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InDesign CS5: Print Production Guidelines goes over the common issues that arise when preparing InDesign documents for printing and shows how to tweak PDF and document settings to ensure the perfect print. The course shows how to avoid mistakes by preparing documents correctly upfront, covering document construction, layout, ink management settings, and output options. Prepress processes in Acrobat are also covered, including accurate soft proofing and packaging in the PDF/X formats. Exercise files accompany the course.
Live Preflight gives you the ability to identify and fix potential output issues long before submitting your files for high-resolution output. We are going to examine the Live Preflight dialog box. I am going to go ahead and open that up under Window > Output > Preflight. Next, I am going to choose from the flyout menu, Define Profiles. In here, I notice under my General tab I can go ahead and I can enter a description if I make a new profile. I am going to go ahead and look at all the different settings that would affect commercial printing. Under Links, we have Links Missing or Modified.
We would want this selected to let us know if we have any links missing or modified that need to be fixed. Inaccessible URL Links I would deselect since we are designing a document for commercial printing. OPI, Open Prepress Interface links, are not used as often as they used to be, so I would have to talk to my printer to determine if that's going to be a problem or not. Under Color, I have the ability to check Transparency Blending Space. I can see if my Cyan, Magenta, or Yellow Plates are not allowed. I can also check my Color Spaces and modes that are not allowed.
So let's look at that. For example, if I am using an all-RGB workspace, I might not want CMYK or Spot Color inks in my document. Or if I'm doing a CMYK-based workflow, I might not want RGB images or Spot Colors. Under Spot Color setup, if I'm doing a two-color job for example, I can go ahead and click on Maximum Spot Colors Allowed, 2, and this would warn me if I have more than the two colors I was anticipating. Overprinting Applied in InDesign, Overprinting Applied to White or (Paper), and Registration Applied are three areas that I want to be concerned about, and I want to have those checked as well.
Under IMAGES and OBJECTS, I can check my image resolution. For example if I want to be concerned about any image below, I would recommend 200. I can go ahead and check this for both color and grayscale, and this would warn me long before I was done with my document if I have any low-resolution images. Non-Proportional Scaling is something I would not be concerned about from an output perspective, but you might want to be concerned about from a design perspective. If my document uses transparency or not, by clicking here, it will alert me when creating my document.
Image ICC Profiles, if I'm working in a RGB color space, I want to be concerned about any ICC profiles that are in my document and be aware of them. Layer Visibility Overrides, if I have a document that has layers in it, I'd want to be concerned if any of those have been overridden or not. Minimum Stroke Weight, this is something I'd want to check. If I have a minimum stroke weight below .125 points, it will never show up on my metal plate and is something I want to be concerned about. I am not going to be concerned about the Interactive Elements because again this document is for commercial printing.
But I am going to be concerned about my Bleed/Trim Hazard. So I'm going to check that, and if I notice right now for Live Area, it says .25 inches is the default. I think that's a great number to use. We don't want any elements, whether it's text or images, unless they bleed, to be closer than a quarter inch to our trim. By checking this, this will ensure that nothing is that close. Under TEXT, I want to be concerned about if I have any overset text. Paragraph Style and Character Style Overrides are something as a designer I want to be aware of, but from output perspective, it doesn't really matter.
If I have any fonts that are missing or glyphs that are missing, I want to be aware of those because that will affect my output. I would also check Dynamic Spelling Detects Errors. Under Font Types Not Allowed, I would go ahead and make sure that Protected fonts was selected, because if I'm doing a PDF workflow, I am going to have an output issue when I make my PDF. Non-Proportional Type Scaling is something I wouldn't be concerned about, but Minimum Type Size is something I would. When I click down on that, I notice the default is 4 points. I will recommend sticking with that and not having anything less than 4 points, and if it is, let you know about it.
Cross-References, Conditional Text, Unresolved Caption Variables, Span Columns, and Track Changes, those are all settings I would not be concerned about as a commercial printer. But under Document, there are some settings we should look at. Page Size and Orientation, Number of Pages Required, and Blank Pages, since those all vary quite a bit per document, I would not select them. Bleed and Slug Setup, I would want to check that because I want to make sure that the industry-standard, eighth inch, .125 inches, is selected for all four sides.
All Pages Must Use Same Size and Orientation should also be selected. This really comes into play when you're using multiple page sizes to let you know if there is in fact varying pages. So as we can see, Live Preflight can help us identify problems and prevent them long before outputting your file.
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