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Another way to export your artwork outside of Illustrator is to save it as a PDF. It's one of the most common formats used today to share documents between computers. It doesn't matter if you're on a Mac, or a PC, or even using Linux; almost everybody can open a PDF. As a matter of fact, the Adobe reader is installed on almost 90% of computers that are sold. So exporting out as a PDF is a great way to ensure that whoever you're sending you are file to can open it, and look at it. So let's go ahead and see how we can save as a PDF directly out of Illustrator.
I'm going to go to the File menu, and I'm going to choose Save As. Ones inside of the Save As dialog box, I'm going to go down here to the Save as type, and I'm simply going to choose PDF. Once I choose PDF, I can then hit Save. Hitting Save takes me to the Save Adobe PDF dialog box. At the top of the PDF dialog box, you have the ability to choose between several different presets. The Illustrator Default, High Quality Print, which is good for most laser printers, PDF/X-1a, X-3, and X-4, which are commercial printing formats, Press Quality, which should be suitable for most printing presses, and then the last one, Smallest File Size, which should basically only be used if you're going to the Web only.
This is not meant for desktop or commercial printing. In this case, I'm just going to do something that we can view on the Web, and something that'll save very quickly. So I'm going to choose Smallest File Size. When I do that, you're going to notice that the Standard gets set to None. You could choose any one of these standards that are available to you; any of the PDF X-1 or X formats. You can also choose the Compatibility. The farther back you go in terms of compatibility means that people with older versions of Acrobat will be able to open the file. The higher you go means people will have to have a newer version of Acrobat to open the file.
The lowest you can go is Acrobat 4, and the highest currently is Acrobat 8. I'm just going to stick middle of the road; Acrobat 6. You also have options down here at the bottom, like Preserving Illustrator Editing Capabilities; Embedding the Page Thumbnails into the PDF. Since I picked Smallest File Size, it automatically optimizes this for what's called Fast web View. Then you have the ability to View the PDF after you save it. In this case, I'll check that, because I want to look at it right after we're done. You can also Create Acrobat Layers from the Top-Level Layers.
That means if you have layers inside of your document, Acrobat will try to duplicate those layers in your PDF. You also have options for Compression, which allows you to control the way bitmap images are compressed inside of your PDF. If you have bitmap images in your PDF, you might want to take a look at this, and adjust the settings accordingly. You can do things like change the sampling, change the image quality, and also the compression settings as well. You can also setup Marks and Bleeds, like Printer's Marks. So if I wanted to see all of the Printer's Marks on this PDF, I could go ahead and click right here, and it would add them to it.
If I wanted to Use the Document Bleed Settings, I can check this box. If there are no document bleed settings, I can specify my own in these boxes here. Output; you can select things like the color, and the PDF/X parameters. The Advanced section refers to Fonts, and the overprint settings, much the same that we see inside of the Print dialog box. You can also set up document Security. This is great, because you can set a password to both open, and edit the document. At the bottom you can determine the actual Acrobat Permissions; whether or not printing is allowed, and whether or not changes are allowed.
Finally, you'll get a Summary. If there are any warnings in the file, it will go ahead and warn you at the bottom. For instance, this tells me that this preset specifies that some of the fonts are not embedded. This application always embeds fonts. Basically, this is telling me that because of the preset, it's not going to embed fonts in to the document, and that's okay. I'm just viewing it in an Acrobat, so I don't necessarily need the fonts to be there. The Document Raster Effects settings are 72 pixels per inch or less. Again, that's not a big deal, because I'm saving at is the Smallest File Size, and it's going on the Web. So I'll hit Save PDF.
It'll tell me that Saving this document with "Preserve Illustrator Editing Capabilities" unchecked may disable some editing features when the document is read back in. Basically, this is saying, okay, be sure you want to save this, because if you save it without checking this box, when you bring it back into Illustrator, you might not be able to edit everything as you would expect. If you're okay with this -- and I am, since it's just a comp -- I'm going to say OK. It's then going to save my PDF, and it's going to send it out, and open it in Acrobat, or Acrobat Reader. And so now -- let me zoom out, so you can see this -- here is my finished PDF that I got sent out of Illustrator, and into Acrobat.
It's got all the printer's marks around the outside, and it's very Web friendly. It's going to load lightning fast, because it's a smaller file size, and the images are compressed. If I zoom in, you'll actually see that some portions of this get a little bit pixelated around the edges. But for the most part, the text and graphics that were created in Illustrator stay pretty sharp, because they were created in a vector format. However, if we were dealing with a lot of bitmap graphics, you might see some slight pixelation, which is not that big of a deal, especially if you're going to the Web, but if you're going for Print, you might want to change the resolution.
Let's close this up, and return back to Illustrator. So the next time you have to send out a document that needs to be read by multiple people, on multiple computers, try saving out as a PDF; I bet you they'll all be able to open that.
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