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Preflighting documents

From: Creating Long Documents with InDesign

Video: Preflighting documents

When you go to all the trouble to design and build a great long document, you want all that work to show up in your printed output, and you definitely don't want any errors at the printer, which can be very costly. InDesign's Preflight functions can help you find and remove potential errors before they become big problems. So let's take a look. With CS4, InDesign's Preflight functions got significantly upgraded with the addition of a Preflight panel, where errors in your documents are flagged and you can quickly navigate to them and fix them. Even better, you can enable Live Preflight at the bottom of every document window and have InDesign automatically check a document according to criteria that you set up, so you can nip problems in the bud before they spread through documents and your workflow.

Preflighting documents

When you go to all the trouble to design and build a great long document, you want all that work to show up in your printed output, and you definitely don't want any errors at the printer, which can be very costly. InDesign's Preflight functions can help you find and remove potential errors before they become big problems. So let's take a look. With CS4, InDesign's Preflight functions got significantly upgraded with the addition of a Preflight panel, where errors in your documents are flagged and you can quickly navigate to them and fix them. Even better, you can enable Live Preflight at the bottom of every document window and have InDesign automatically check a document according to criteria that you set up, so you can nip problems in the bud before they spread through documents and your workflow.

The key to making Live Preflight actually useful is to use a customized preflight profile that suits your needs. The default profile only checks for a few simple things, like missing and modified graphics, missing fonts, and overset text. So to create a custom preflight profile, go to the bottom of your document window and if Preflight is currently off, select it from the Preflight menu-- this makes the Preflight panel open--and click On. Then from the panel menu, you can choose Define Profiles. You can't edit the Basic profile, but you can click the plus button to create a new Preflight Profile. You can give it a name.

I am going to call this one LongDocuments. And you can go through the options to set them the way you want them. So there are several categories that you can tip open and see all the different options to select. I am just going to click a few simple things, like Overprinting Applied to White or Paper, the registration color being applied, and say Non-Proportional Scaling of an Object. Certainly this isn't a full preflight, but it will get us started. When I am done, I will click OK.

Then for the new profile to actually become active, you have to pick it from the list of profiles here in the menu. I'm still using Basic at the moment. So I'll pick my LongDocuments profile. And right away, I can see InDesign found an error in the IMAGES and OBJECTS category. So I will tip that open. The error is Non-proportional scaling, and I can tip that open, and here's this specific instance. And if I double-click on it, it will highlight where the error is in my document.

So it's this photo; it's been scaled non- proportionally. And if I look up in the control panel, I can see is just a little bit off, 100% and 98.2%. So I can go fix that later. Now to make your custom preflight profile the default, choose Preflight Options from the panel menu. Now where it says Working Profile, switch from Basic to your custom one. You can also decide whether to embed this profile into all new documents and when you open documents, should the embedded profiles override your custom profile or do you want to use your profile? And you also have options for what to include, which kind of layers: Visible & Printable, only Visible, or every layer.

And lastly, should you preflight objects that are off the page, outside on the pasteboard, and nonprinting objects? I will click OK, and now my custom profile is the active profile. Now I want to point out something about the importance of backing up your preflight profiles. The custom preflight profiles you make are stored inside InDesign's preferences. They're not a separate file until you export them. So if you don't export them and you delete InDesign's preferences, you will be deleting your custom preflight profiles too.

So to export a profile to save it, choose Define Profiles from the panel menu and over here on the left there is a small menu where you can choose Export Profile. So make sure you have the one selected that you want to export and click on Export. We will give it a name. We will call it LongDocuments. And the extension is IDPP, InDesign Preflight Profile. And click Save. Now if I reset my InDesign Preferences, I won't lose my custom preflight profiles.

Now some users believe that Live Preflight seems to slow down their machines when they're working on very long or complex documents, but the word from Adobe is that Live Preflight is a background process that pauses the moment you do something. Your actions take precedence over Live Preflight. So if InDesign seems to be laboring or lagging, they say it's not Live Preflight that's behind it. Of course, the real test for you is to just turn off Live Preflight by unchecking it here in the panel menu and then see if that makes any difference for you. Another thing you can do that's not quite so extreme is to limit the pages that InDesign checks.

So when Live Preflight is on, you can click down here to select a specific range of pages to Preflight. It's also important to note what the Preflight features can't do. For example, it can't flag something like rich black type as an error. Usually rich black type is a big prepress no-no because it can come out very poorly on press. Preflight also can't find things like ICC profiles and colorspace problems or images in placed PDF or placed InDesign files. And of course we are still talking about preflighting the InDesign file here.

