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While InDesign can be used for making onscreen interactive PDF files, for most of us, it all comes down to one thing: can we get this thing to print? The answer, of course, is yes. I'll go to the File menu, choose Print, and up comes the Print dialog box. There are lots of features in here. I am not going to cover all of them, but I do want to point out the most important ones. The first thing we need to do is choose the proper printer from the Printer pop-up menu. This lets us tell InDesign where we are going to be printing. Then, of course, you choose the number of Copies, and what page ranges you want to be printing.
I want to print all of my pages in this document, and I want to print them, not as individual pages, but as Spreads. You can see the difference down here in the lower left corner, where there is a print preview. This document is a tri-fold brochure, where each panel of the brochure was set up as an individual page, so I need to print it as a single Spread, not individual Pages. Now we'll switch to the Setup pane of the dialog box, and I am going to change the Paper Size; that's the size of paper that's actually in the printer right now. I need to choose a larger sized paper, because I can see in the preview down here that the document page is too big for this paper.
I'll put this on some really large paper, A3, and I could tell it to Scale it if I want to. Of course, in this case, I don't want to. I am going to leave it set to 100%. I can also choose an Orientation: whether I want it straight up, or sideways. Next I'll go to the Marks and Bleed pane, and I am going to turn on my Marks. You don't necessarily have to have all of these turned on, but this does add your Crop Marks, and your Bleed Marks, your Color Bars; all kinds of good stuff. But if you are using Marks, I encourage you to come over here to the Offset field, and increase this a little bit.
6 points is really too close to the page, in my opinion; give it at least 12 points. Because this document has bleed in it; that is, there is objects that bleed off the side of the page, we need to make sure we've turned on the Use Document Bleed Settings. That way InDesign will print anything that falls within the Bleed Guide settings. This document also has some slug information, so Id better turn that on as well. You'll see in the preview that it added just a little bit of space above this page. That's why I have information sitting off the document page on the pasteboard that I still want printed, but later it's going to get trimmed off.
Now, in the Output pane, I have some choices about what color I want to print. In most cases, you'll be printing Composite CMYK to a color printer. If you're printing to a grayscale printer, you might change this to Composite Gray, and everything gets changed to grayscale. In that case, you might also want to turn on the Text as Black checkbox, because that way, any color text will automatically be set to black, and you'll be able to read it better. The other option you might choose is Composite RGB. If your final output is going to an inkjet printer, or a desktop laser printer, then you might want to treat it as an RGB device.
I know there's CMYK ink, or toner in it, but those kinds of inexpensive desktop printers tend to print better when you treat them as RGB devices. Of course, if you're printing on a printing press, or a digital printer, you definitely want to use CMYK. While there are several other options that you can choose in here, I am going to jump right to the Advanced pane, and I am going to change the Transparency Flattener from Medium to High Resolution. In general, when you're printing, you want to try printing with High Resolution Transparency Flattener; that way you get the best quality. I suppose if you are just printing a quick proof, then you could use Medium, but any final quality artwork should be printed with High Resolution.
Now, before I click print, there is two more things I need to talk about. One is that, if you've done all this work to set up the Print dialog box once, you're probably going to want the same settings again, right? So save them as a preset. Click Save Preset, and give it a name. I'll call this David's Preset; you can call it anything you want. I'll click OK, and you'll see that immediately it adds it to my Print Preset pop-up menu here. Any time I want these same settings, I can choose that out of this pop-up menu. The other thing I should point out is, if your printer has specific features that it knows about that InDesign doesn't, then click on Printer.
InDesign will warn you that many of the things in the printer driver dialog box will be overridden by InDesign's own dialog box. That's fine; I'll click OK. Now, this is the printer driver dialog box. This is going to look very different on Windows, of course, but this is where you set up your printer specific features. For example, I'll turn on the Two-sided checkbox. Then I'll click Print, and InDesign returns me to InDesign's own Print dialog box. I think we are good to go. I could click Print. By the way, if you're printing to a non-poster printer, like an inexpensive desktop inkjet or laser printer, a number of the features inside this dialog box may not be available at all.
But that's okay; InDesign prints pretty well to those kinds of printers too.
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