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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.
While InDesign can be used for making onscreen interactive PDF or SWF files, for most users it all comes down to one thing, can we get it to print? In order to print this document out of InDesign, I need to go to Print dialog box, which I can find under the File menu by choosing Print. I am going to step you through some of the most common things that you want to pay attention to in a Print dialog box. When you first open the Print dialog box, you need to choose how many copies of the document you want to print and which pages. You can choose a page range here in this field and I do want to point out that if you're using different numbers, for example, let's say this document started on page 47, I could type in absolute page numbers.
For example, if I type +2, it means print the second page. it doesn't matter what the page numbering is. That targets the second page itself. Let's look at some of these other options. If you only wanted to print the even or odd pages, you could choose that from the Sequence pop-up menu. I need to talk about spreads for a minute. If you have a document that has a left and a right page, that is, a spread, you might be tempted to turn on the Spreads checkbox. When you do that InDesign will print both pages together on the same page as though it were a single page.
That's okay if you're just printing a proof but you don't want to try and print that for your final output. That's a no-no. In your final output you want each page to print on its own. Let's take a look at some of the other panes in this dialog box. The Setup pane lets you to find how it's going to be printed onto the paper. The most important thing you need to choose here is the correct paper size. This not your document size. It's the size of the paper that you'll actually be printing on. These paper sizes are determined by your printer driver. Once you choose the paper size you can change the orientation, if you want print it sideways or straight up.
Notice that as I am making changes in this dialog box I am seeing this preview in the lower left corner. The white box is the paper that I'll be printing on while this gray box with the P in it is the actual InDesign document. This gives you some good feedback about how your document will print on the page. Obviously in this case the document would actually get clipped off on the bottom. So that's not going to be very helpful. On the other hand, even if I set it to Portrait I can see that the right side and the bottom side are going to clipped off.
That's because this document has some bleed, some objects bleeding off the side of the page. So it's actually larger than its letter page. If I'm printing a proof and I wanted to print the whole thing on one piece of paper, I could click Scale To Fit and it would then scale it all onto the one page. Or if I set this back to 100% another option is to tile my document. If I choose tiling it breaks it up onto multiple pieces of paper. This can be handy if you have a really big document that you need to print out.
In this case, I am going to turn that off and move on to the next pane. The Marks and Bleed pane. If you want crop marks and registration marks and so on you can turn them on here. In general, the easiest thing to do is just turn on All Printer Marks. But I would recommend setting the Offset to something a little bit larger. That six points is kind of tight. I would set this to nine points maybe 12 points. Move it away from the page very slightly. If you do have bleeds or slugs you need to set them up in the Bleed and Slug area. For example, in this document I have an object bleeding off the side all the way to the bleed guide.
We talked about bleeds in an earlier chapter. If you want your bleed to actually show up you must either turn on the Use Document Bleed Settings or type in your own values here. The Output pane lets you control what happens to your color as it's going to the printer. If you are printing to a grayscale desktop printer then you want to leave this set to Composite Gray. If you are printing to a color printer then you are going to want to print either Composite CMYK or RGB. In general, inkjet printers and even most color laser printers should be treated as RGB devices.
When I am printing to my color laser printer, I have got a Xerox color laser printer, I always print at Composite RGB. The colors are much better that way. That said if you are printing to a grayscale printer you might also consider turning the Text as Black on. That way all your colored text will be set to black not gray. For example if you've got red text or something, it wouldn't ordinarily come out as gray and it's hard to read but if you turn Text as Black on, it will automatically be set to black. In the Graphics pane, I want to pay a quick attention to the Images and Fonts section.
Normally if you have high-resolution graphics they get sub-sampled when you print. That is the high resolution gets down- sampled to an appropriate resolution for your printer. That's Optimized Subsampling. If you are printing just a really quick proof, you might choose Proxy instead. Then just a low-resolution proxy in InDesign will print out. That's a much faster print. On the other hand in some situations especially when printing to an inkjet you might choose All. All will send the full resolution of your graphics to the printer.
