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Author David Blatner provides in-depth training on InDesign CS5, Adobe's print and interactive page layout application, in InDesign CS5 Essential Training. The course shows how to create new documents with strong and flexible master pages, precisely position text and graphics, prepare documents for print, and export designs as interactive PDF or Flash SWF files. Exercise files are included with the course.
So you think your document is ready to print, but is it really? A couple of decades ago my friend and colleague Chuck Wager coined a term that stuck in this industry's lingo when he talked about the preflighting a document to ensure that it was prepared properly. Now preflighting your documents is a great idea. So you'll be really pleased to hear that InDesign has a Preflight panel. To find it, we'll go to the Window menu, choose Output, and then Preflight. Preflighting is turned on by default in InDesign. But you could turn it off if you want it to by clicking on that checkbox.
But while it's on, it's working in the background always searching your document to see if anything is wrong. When it finds something wrong it alerts you in two places. First, at the bottom of the Preflight panel, uh oh, there is a red light and it says there's two errors. The second place it alerts me is in the lower left corner of the document window. There it is again, there is my red light and it says two errors. So let's go ahead and find out what those errors are. The errors are always listed in the Error field of the Preflight panel and you can expand or collapse these would these little twirly triangles.
In this case it shows me that there is two text errors, an overset text and an unresolved caption variable. Let's go and take a look at unresolved caption variable. That sounds mysterious. I'll twirl this one open and it tells me that it has something to do with that text frame. Well that's pretty obvious. It also gives me a hyperlink. This little blue number. If I click on that it takes me right to the offending object. Let's move that out of the way. Ah, there it is. I can see that that is a caption, which is not been able to grab any data from the image behind it.
I guess the image just didn't have the metadata associated with it. So in this case, I could delete that or I could just drag this off onto the pasteboard. As soon as do that the Preflight panel says well, it's not going to print. It's on the pasteboard. So I guess it's not an error anymore. Great! So that one is down and now we are down to one. What's the next one? An overset text frame. That's good thing to catch. I'll click on Text Frame and we can see that it not only gives me information about what page it's on but also gives the Info at the bottom of the panel. If you don't see the Info section you can expand or collapse it with this little twirly triangle.
This is great because the Preflight panel actually tells me that there are 28 characters overset and it also gives me a fix. Resize the text frame or edit the text. Well in this case, all I am going to do is resize the text frame. I could click on this hyperlink to take me there, but I can already see where it is. It's right there. So I'll select that text frame, make it little bit taller, and there it goes. The error went away. I've got a green light, both in the panel and in the lower left corner of the window and I'm good to go. So I am glad the Preflight panel caught these two problems.
But I do have a feeling that there's more trouble brewing in this document. To find it we need to teach the Preflight panel what else to look for by creating a custom preflight profile.
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