Knowledge Base

Photo Quality in PowerChurch Plus

Many users have reported varying levels of print quality from reports in PowerChurch Plus and PowerChurch Online. This article is intended to clarify some misconceptions as well as explain how to get the best print quality possible.

Regarding the picture quality in printed reports in PowerChurch Plus, we need to first clarify that the screen preview that you see by default in the program in no way represents the actual quality that you will see on the printed page. This is especially true for PowerChurch Online users, who see a lower quality visual representation of the program as a whole.

Photo Quality in PowerChurch Plus

When printing a report directly from PowerChurch Plus (we'll talk about PowerChurch Online a little later) the program will submit the report directly to your printer. If the image quality is poor on the printed page at that point, check your printer settings. Many times, by default, the printer will be set to save toner, print draft quality, etc. Settings that are meant for printing text and not photos.

Often times, when people create a pictorial directory report in PowerChurch Plus, they do so with intention of taking the report to a professional print service to have it duplicated. Print shops most frequently ask for a PDF file of the job you want printed. This is the primary source of problems for people experiencing print quality issues in PowerChurch.

The PDF export routine in Crystal Reports, the reporting system used by PowerChurch Plus, creates PDF files that are optimized for file size, not print quality. This makes it easier to take the report, attach it to an e-mail and send it off. The small file size is a benefit, but comes at the cost of picture quality. In a report with family pictures, people can become unrecognizable, with visible distortion in the detailed areas of the picture. This is obviously unacceptable. Unfortunately, this is not a configurable option in Crystal Reports.

To get the high quality PDF that is needed for printing in PowerChurch Plus, you will need to install a PDF printer software. There are many paid software options like Acrobat Professional and many free options, such as DoPDF. The way that these programs work is that they install the "PDF printer" as an entry in your list of installed printers. Select one of these when printing instead of your physical printer and it will create a PDF file. With these programs, you can configure how the PDF file should be optimized, for file size, or picture quality.



Select your PDF Printer and click OK.



We took a one page pictorial church directory and exported it from Crystal Reports, which created a 134 KB PDF file. We took the same report and printed to a PDF printer at full image quality and it created a 6.5 MB PDF file. That file is 98% larger than the one created by PowerChurch using Crystal Reports and the difference is all in the picture quality.

Photo Quality in PowerChurch Online

If you are using PowerChurch Online, it's actually much easier to set this up. Everything that is printed from the IDS Client is already printed by a PDF printer behind the scenes. When you click the print button in PowerChurch Online, a PDF file is created on our server and is downloaded to your computer, then sent directly to the printer from there.



When printing in PowerChurch Online using the IDS Client, you will see a screen pop up with a list of all of your printers to choose from. There you will find a "Preview PDF" option. Choosing this instead of your physical printer will create the PDF file on the server, download it to your computer, then open it up using your PDF reader software. From there, you can look at it on the screen, print it, or save it.

By default, the universal print driver is configured to print at 600 DPI (dots per inch), which is well over the expected quality level needed to create photo quality print jobs.

This article applies to the following PowerChurch versions:
PCPlus V 8, PCPlus V 8.5, PCPlus V 9, PCPlus V 10/10.4, PCPlus V 11/11.1, PCPlus V 11.5/11.55, PowerChurch Online

print quality, picture quality, pictorial directory, church directory, pics, pixelated

Created: 10/25/2013
Last updated: 11/13/2014