InDesign CS6 Essential Training
Illustration by John Hersey

Exporting a PDF


InDesign CS6 Essential Training

with David Blatner

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Video: Exporting a PDF

The Acrobat PDF file format is without a doubt the most important core technology in the professional creative space today. If you want to send a proof to a client, you will likely send them a PDF. If you want to send a finished document to a printer, you should probably send them a PDF. If you're trying to put documents on the Web that can be viewed, as well as printed, you're going to use PDF. So it's crucially important that as an InDesign user, you be able to create robust PDF documents. Now, there are two ways to make PDF files from InDesign. First, you could print PostScript to disk from the Print dialog box, and then use Acrobat Distiller to turn it into a PDF file.
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  1. 1m 23s
    1. What is InDesign?
      1m 23s
  2. 2m 38s
    1. Welcome
      1m 0s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 38s
  3. 21m 19s
    1. Getting started
      3m 33s
    2. Adding or editing text
      3m 23s
    3. Adding or replacing graphics
      4m 31s
    4. Moving objects around
      4m 55s
    5. Printing and creating a PDF
      4m 57s
  4. 26m 6s
    1. Exploring the application window
      6m 25s
    2. Navigating and magnifying pages and objects
      6m 24s
    3. Setting rulers and measurements
      2m 35s
    4. Working with panels
      3m 58s
    5. Setting the view quality of artwork
      2m 31s
    6. Adjusting view and preview settings
      4m 13s
  5. 27m 52s
    1. Creating new documents
      7m 39s
    2. Saving and reverting documents
      4m 2s
    3. Saving for CS4 and CS5 with IDML
      2m 24s
    4. Setting the margin and column guides
      4m 29s
    5. Putting ruler guides on the page
      5m 7s
    6. Bleeding colors or images off the side of the page
      4m 11s
  6. 23m 37s
    1. Inserting, deleting, and moving pages
      4m 32s
    2. Changing page size
      4m 38s
    3. Creating and applying master pages
      5m 18s
    4. Overriding master page items
      2m 43s
    5. Adding page numbering
      2m 22s
    6. Changing page numbering with sections
      4m 4s
  7. 52m 48s
    1. Understanding text frames
      3m 38s
    2. Typing and editing text
      4m 48s
    3. Inserting special characters
      4m 1s
    4. Importing text
      3m 47s
    5. Threading text frames
      3m 12s
    6. Setting text frame columns
      4m 31s
    7. Setting text inset and vertical justification options
      3m 48s
    8. Allowing text frames to grow and shrink
      4m 5s
    9. Putting text on a path
      5m 51s
    10. Using the Story Editor
      5m 10s
    11. Checking spelling
      5m 12s
    12. Using Find/Change
      4m 45s
  8. 28m 19s
    1. Importing graphics
      8m 20s
    2. Using the Links panel
      7m 17s
    3. Editing graphics in their original app
      3m 10s
    4. Fitting graphics to the frame
      5m 1s
    5. Taking advantage of image transparency and clipping paths
      4m 31s
  9. 35m 49s
    1. Selecting objects
      5m 2s
    2. Applying basic strokes and fills
      5m 6s
    3. Colorizing images
      1m 59s
    4. Adjusting transparency
      4m 4s
    5. Adding drop shadows
      3m 33s
    6. Using other transparency effects
      5m 15s
    7. Copying and formatting with the Eyedropper tool
      5m 59s
    8. Finding and changing object formatting
      4m 51s
  10. 18m 34s
    1. Creating color swatches
      4m 33s
    2. Understanding the danger and power of unnamed colors
      5m 46s
    3. Creating gradient swatches
      3m 53s
    4. Applying gradients
      4m 22s
  11. 15m 27s
    1. Editing frame and path shapes
      5m 8s
    2. Adding rounded corners and other corner options
      4m 8s
    3. Making polygons and starbursts
      1m 59s
    4. Creating text outlines
      4m 12s
  12. 37m 56s
    1. Positioning objects with the Gap tool
      3m 54s
    2. Stacking objects
      2m 5s
    3. Creating and controlling layers
      5m 27s
    4. Managing objects in the Layers panel
      3m 33s
    5. Grouping and locking objects
      3m 10s
    6. Nesting objects
      3m 23s
    7. Aligning and distributing objects
      4m 20s
    8. Understanding text wrap
      5m 51s
    9. Using anchored objects
      6m 13s
  13. 26m 17s
    1. Duplicating objects
      5m 37s
    2. Collecting, conveying, and placing content
      8m 58s
    3. Rotating objects
      2m 22s
    4. Scaling objects
      4m 21s
    5. Skewing objects
      1m 9s
    6. Mirroring objects
      3m 50s
  14. 24m 19s
    1. Applying basic character styling
      7m 31s
    2. Applying advanced character formatting
      4m 28s
    3. Changing case
      3m 23s
    4. Using Find/Change for text formatting
      5m 3s
    5. Using Find Font
      3m 54s
  15. 33m 11s
    1. Applying formatting to a paragraph
      4m 5s
    2. Spanning a paragraph across multiple columns
      2m 10s
    3. Splitting a paragraph into multiple columns
      1m 52s
    4. Using drop caps
      3m 26s
    5. Setting tabs
      7m 55s
    6. Adding rules (lines) above or below a paragraph
      3m 23s
    7. Adding automatic bullets
      4m 10s
    8. Numbering paragraphs
      6m 10s
  16. 19m 47s
    1. Creating and applying paragraph styles
      6m 10s
    2. Using character styles
      4m 45s
    3. Editing and redefining styles
      2m 20s
    4. Using object styles
      2m 47s
    5. Applying styles with Quick Apply
      3m 45s
  17. 39m 59s
    1. Creating a table
      4m 29s
    2. Adjusting rows and columns
      4m 36s
    3. Adding and deleting rows and columns
      3m 0s
    4. Formatting a table
      4m 32s
    5. Formatting cells
      6m 2s
    6. Applying table styles
      5m 33s
    7. Placing graphics in cells
      3m 1s
    8. Importing Microsoft Word and Excel tables
      8m 46s
  18. 16m 45s
    1. Building a multi-document book
      7m 27s
    2. Creating "continued on..." jump lines
      3m 51s
    3. Constructing a table of contents (TOC)
      5m 27s
  19. 23m 8s
    1. Exporting EPUBs
      6m 12s
    2. Creating an interactive PDF
      12m 49s
    3. Building a Flash SWF
      4m 7s
  20. 28m 1s
    1. Checking a document with the Preflight panel
      5m 26s
    2. Packaging for output
      3m 34s
    3. Using the Print dialog box
      4m 52s
    4. Printing a small booklet
      2m 46s
    5. Exporting a PDF
      7m 56s
    6. Exporting text
      3m 27s
  21. 1m 25s
    1. Next steps
      1m 25s

