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InDesign users have a long wanted a way to get a gray-scale PDF out of InDesign. One with no color at all. And in InDesign CS6, Adobe finally lets you do this, right out of the box. Now I'm going to show you how that works, but first I'm going to show you how to do it if you're still in InDesign CS5 or earlier. First you need a PDF. So I'll go to the File Menu and choose Export PDF. I'll save this to my desktop, and I'm going to choose PDF/X-1a. It almost doesn't matter which you choose, but in this case I'm going to start with PDF/X-1a.
When I click Export, InDesign saves the PDF to disk, and then opens that in Acrobat. Acrobat is where we're going to do the conversion to grayscale. In Acrobat 10, we're going to use the Tools pane. So I'll click on that, and then open up the Print Production pane. Here, I use Convert Colors, and the Convert Colors dialog box is rather overwhelming, let me show you what you need to pay attention to. The main thing you need to do is tell Acrobat to convert to a profile, and then choose the profile inside the Conversion Profile pop-up menu. I'm going to scroll down here all the way to the ones at the bottom, which are gray scale like Dot Gain or Gray Gamma.
You want to choose a Dot Gain which is close to your printing conditions. I'll choose 25%. It's also very important to turn on the preserve black check box, otherwise, black text and other objects that are black in your document may not end up totally black after the conversion. That's basically it. I'll click on OK and Acrobat goes through and converts everything into grayscale. It's a true grayscale PDF. In fact, if I click on Output Preview and then hover over parts of my image, I can see that it only has black ink.
If you're still using Acrobat 9, you can fine convert colors under the Advanced menu, in the Print Production menu. Okay, now let's see how we can do it in InDesign CS6. I'll switch back to InDesign. Choose File Export. And then I'm going to give it a name with grayscale at the end. You don't have to, of course. It'll just make it easier to differentiate this from my other PDF. Now, I'll click Save. Click on the Output pane of this dialog box and choose a gray scale destination from the Destination pop-up menu.
But there's a problem. We don't see any see any grayscale destinations here. Why? Well, there's two reasons. First, it's because we're using a PDF/X-1a standard. I need to change my standard to None. Second, I need to change Color Conversion from Convert to Destination (Preserve Numbers) to Convert to Destination. Just Convert to Destination. Now, when I do that, all of a sudden at the bottom of my list, I have all of my other profiles, including my Dot Gain 25% that I was using.
There we go. That's the trick to getting a greyscale out of InDesign CS 5. Convert to Destination, and then choose your greyscale destination. I'll click Export. And out goes the PDF, and it'll open up in Acrobat. Here's my grayscale verision. I'll move this pane out of the way, and you can see, as I move around my document, it's all gray ink. Of course with digital color printers, and web publishing, people don't need grayscale PDFs as much as they used to. But when you do need one, now you know how to get it.
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