So it will handle any sub-sampling if it needs to. In most cases though, especially for desktop printers, Optimize Subsampling is just fine. I do recommend that you send the complete fonts when you download and that you turn Download PPD Fonts on. That way you're sure that your fonts will be used in the printer, not any fonts that might be resident in your printer. I found that solves a lot of font problems when printing. I am going to skip over that Color Management pane because color management is an advanced topic that I will cover in a later title.
The Advanced pane however turns out to be not so advanced. It turns out to be really important. The key thing here to pay attention to is the Transparency Flattener. By default this is set to Medium Resolution, which I find very strange because you really want to use High Resolution most of the time. The Transparency Flattener has to do with how InDesign handles any transparent objects on your pages. It has to flatten them, that is, fake the transparency by creating nontransparent object for the printer. You should definitely use the High Resolution preset for this whenever possible.
The only time I would choose a lower resolution is if you try and print and it just takes forever. That's pretty rare. So High Resolution is the way to go. By the way, if you are printing to a non-PostScript printer like a desktop inkjet printer, a number of these features won't be available at all. On the other hand some other ones might be, such as Print as Bitmap. That can be helpful if you're finding that the image quality is not as good on your inkjet. Try turning on Print as Bitmap. Well InDesign is really designed to print on PostScript printers I find that it pretty well a non-PostScript printers too.
Now once you've spent this time to set up the Print dialog box just the way you want it, I encourage you to save it as a preset. If I click Save Preset I can give it a name. I'll call this David's HP and when I click OK you'll see that that shows up here in a Print Preset popup menu. Next time I print to this same printer I can choose this preset and I could know that everything that I've done in a Print dialog box has been saved except for the things that the pages. That isn't saved in the Print Preset. So I'd have to handle that myself manually.
The other cool thing about choosing a Print Preset is that you can find in the File menu. I am going to go ahead and click Cancel here without printing and I am going to show you that in the bottom of the File menu there is a Print Preset sub-menu and there's my preset that I just created. Even better if I am doing a lot of printing to this, here is a super secret shortcut. If you hold down the Shift key when you choose the File menu and then choose your preset it'll print without even opening the Print dialog box, pretty cool. Now there is one more print option that I need to share with you and that is printing a booklet.
When I open the Pages panel for this document I see that I have eight pages, a cover, some inside pages, and back cover. If I am printing this on my own large format double-sided printer I'll probably want to create what's called printer spreads. In other words, pages one and eight will be together on one sheet, pages two and seven will be on one sheet which is on the back of pages one and eight, and so on. In the middle pages four and five will print as a spread. Another word for creating printer spreads is imposition and InDesign has a very basic imposition software built into it.
We can get to it by choosing the File menu and then choosing Print Booklet. In the Print Booklet dialog box you can see that you have various imposition presets built in. Such as two up, three up, four up and so on. 2-Up Saddle Stitch is the most basic kind. The Preview pane gives you a great preview of what going to happen when you actually print in your booklet. In this case, we can the pages eight and one on the same spread but it's not printing on the letter size page that I've got. So let's go back to Setup and try and fit it to the page.
I'll click Print Settings, which brings up that Print dialog box, but this is a Print dialog box specifically for Print Booklet. It won't let me change the pages or anything like that but it will let me do things like scale it to fit. I am going to scale this to fit and print it sideways on the page. Click OK and check my preview again. And you can see that I am now getting the full printer spread on one sheet of paper. Again, this is totally appropriate for printing a comp, a proof, but it's not going to be appropriate for final output.
We can flip through the pages one by one so you can see what the spreads are going to look like. Pages two and seven, pages six and eight and so on. One thing I get asked about a lot is why do I get a warning that additional pages are being added. And the reason is that if you are printing a booklet, the pages in your document must be divisible by four, right? You have to have two on one side and two on the other. So if your page count is not divisible by four you will get a warning and Print Booklet will actually add pages for you.
Ultimately the Print Booklet is feature is pretty good but it's not high-end imposition. If you are a printer or you are working with any kind of complex document, I would not recommend using Print Booklet. Instead I would export as a PDF and then use one of the many Acrobat plug-ins for doing imposition. Of course print is only one option for getting your files out of InDesign. There are many other options as well including PDF, SWF, JPEG and more.
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