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Watch the Online Video Course InDesign CS6 Essential Training
8h 24m Beginner May 07, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

InDesign is an essential tool for design firms, ad agencies, magazines, newspapers, book publishers, and freelance designers around the world. This course presents the core features and techniques that make this powerful page layout application fun and easy to use. Author David Blatner shows how to navigate and customize the workspace, manage documents and pages, work with text frames and graphics, export and print finished documents, explore creating interactive documents, and much more. He also covers popular topics such as EPUBs and long documents and includes advice on working with overset text, unnamed colors, and other troublesome issues that may arise for first-time designers.

Topics include:
  • Getting started in just 30 minutes: the quick start guide to InDesign
  • Understanding your workspace
  • Creating and setting up new documents
  • Creating and applying master pages
  • Entering and editing text
  • Placing graphics
  • Working with color and gradients
  • Editing frame and path shapes
  • Working with layers, objects, and groups
  • Rotating and scaling objects
  • Applying character and paragraph formatting
  • Using styles
  • Creating and formatting tables
  • Exporting to EPUB and interactive PDF
  • Packaging, printing, and exporting your final document
David Blatner

Exporting a PDF

The Acrobat PDF file format is without a doubt the most important core technology in the professional creative space today. If you want to send a proof to a client, you will likely send them a PDF. If you want to send a finished document to a printer, you should probably send them a PDF. If you're trying to put documents on the Web that can be viewed, as well as printed, you're going to use PDF. So it's crucially important that as an InDesign user, you be able to create robust PDF documents. Now, there are two ways to make PDF files from InDesign. First, you could print PostScript to disk from the Print dialog box, and then use Acrobat Distiller to turn it into a PDF file.

And that's what I call the ridiculously archaic method that we used back in the 20th Century. Instead, I am going to focus on the 21st Century method, and that is to go to the File menu, and choose Export. InDesign lets you export PDFs directly out of the program. You don't have to use any other software. The PDFs that you get are much higher quality than the ones you used to get anyway. When you have the Export dialog box open, you could name it, choose where you want to save the PDF, and then, you have to choose from two different PDF formats: PDF (Interactive), or PDF (Print).

As I mentioned in an earlier chapter, the Interactive option should only be used if your document has movies, buttons, page transitions; those sorts of interactivity. You're going to use Adobe PDF (Print) for pretty much everything else. Even documents that are primarily designed to be viewed on screen, but only have a little bit of interactivity, like hyperlinks, or bookmarks, you'd want to use Adobe PDF (Print). It just gives you more options when you export. Now I will click Save, and up comes the Export PDF dialog box. There are a lot of options in here, but I recommend that everybody start by choosing one of the Adobe PDF Presets.

Everything you choose in this dialog box is going to be based on where this PDF is going to, who is going to be viewing it, and what they're going to be doing with it. For example, if you're sending this PDF to a commercial printing press, you're probably going to want to use either PDF/X-1a, or X-3; X-1a is typically used in North America; X-3 is more used in Europe. But this is the decision that you should make with your printer. Ask them, do they want X-1a or X-3? The main difference has to do with what colors are allowed in the PDF file.

