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Generating PDFs

From: Print Production Fundamentals

Video: Generating PDFs

If your printer asks you to submit your job as a PDF, ideally they should give you a PDF preset to use in order to create the PDF. So we're going to look at what I call the bulletproof preset in case the printer doesn't give you any kind of preset. The first thing you want to do though before you even commence to making a PDF is take one good last look at your document and make sure that there aren't any problems. If you've been running preflight and I hope you have, look down on the lower left-hand corner, make sure you have a green light and no errors.

Generating PDFs

If your printer asks you to submit your job as a PDF, ideally they should give you a PDF preset to use in order to create the PDF. So we're going to look at what I call the bulletproof preset in case the printer doesn't give you any kind of preset. The first thing you want to do though before you even commence to making a PDF is take one good last look at your document and make sure that there aren't any problems. If you've been running preflight and I hope you have, look down on the lower left-hand corner, make sure you have a green light and no errors.

Make sure you have bleed, that you don't have any change in text wrap, no typos have crept in, because keep in mind when you make a PDF you're sort of freeze-drying your job to send to the printer. It's really difficult to edit PDFs. You can't count on it. That's why you want to make sure that everything is healthy at this point. First, we're going to look at making a PDF using a preset supplied by the printer. To import that preset, I go to File > Adobe PDF Presets and Define, and here on the right I click the Load button, and there is the preset supplied by my printer, and I choose that and click Open and now you can see that it's added to my list of Presets.

Let's take a look and see how they've set this up. They've turned off some of the things that aren't pertinent for print like Optimize for Fast Web View, Create Tagged PDF, and under Compression, they are letting it be downsampled to 300; that's okay and they're using a bit of JPEG compression. Some printing companies will turn that off, but most of them will leave them at about these settings. Under Marks and Bleeds, oh this is good, they've made sure that even if the designer didn't set up a bleed zone, it's still going to pick up bleed as long as there's stuff out there, and they've checked all the printer's marks and they are having to convert to a particular destination profile, which is obviously for their press.

So we're good to go. So when I click OK and then I click Done, now I can commence to making my PDF. So we've taken a look at the preset; now let's make the PDF. So I can just choose Adobe PDF Presets. I can choose their preset and then it say, well, where do you want to save this? I'll put this on my desktop, and I'm not going to hide my extensions I like to see my extensions. So this is going to be my flyer and when I click Save, notice that it's invoked that preset because I chose it sort of on the way out the door.

There are my marks and bleeds, my output settings, and if I want I could say View PDF after Exporting, but I know my job is okay, so I'm just going to click Export. If you look up here, you'll notice that there is this little vertical band. It's really easy to overlook. What that's telling us is that even though it looks like nothing is happening, InDesign is making the PDF. It's making it in the background. So now I've made my PDF and I can send that off to the printer. But here's another scenario. If you're sending to a small print shop that doesn't supply presets to designers or you're sending off to a publication, at any point when you are asked to submit a PDF and you say okay send me a preset and they say, oh I don't know just make a PDF.

Well, then you are kind of on your own. That's not the best circumstance but here's what you can do in that circumstance. I'm going to go to File > Adobe PDF Presets and I'm going to use PDF/X-1a. I'll just call this one my X1. That's built up by a standards body the X-1a, X-3, and X-4, and you notice that they have dates after them, and by the way they stand for Exchange; that's what the X stands for. The reason they are different years is that as workflows have become more sophisticated, there are features that you can have in a PDF and have them be safe in a workflow as things get more modern.

But if you have no idea where this little PDF is going to end up and you want to make sure that it can be imaged in any ancient workflow, choose X-1a. Notice that the compatibility seems way back, Acrobat 4, well that's because there's sort of an interesting thing that happened between Acrobat 4 and Acrobat 5. Acrobat 5 and above support live transparency and older workflows that were built on PostScript don't understand transparency; later workflows do understand it. So this, when you have no idea where you're going ensures that any fancy transparency stuff you created, it's going to remain, but not as live transparency.

It's going to get flattened out into opaque objects that older workflows can digest. We won't go deeply into what happens; just know that InDesign does a great job of flattening out your transparency for these older workflows. As far as the Compression settings leave them as they are. But one thing that X-1a doesn't check is Marks and Bleeds. So if you know that you need to include marks and you want to make sure that if you have a bleed zone you check Document Bleed. If you didn't make an official bleed zone, make sure that you have appropriate bleed amount in here.