If your final output is a PDF, you may still need to check that PDF too. Also, preflighting doesn't customize to your specific needs. You can set up a preflight profile to check the bleed amount, but InDesign has no idea what the correct amount of bleed for your specific printer is. So if you know the printer who is going to be outputting your documents, it might be worth contacting them to see if they have a preflight profile they recommend you use. You might also be able to just download it from their web site. At times you won't be able to get a preflight profile from your printer. And you can of course create your own, or you can make use of a fantastic free resource that provides free top-notch InDesign preflight profiles.

I will switch over to my web browser, and it's over at vigc.org. This is the Flemish Innovation Center for Graphic Communication, and from their web site, you can download a whole set of preflight profiles for various products and output conditions. They will also give you a spreadsheet showing the profiles and what settings they use so you can compare them and choose the one that's right for your job. They also give you tutorial files to play with and test the profiles. It's really a wonderful free resource and if you're at all interested in using Live Preflight, I recommend you check it out.

Lastly, you may have preflight needs they can't fully be addressed with InDesign's tools. If you find yourself having to manually check a lot of things that the built-in preflight functions can't do, you might look into some third-party tools. One option is Markzware's FlightCheck, which is a stand-alone prepress application that can be used to check files from InDesign, as well as other applications. Another choice is DTP Tools' Blatner tools, which has an excellent quality-assurance function. And while they may never be a full substitute for careful preflighting by an experienced professional, InDesign's preflight functions can still save you a lot of time, hassle, and potentially money when it comes to the press-worthiness of your long documents.

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This video is part of

Image for Creating Long Documents with InDesign
Creating Long Documents with InDesign

59 video lessons · 15599 viewers

Mike Rankin
Author

 
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  1. 10m 48s
    1. Welcome
      54s
    2. Using the exercise files and scripts
      1m 51s
    3. Long-document workflow overview
      4m 20s
    4. Analyzing the planned output
      3m 43s
  2. 34m 7s
    1. Using master pages
      9m 34s
    2. Using layers
      7m 23s
    3. Using text variables
      6m 42s
    4. Using section markers
      5m 44s
    5. Synchronizing text
      4m 44s
  3. 26m 16s
    1. Using InDesign templates
      7m 10s
    2. Setting up preferences
      3m 27s
    3. Using Word templates
      5m 50s
    4. InCopy workflows
      5m 17s
    5. Creating a production manual
      4m 32s
  4. 40m 2s
    1. Using Based On styles
      6m 14s
    2. Using nested styles
      5m 56s
    3. Using Next Style
      3m 39s
    4. Using GREP styles
      6m 17s
    5. Using object styles
      2m 48s
    6. Using table and cell styles
      5m 8s
    7. Using swatches
      5m 33s
    8. Using Quick Apply
      4m 27s
  5. 37m 57s
    1. Placing text
      4m 57s
    2. Placing images
      3m 41s
    3. Creating metadata captions
      4m 3s
    4. Using Mini Bridge
      4m 38s
    5. Using libraries and snippets
      6m 4s
    6. Using GREP Find/Change
      5m 5s
    7. Find/Change tips
      5m 21s
    8. Using Layout Adjustment
      4m 8s
  6. 15m 53s
    1. Using Notes
      4m 7s
    2. Tracking changes
      4m 36s
    3. Using CS Review
      7m 10s
  7. 34m 43s
    1. Creating tables of contents
      7m 9s
    2. Alternative uses for the TOC feature
      4m 9s
    3. Creating cross-references
      6m 8s
    4. Creating footnotes
      6m 31s
    5. Importing footnotes
      6m 47s
    6. Creating endnotes
      3m 59s
  8. 33m 50s
    1. Scoping out the index
      2m 19s
    2. Creating index topics and references
      9m 29s
    3. Creating index cross-references
      3m 1s
    4. Creating index references with Find/Change
      3m 31s
    5. Generating an index
      3m 35s
    6. Preserving formatting in an index
      5m 13s
    7. Using third-party indexing tools
      6m 42s
  9. 26m 44s
    1. Using InDesign book files
      4m 37s
    2. Numbering book documents
      5m 46s
    3. Synchronizing book documents
      7m 5s
    4. Preflighting book documents
      3m 49s
    5. Outputting book documents
      5m 27s
  10. 12m 54s
    1. Using conditional text
      5m 1s
    2. Using Smart Text Reflow
      4m 3s
    3. Using object styles for customization
      3m 50s
  11. 25m 17s
    1. Preflighting documents
      6m 56s
    2. Exporting to print PDF
      5m 26s
    3. Exporting to interactive PDF
      5m 36s
    4. Archiving a project
      7m 19s
  12. 48s
    1. Goodbye
      48s

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