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In Illustrator CS5 Essential Training, author Mordy Golding explains the core concepts and techniques that apply to any workflow in Illustrator, whether designing for print, the web, or assets for other applications. This course includes a detailed explanation of the elements that make up vector graphics—paths, strokes, and fills—and shows how to use each of the Illustrator drawing tools. Also demonstrated are techniques for combining and cleaning up paths, organizing paths into groups and layers, text editing, working with color, effects, and much more. Exercise files accompany the course.
Perhaps one of the most common file types that you'll send out to other people are PDF documents. One of the beautiful things about PDF is that the format itself is really just a wrapper, and you can create PDFs with various different settings. Low resolution PDFs can be sent to clients for review and high resolution PDFs can be sent to printers for final output. Let's take a look at how to create both of these types of PDF files from an Illustrator file. I'll go to the File menu, and I'll choose Save As.
It's a little bit different here inside of Illustrator. Because PDFs can be opened up directly inside of Illustrator and because Illustrator can put native information inside of the PDF, the ability to create a PDF is found in the Save settings, unlike InDesign, for example, that allows you to export PDF files. So I am going to choose File > Save As and for the format here, I'm going to choose Adobe PDF. Now first of all, I have five art boards in this document. If I choose the All option, this will now turn into a multiple page PDF file with five pages in it.
However, I could also choose to export just a range of pages if I wanted to, but for now I'm going to choose Save, and this brings up the Save Adobe PDF dialog box. There are many different settings here in this dialog box, and I want to go over some of the more important ones. First, let's that a look at some of these options right here. There is a setting here called Preserve Illustrator Editing Capabilities. This setting, when it's turned on, actually takes a full native version of my Illustrator file and embeds it into the PDF document itself.
In this way, should I ever want to take that PDF and reopen it back inside of Illustrator, I would not lose any editing at all. I'd be able to actually access all the functionality inside of a file, including things like 3-D, Perspective Art, Symbols and so on and so forth. However, this setting really those two things. First of all, it makes my PDF incredibly large. After all, it's including an entire native Illustrator file into the PDF as well. Second of all, it means that anybody else who gets their hands on this PDF document would be able to reopen up inside of Illustrator and get full editability and be able to work on that file.
Now if you're sending a file to a client for a review, you really want to be able to e-mail that file so you don't want it to be large. In addition, you don't want your client opening up that file inside of Illustrator and making their own changes. So if you're sending a file out to a client, you probably want to uncheck this box. However, if you're sending a file to a printer for high-resolution output, you probably want to leave this check box turned on. In this way, if your printer needs to make a last-minute change or adjustment to your file, they have the ability to open up inside of Illustrator without any loss of quality or detail.
There is another option here called View PDF after Saving. I almost always turn this option on because I want to view the PDF in Acrobat to make sure that it looks correct before I send it out. Now also, if I have used layers in my document, I can choose to create Acrobat layers from top-level layers. This means that people would be able to actually turn on and off layers from inside of Acrobat. Well that's just really a choice in your end if you really want to add that are not, but note that you need to choose compatibility of Acrobat 6 or higher in order to get that feature.
The truth is that you really don't need to go through all the settings each time. You could access one of these Adobe PDF presets. Now this is the Illustrator default setting, but I know, for example, when I am sending something out to a printer, I might choose high quality print. In doing so, it sets Compatibility here to Acrobat 5. Notice here that it preserves the Illustrator editing capabilities and if I go to the Advance Setting, I'll see that the area for transparency is actually grayed out. This is because with Acrobat 5, or PDF 1.4, transparency remains native inside of the file.
This allows my printer to make any changes to the flattening settings to ensure great results on printout. However, I'll be honest with you. When I send the file out for someone else to print and if I'm not familiar with that person, or I am sending it a client, and they are then sending that file off to a printer, I want to make sure that I'm creating a PDF that I call a bulletproof PDF. I want to make sure that it's always going to print correctly. In that case, I will always choose, as an Adobe PDF preset, something called PDF/X-1a 2001.
This automatically sets all the settings right. It also flattens all the transparency using the high resolution preset setting, and ensures that the document is going to print correctly. You'll notice if I go back to General, when I choose this option, the Preserve Illustrator Editing Capabilities is turned off so I get a file that is optimized for printing. I am also ensured that my fonts will be embedded, and that my artwork will be converted to CMYK or be maintained in Spa color form so that everything prints correctly.
In fact, the PDF/X-1a format was really defined by printers and publishers to ensure that the PDF files they receive will always print correctly. Now that's great for sending files to printers, but let's say you are sending a file to a client for review. In those cases, I'll usually use this setting here called Smallest File Size. Notice this turns off Preserve Illustrator Editing Capabilities, which is what I want, and at the same time, if I have high-resolution images inside of my document, the PDF will include only low- resolution versions of those images so the file is really nice and small and optimized for sending via e-mail.
Once you have applied all the settings, there is one other additional thing that you can do through this dialog box, which is to add security to your document. For example, you can password protect your file to ensure that it's not open by people who is not intended for. There are two types of passwords you can put into a PDF document. A Document Open Password means that when someone tries to open the file, they'll get prompted with a dialog that ask them for the password. If they know the password, they can view the document. If they don't, they won't be able to open up that document all.
However, there is a different type of password that also exists, something called a Permissions Password. When you use a Permissions Password, anybody can open up that document. However, you have the ability to limit what people can do with that document once they have it open. For example, you can choose to disable all printing. By disallowing printing, you are basically giving people the ability to view the file onscreen, but not on paper. You can also control what type of changes are allowed inside of a document. If you choose None, even those people who have things like Acrobat Professional will not be able to use advanced tools to edit the document.
For example, sometimes when I'm sending a file or an image to a client for review, I will disallow all changes so that I can be sure that the client is not altering the document in any way. Once I have applied all of my settings for my PDF, I can come down here to the Save PDF button, click on it to create my PDF document. If I've checked that box in the beginning over here were it says General, to view the PDF after saving, once the PDF file has been generated, Acrobat will launch either Professional, if I have it installed on my computer, or Adobe Reader so that I can view the PDF document.
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