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Saving as a standards-compliant PDF

From: Acrobat X Essential Training

Video: Saving as a standards-compliant PDF

You know, one of the worst things that can happen to you if you work for prepress at a commercial printer is to get a PDF and have it not be a standard PDF, meaning like, PDF/X-1a, 3Xa, or 4Xa, or all those kind of standard ISO sorts of things, because you have no clue what is in that PDF. It's an evolving thing over the past few years of printers and graphic designers and publishers trying to figure out, okay, if I want to send over PDF, I can assure the printer that I have specified some sort of color management, or output intent, that all the fonts are there, that kind of thing.

Saving as a standards-compliant PDF

You know, one of the worst things that can happen to you if you work for prepress at a commercial printer is to get a PDF and have it not be a standard PDF, meaning like, PDF/X-1a, 3Xa, or 4Xa, or all those kind of standard ISO sorts of things, because you have no clue what is in that PDF. It's an evolving thing over the past few years of printers and graphic designers and publishers trying to figure out, okay, if I want to send over PDF, I can assure the printer that I have specified some sort of color management, or output intent, that all the fonts are there, that kind of thing.

If all this is true, it will validate as a certain standard PDF. For example, you may have heard magazines ask you for an advertisement in PDF/X-1a format. PDF/X-1a is a very common format when you have no idea who the printer is going to be. It's kind of like a common denominator format. So like, for example, if I go in Acrobat and I open up a PDF that's been saved to that X1a standard, I can tell immediately, because I'll get a new panel on the left called the Standards panel, where it'll say this is a PDF/X-1:2001.

I can do things like verify the conformance. It says that what the output intent is? It's to U.S. Web Coated, Standard Web Offset Press version 2. I can do all sorts of things. That's how I know in Acrobat that have opened up a standards-compliant PDF. So how do you create a standards-compliant PDF? Usually, you do it in the originating application. For example, in Adobe InDesign if you take your live file here and you want to convert this file to PDF, you want to export it to PDF to hand off to a commercial printer, you go to File > Adobe PDF Presets, and save in one of these standard formats.

So I can easily create a PDF/X-1a version-- that's 2001 version--of this file for my printer. PDF/X-4 is the same thing as PDF/X-1, except it contains live transparency, which is usually better for both the designer and the prepress operator. It makes a lot easier to edit the PDF in case they need to, like fix hairlines or something. In Microsoft Word for Windows only--this doesn't work with the Mac version of Windows-- the PDFMaker lets you specify a standard. It's not real obvious.

But if you click Acrobat, and go to Preferences before you create your PDF, you can see that the Conversion Settings are Standard. You might not know what that means. You do see one kind of standard down here. It says PDF/A-1a. This is not the same thing as PDF/X. PDF/A is for archiving the file. That's what the A is. It's kind of a newer standard. That means if you open up a PDF/A in Adobe Acrobat or Reader-- well, especially Adobe Acrobat--because normally you can change a PDF in Acrobat, you cannot change a PDF/A. It's archive.

So it's for just long-term storage after you're doing using a PDF. So this is not the one you want to use. Instead, you go to Advanced Settings. Here is where all the goodies are for Adobe PDF settings. Go to Standards, and choose a compliance standard from this dropdown menu. So we do have PDF/X-1a. We don't have PDF/X-4, the live transparency one. But at least the PDF/X-1a would be good enough. Let me click Cancel out of here. However, if you are in Acrobat, and you are working with a PDF that is not standards-compliant, you can make it standards-compliant.

I'm going to go to File > Open, and open up a version of that same document that is not standards-compliant. You can see we don't our friendly little Standard panel on the left. You can do this with one of the Print Production tools. So open up your Tools panel, and go down to Print Production. If you don't see Print Production, go to the Tools Panel menu and choose it. What you want to do is go to Preflight. It doesn't say it makes standards-complaint. It's not that easy. Sorry. Go to Preflight.