If you're lucky, your printer will come back and say, give us PDF X-4. X-4 is a much better quality, much more robust PDF, and it allows them to print all kinds of things, like transparency, without any problems. If you're making a PDF that's not going to a commercial press, but you're simply going to be sending for a proof, or you're sending it to someone to view on screen, and maybe they're going to print it out on their Desktop printer, then I recommend that you choose High Quality Print. You might be tempted to use smallest file size, but I don't like that preset. It tends to dumb down your PDF too much, and sometimes it will change your colors in unexpected and unpleasant ways.

I choose High Quality Print. From there, I start making changes to customize it to the output that I want. For example, I almost always change the Compatibility to 6. Next, you can choose your page range; do you want to print all the pages, or just a couple of them? For example, I'll print pages 21 and 22. One of the things you get when you change the Compatibility to Acrobat 6 is the ability to do things like Tagged PDF. I highly recommend that you turn on Create Tagged PDF, because that allows better Web SEO, and it also allows people with visual disabilities to use this PDF in a screen reader software.

It's not perfect, but it does give more flexibility, so I like turning that on. Also, if you've used a table of contents, or made any hyperlinks, you want to turn on the Bookmarks and Hyperlinks checkboxes. Those are the only interactive features that are saved out in a Print PDF. Now, I'll jump to the Compression pane, and I am going to make some changes here. Because this is a PDF that I'm going to be putting on a Web site, or I'm expecting people to mostly see on screen, maybe print out a little bit, I'm almost certainly going to lower the resolution in here; let's say 150, and I will change grayscale down to 150 as well.

It updates the second fields by itself, but you can change those if you want. The other thing I'm going to do is change the Image Quality to Medium. You don't need Maximum quality if you're primarily printing on a desktop printer. So I will change that down to Medium. This is going to make the PDF smaller when I export. In the Marks and Bleeds pane, I can turn on Printer Marks, like Crop Marks, but I generally don't need to do this for anything that I am going to be putting up for primarily onscreen viewing, of course. If I were sending this to a commercial printing press, I would want to ask them, do you want Crop Marks, Bleed Marks, and so on? Certainly, if you're printing a document that has bleed, like this document, then you do want to turn on Document Bleed Settings, again, if you're going to a commercial printing press.

If you're just putting it on the screen, then you don't want to see that bleed; you want it to be cropped off at the edge of the page. I'll leave that turned off here. Next, I am going to visit the Output pane. This is all about what's going to happen to your color. If you're making a PDF that's primarily for onscreen viewing, and maybe printing to a desktop printer, then you want to use this setting: No Color Conversion, and Include Tagged Source Profiles. That's very safe. That means your RGB files will be included, your CMYK files will be included, everything should print out as nicely as possible; it's going to be safe.

If you're going to be printing to a commercial printing press, then you might want to change this. I often use RGB images in my files, but I never send an RGB PDF to a printer. So instead, I change my Color Conversion setting to Convert to Destination (Preserve Numbers). Then I choose a Destination CMYK. By default, I get U.S. Web Coated (SWOP), but I tend to get better results by choosing Coated GRACoL if I'm printing on coated paper, like matte or glossy stock, or if I am printing on uncoated stock, I'd rather use something like Uncoated FOGRA.

In this case, you definitely want to leave Profile Inclusion Policy to Include Destination Profile. So this is good for sending a final output to a printing press. But again, in the instance where we're putting something on the Web, or just sending a proof, I don't use that. I just say, No Color Conversion, and Include Tagged Source Profiles. Now, there is actually one more option that you might want to choose here. If you're trying to get a grayscale PDF, where you only have black, white, and shades of gray in the PDF, then you'd choose something different.

You change this to Convert to Destination; this is the one instance where you don't want to use Preserve Numbers, and then you choose from the Destination pop-up menu, one of the grayscale profiles down here. They're way down at the bottom; things like Dot Gain 20%, or Dot Gain 25%. Those are all the Grayscale options. Now, when I make my PDF, everything is going to be in grayscale; no color. There is a bunch of other features that we can choose in here; for example, in the Security pane, we could require a password in order to open up this PDF.

Once you're done with choosing all of these options, it's time to click Export. But when I click Export, look up here in the application bar, just below this dialog box, right up here under the word Object. You're going to see a little animation for a moment. And that animation is the PDF exporting, because PDFs actually export in the background. You don't see the dialog box saying Page 1, Page 2, and so on; they export in the background, and the only way you know they're exporting is by watching that little animation. There we go! It exported the PDF, it saved everything out as grayscale instead of color, and it opened it in Acrobat.

Let's go ahead and make this larger, fit the screen, and we can see that the pages look great, and they're in grayscale, just the way we wanted. Making PDF files isn't difficult at all from InDesign. What is sometimes difficult is making the right decisions for the quality that you're trying to achieve.

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