, which results in applying this halftone frequency to any object (including text) created after the halftone palette frequency was assigned. This can be avoided by unselecting this preference in the “object” category of FreeHand’s preferences.
  • For symptoms #2 and #3 the specific objects that are printing out with large dots or the incorrect line screen can be identified. Select each object and look at the Frequency value in the Halftone palette. Highlight the number and hit the Delete key on the keyboard and then hit the Return key. If you’ve done this correctly, the box should be blank.
  • For symptom #1, each object on the document must be selected to check the Frequency value in the Halftone palette. It maybe necessary to ungroup objects to find all the objects with the incorrect line screen. If any values are found, delete according to the directions given for symptoms #2 and #3.
  • For symptom #4, select the fill and ungroup it if possible. If “cut contents” is available in the Edit menu, select it and hit the Tab key to deselect objects. Then select each object separately and check for a Frequency value in the Halftone palette.

Also be sure to check for imported EPS images in the document that may have had line screen information imported with the EPS. Open the EPS file with the application it was created with and respecify or remove the halftone screen values.

Setscreen errors in Acrobat Distiller 3
A bug in Acrobat Distiller 3.0 and 3.01 made them generate occasional “setscreen” errors when a resolution was selected in the job options that was higher than 1700 dpi. This error was fixed in Distiller 3.02

23 December 2014

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