We're going to go right here to the Standards panel. We want to save this document as PDF/X. We'll Continue. All right, so it says, "Well, there is various flavors of the PDF/X. Which one do you want?" So you would get this information from your commercial printer. But mainly, it's going to be PDF/X-1a, or PDF/X-4 is the same thing as PDF/X-1a, except that it supports live transparency. But we'll just leave it as PDF/X-1a-- it's going to flatten anything that's transparent here--and click Continue.

Now it wants to know, which of the following conversion profiles should it use, because it's probably going to have to convert some things inside this file before it can make it compliant? So you can choose which one of these that you want: you know, Magazine Ads, Newspaper Ads. I have selected here Sheetfed offset (CMYK and spot colors), so we can keep the spot colors. If it's low-res, you can select that. So it won't have a problem if you have low-res images. Go ahead and choose one of these. Again, this is the best way to figure out which of these you should choose is to ask your printer. Sheetfed offsets.

Which of the printing conditions? The last time I use this, I had US Web Coated (SWOP), which it says might have a problem. I could try something else if I wanted to like going to the ISO Web Coated, or whichever. Again, my printer says I like to stay with US Web Coated. So it's not having a red X, which is saying there might be an issue. Then finally down here, depending on the chosen conversion profile, sometimes it might run into things where it has to actually make a change. We're telling it, "Yes, please go ahead and apply the corrections." So I'll just click Save as.

It wants to know, what do you want to call this? I'll say "my-x1a". Click Save. Now it goes through the PDF, every single page, and it gives you report of what it's doing. Now it actually did make it compliant, as you can see--we have it right here in the left. But it had a few warnings, some things that you might want to look at. If it has a red X, then that's a problem. You need to fix it yourself. It's something that Acrobat couldn't fix. So, for example, it doesn't like that destination profile, the US Web Offset.

It found some slightly thin hairlines, 0.124, a couple of other issues, but none of these actually make it not PDF/X-1a. So I'm perfectly fine with this. I'll close it. We can verify for ourselves by opening up this panel, and see that yes, it is a standard-compliant PDF/X-1 for our printer. That is how you can create a standards-compliant PDF for your commercial printer right in Adobe Acrobat.

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This video is part of

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Acrobat X Essential Training