That's the only thing you really need to add to X-1a, and then you're good to go. So when I click Export, you will notice again I have the little background task monitor, but keep this in mind in the future. Always ask the printer or the publication, or whoever the recipient is, ask them how you should make the PDF. When they give you the specs, follow them. If they can't give you any specs, remember X-1a, even though it seems like an ancient format is sort of your bulletproof lowest common denominator form of PDF and that should be easily printed no matter how old the workflow.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Print Production Fundamentals
Print Production Fundamentals

68 video lessons · 25394 viewers

Claudia McCue
Author

 
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  1. 2m 7s
    1. Welcome
      1m 31s
    2. Using the exercise files
      36s
  2. 7m 5s
    1. What is print production?
      1m 51s
    2. Understanding roles and responsibilities
      5m 14s
  3. 13m 49s
    1. Communicating with your printer
      3m 49s
    2. What does the printer do with my files?
      2m 39s
    3. Understanding the importance of contract proofs
      1m 57s
    4. Handling corrections and alterations
      2m 8s
    5. Attending press checks
      3m 16s
  4. 13m 27s
    1. Choosing the correct type of printing for your project
      3m 15s
    2. The art of letterpress
      1m 33s
    3. Understanding the advantages of sheet-fed printing
      2m 22s
    4. Using a web press for long runs
      1m 39s
    5. Understanding thermography
      1m 38s
    6. Considerations for digital printing
      3m 0s
  5. 15m 11s
    1. What's a process color?
      2m 55s
    2. What's a spot color?
      2m 52s
    3. Exploring how ink behaves on paper
      5m 14s
    4. Comparing monitor vs. press output
      4m 10s
  6. 15m 15s
    1. Building to the correct size
      4m 37s
    2. Folding and trimming
      3m 18s
    3. Setting up for die cutting
      3m 19s
    4. Embossing
      4m 1s
  7. 3m 17s
    1. Choosing an application
      3m 17s
  8. 9m 54s
    1. Understanding font formats
      1m 45s
    2. Using OpenType fonts
      5m 20s
    3. Fonts to avoid
      2m 49s
  9. 13m 52s
    1. Comparing raster vs. vector images
      3m 23s
    2. Understanding color space
      4m 26s
    3. Examining image formats
      6m 3s
  10. 13m 13s
    1. Looking at image resolution
      7m 16s
    2. Masking basics
      5m 57s
  11. 39m 53s
    1. Understanding Illustrator
      2m 34s
    2. Illustrator layout tips
      2m 48s
    3. Building a simple three-panel brochure
      6m 29s
    4. Using swatches
      5m 22s
    5. Working with effects
      5m 16s
    6. Cautions about some effects
      1m 23s
    7. Importing images
      2m 41s
    8. Exploring fonts
      2m 42s
    9. Saving for users with older versions
      3m 2s
    10. Saving as PDF
      4m 36s
    11. Gathering up the pieces
      3m 0s
  12. 57m 8s
    1. InDesign layout basics
      5m 21s
    2. Building a simple three-panel brochure: method one
      7m 19s
    3. Building a simple three-panel brochure: method two
      3m 21s
    4. Working with color and gradient swatches
      7m 12s
    5. Making gradients and creating a rich black swatch
      4m 45s
    6. Exploring fonts in InDesign
      2m 54s
    7. Importing graphics
      7m 49s
    8. Copying and pasting graphics
      3m 38s
    9. Saving for users with older versions
      2m 21s
    10. Packaging up a print job
      6m 57s
    11. Generating PDFs
      5m 31s
  13. 22m 43s
    1. Using Overprint Preview in InDesign
      3m 3s
    2. Managing swatches in InDesign
      5m 29s
    3. Preflighting in InDesign
      7m 58s
    4. Using the Links panel in Illustrator
      3m 16s
    5. Using blending modes in Illustrator and InDesign
      2m 57s
  14. 35m 35s
    1. Basic forensics in Acrobat
      11m 3s
    2. Using Output Preview
      5m 30s
    3. Dealing with display artifacts
      2m 52s
    4. Using TouchUp tools
      8m 17s
    5. Converting colors
      4m 11s
    6. Using preflight profiles
      3m 42s
  15. 3m 27s
    1. Submitting the job
      2m 29s
    2. Being a good print customer
      58s
  16. 1m 2s
    1. Next steps
      1m 2s

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