Desktop publishing can mean working with anything, in any format. The minute you need a print, you've got quality issues. Your printer has to make sense of formatting and the end product has to be absolutely perfect. It can all be done well and easily, without aggravation, if you start from your printer. If you're using standard laser toner or ink cartridges, you've already got half the problem solved.
Formats and printing- how to spot the problems before they become problems
Formats are a natural issue for desktop publishing. If you're working with multiple formats, which is usually the case, you can find yourself wading through print issues with these things, particularly if you've got a range of variable data on the documents.
There are several quick fixes for print problems like this. One is to simply convert them to PDF, which is a safe, print friendly format and will prevent any issues with data fed to the print job. Another is to standardize your print format using standard industry software like Adobe, Quark, Windows or Apple formats, creating the print job in these formats. (The problems are usually code artifacts the printer can't read. The original equipment manufacturer (OEM) setups eliminate that problem.)
Print quality issues and fixes
Whatever print equipment you're using, it's advisable to spend some time setting up your printers for best quality before you print anything. Basic testing, using printer dialogs, is the easy way to do this at the printer end. However- you may also need some assistance from graphic software to manage your images.
Printers have a certain capacity for dpi and handling hard copy media. For images, this can often mean adjusting dpi on the graphic software. You'll also find that certain types of paper are infinitely better than others for print quality. Most of this information is available from printer manufacturers and online manuals, but with experimentation you'll find you can use other media like high quality card, hand made papers, and other valuable additions to your commercial services.
Testing your prints
The cheapest, and by far most reliable, way to test prints is to do basic samples of your format(s). This even can be done on the same sheet of paper, using reduced sizes. You can check fonts, lines, dpi, and colour, in detail, without wasting time or ink. Even a simple graphic box with text on a Word document will do as a testing method, to ensure your print is 100% accurate, and not showing gaps. Look out for colour gaps or "replacement" colour, which means the colour mix is messing up somewhere.
Quality checkingYour ink quality is a primary factor in print quality. Good quality ink cartridges and laser toner will perform extremely reliably, unless they're almost run out. They'll also show you any equipment problems, something you do need to know. Don't ignore repeated print problems, because they all mean something. One good print is the sign of success.