97 video lessons · 32593 viewers

Anne-Marie Concepción
Author

 
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  1. 1m 53s
    1. Welcome
      1m 33s
    2. Using the exercise files
      20s
  2. 55m 0s
    1. Opening documents and moving them around
      6m 3s
    2. Working with the toolbars
      5m 59s
    3. Working with the panels
      3m 43s
    4. Customizing the toolbar with Quick Tools
      4m 40s
    5. Using the Pages panel to navigate
      3m 57s
    6. Selecting and copying text and graphics
      3m 24s
    7. Rotating pages
      4m 49s
    8. Changing the viewing options
      6m 12s
    9. Reviewing preferences
      7m 6s
    10. Finding words and phrases
      2m 35s
    11. Searching a PDF and working with the Search panel
      4m 21s
    12. Sharing PDFs by email and with Adobe SendNow
      2m 11s
  3. 33m 18s
    1. Creating PDFs from Microsoft Office applications
      9m 46s
    2. Creating PDFs from Creative Suite applications
      8m 57s
    3. Creating PDFs from within Acrobat Pro
      4m 27s
    4. Creating PDFs from a web site
      8m 22s
    5. Creating PDFs from the clipboard
      1m 46s
  4. 30m 58s
    1. Editing text
      8m 51s
    2. Adding text
      4m 40s
    3. Editing images and graphics
      3m 39s
    4. Changing the page number display
      3m 48s
    5. Digitally signing PDFs
      6m 26s
    6. Cropping pages and documents
      3m 34s
  5. 1h 6m
    1. Adding watermarks
      6m 17s
    2. Adding page backgrounds
      5m 41s
    3. Adding page numbers
      5m 56s
    4. Adding headers and footers
      9m 7s
    5. Adding bookmarks
      11m 30s
    6. Attaching files to a PDF
      7m 11s
    7. Adding metadata
      3m 45s
    8. Optimizing a PDF for file size and compatibility
      10m 12s
    9. Creating initial view settings
      7m 16s
  6. 37m 59s
    1. Adding hyperlinks to URLs
      7m 33s
    2. Creating links with the Link tool
      6m 9s
    3. Working with interactive actions
      6m 56s
    4. Creating and adding buttons
      6m 28s
    5. Adding video, sound, and SWF files
      7m 29s
    6. Adding page transitions
      3m 24s
  7. 27m 12s
    1. Extracting pages
      3m 53s
    2. Splitting a PDF into multiple files
      4m 13s
    3. Inserting pages from files and other sources
      5m 42s
    4. Moving, copying, and replacing pages
      8m 17s
    5. Combining PDFs
      5m 7s
  8. 27m 9s
    1. Exporting text
      8m 33s
    2. Exporting images
      6m 33s
    3. Exporting PDFs to Microsoft Word
      7m 21s
    4. Exporting PDFs to Microsoft Excel
      4m 42s
  9. 26m 27s
    1. Working with portfolios
      6m 57s
    2. Creating portfolios
      6m 26s
    3. Customizing portfolios
      7m 23s
    4. Optimizing backward compatibility
      5m 41s
  10. 32m 9s
    1. Creating an interactive form
      6m 42s
    2. Working with form fields
      6m 41s
    3. Editing field properties
      5m 34s
    4. Distributing and collecting forms
      9m 43s
    5. Enabling Reader to save form data
      3m 29s
  11. 34m 26s
    1. Adding sticky notes and other annotations
      9m 2s
    2. Using the drawing markup tools
      6m 10s
    3. Viewing, filtering, and replying to comments
      5m 24s
    4. Printing, summarizing, and exporting comments
      6m 35s
    5. Exporting comments to Word for Windows
      3m 28s
    6. Enabling extended commenting in Acrobat Reader
      3m 47s
  12. 25m 29s
    1. Understanding the different review processes
      2m 7s
    2. Using the email review process
      4m 33s
    3. Conducting a shared review with Acrobat.com
      6m 54s
    4. Using the Review Tracker
      4m 32s
    5. Using the Collaborate Live review process
      7m 23s
  13. 31m 2s
    1. Reviewing the print production tools
      5m 18s
    2. Previewing color separations
      3m 51s
    3. Using the Object Inspector to learn details
      3m 13s
    4. Working with the Preflight dialog box
      5m 34s
    5. Fixing hairlines
      3m 57s
    6. Converting colors
      2m 27s
    7. Saving as a standards-compliant PDF
      6m 42s
  14. 19m 16s
    1. Scanning a paper document to PDF
      4m 44s
    2. Setting up optimization options
      6m 48s
    3. Recognizing text in a scanned PDF
      4m 43s
    4. Reviewing and correcting OCR suspects
      3m 1s
  15. 17m 18s
    1. Using the built-in Actions for automation
      5m 32s
    2. Editing Actions
      4m 7s
    3. Creating new Actions
      4m 51s
    4. Sharing Actions with others
      2m 48s
  16. 35m 27s
    1. Choosing a security method
      5m 27s
    2. Password-protecting a PDF
      7m 28s
    3. Securing a PDF with a certificate
      5m 6s
    4. Creating a digital id
      5m 43s
    5. Removing sensitive content with the Redaction feature
      6m 52s
    6. Revealing and clearing hidden information
      4m 51s
  17. 33m 45s
    1. Opening and navigating PDFs in Reader
      7m 30s
    2. Adding comments
      3m 14s
    3. Viewing extended features
      6m 53s
    4. Digitally signing a PDF
      6m 15s
    5. Sharing PDFs
      2m 29s
    6. Using Acrobat.com
      7m 24s
  18. 3m 54s
    1. Final thoughts
      3m 54s

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