Printing PDF created from ODF or OOXML?

Open Document Format (ODF) is an ISO standard to guarantee long-term access to data without legal or technical barriers. Many office applications support ODF, one of them being the well-known LibreOffice.

ODF is not to be confused with Office Open XML (OOXML), which is an alternative ISO standard, driven by Microsoft as main contributor and implemented in their own Microsoft Office suite.

The creation of OOXML was opposed by many on grounds it was unneeded, as ODF was already an ISO standard and is a less complicated format.

Although OOXML and ODF are the dominating formats for common editing, PDF remains the standard for document publishing and printing. No wonder LibreOffice and Microsoft Office have options to convert their documents to PDF.

Enter CUPS: the standards-based, open source printing system. Since PDF is CUPS’ standard print job transfer format, any PDF can directly be fed into the Open Printing tool chain independent of its origin.

Sounds good, right? Standards all the way, so what could possibly go wrong? Well, practice shows that PDF creator software does matter. We found that some PDFs created with Microsoft Office produce inferior printing results, both in quality and speed-of-print performance.

What are your findings? Given the same document source, do different PDF Creators produce PDF that give different printing results in CUPS? Does Free and Open Source Software like LibreOffice create better PDF for printing?