I'm going to finish my thesis which leads me to the wish of polishing my document at it's best.

Currently I'm running in some minor problems with my black values and I observed some table blurring using pdflatex as compiler.

Recognizing that appending [cmyk] as an option to xcolor my document colors do look less black, more grey, I wanted to ask, what to do? CMYK should be best for printing, but the visual result and the printed result are better - in my point of view - if I don't use cmyk color option. (Note: In How to make the pdf output of better print quality? as similiar question to mine, I read that mixing some real colors to black makes black look more black than just using black?! However, there is no recommendation which way to go in an official document. Prefer CMYK with K = 100% or the mixed value which looks more black?)

Second exploration I made: Comparing a simple document with a table (tabular and tabbing) compiled with pdflatex looks more blurry at table border lines than compiled with latex -> DVI -> PS -> PDF. In addition, the testfile is about half the size if I compile the more complex way. (Note: If I don't compare the output files directly, I won't see any differences.)

So up to the main quesion: Are there other issues I have to respect? It was by accident, that I recoginzed, Latex -> DVI -> PS -> PDF provides better pdf results. Are there some packages, compiler options or other stuff, I should set for my final pdf version? Do I need to "convert" my files to be compatible with lualatex or xelatex? Currently, I can not easily build my files, looks like there are some problems with utf8 support. I'm not sure, if it's worth it to detect the problems...

Right now, I'm close to a minimal document with my included packages. I'm gratefull vor all hints and packages which do some magic improvements...

As a differentiation to the link posted above: I know, my question is quite similar to this. However, they kept stuck about the black font stuff; I am asking for latex optimization in general, not just about the black stuff. It's more like, which optimizations should I have done for the fine print, which may I think about? I'm sure any of you had some experiences like "Oh, good to know that. I will keep doing it for all my documents now"...

Edit As a question for the blurry tables came up, here is a MWE. Compiled under Windows with MiKTeX 2.9 MiKtex-pdfTeX 2.9.4535 (1.40.13), latex same version and dvips 5.992.


        Header & Tool 1 & Tool 2 \\ \hline
        Sample & a & b \\ \hline

Lorem Ipsum...


Without having specified any additional compiler flags, the outputs are compared in the following image. (There is no difference using pdf-xchange-viewer or acrobat reader.

Compiling different ways leads to different visual results

But again: This topic should not only be about the blurry tables like the other thread is about different black values. I created it for a more general collection of possible optimizations and must dos for an accurate and modern result (modern in terms of no deprecated packages and most recent strategies (like luatex etc.))

  • Could you show samples of the quality from different compilation paths so that one might get an idea of the difference?
    – N.N.
    Feb 15, 2013 at 19:12
  • 1
    RGB is a color model for display output (additive), YMCK is a model for printer output (subtractive). You normally do not print/plot pitch-black color, see answer and comments to xcolor black isn't black enough. Feb 15, 2013 at 20:17
  • The blurry thing you may notice is probably only a viewer issue (that is copied to the screenshot). My output of pdfLaTeX looks better than the compile routine via DVI and PS. But then again, this varies from PDF viewer to PDF viewer. On the subject of pdfLaTeX vs XeLaTeX vs LuaLaTeX, see 1 and 2. Feb 15, 2013 at 20:27
  • 2
    If you zoom in and notice that the vertical and horizontal lines do not align perfectly you may be interested in the hhline package and its \hhline macro that one would use here as \hhline{*3{|-}|}. But if you want to polish your document, do not use vertical lines to begin with (→ booktabs manual). Feb 15, 2013 at 20:33

1 Answer 1


Addressing the request for "more general optimisations" - if you are not already using the microtype package, consider using it. I don't fully understand it, but it subtly fiddles with character and word spacings so that everything looks just a little better.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .