Join Claudia McCue for an in-depth discussion in this video PDFs from Adobe Illustrator, part of Acrobat DC Essential Training.
- Here I have an Illustrator file with multiple art boards. And that's a great way to handle related collateral materials all in one file. Here's a little secret, under the hood, Adobe Illustrator files are PDFs in nature. Consequently, the PDF creation process in Illustrator is pretty straightforward. To begin, just choose File, Save. But, notice the option to Save a Copy? Now that saves a duplicate file with different settings, if you like, without changing anything about your currently open file.
And I'm in the habit of doing this when I save a PDF, just because I don't want to forget later, make some changes in the still open file, automatically hit File, Save, and accidentally overwrite my PDF. So I'm going to choose Save a Copy. Navigate to the correct folder, and change the format to Adobe PDF. But I'm not done, when I click Save, then I have to choose the settings. I'm going to start with Illustrator default, but notice that there are other options here. The brackets around the file names means that these are presets, these are factory PDF settings.
So I'm going to choose Illustrator default and we'll explore that. And then I'm going to make some changes because I'm going to send this to a commerical printer. Illustrator default is compatible with Acrobat 6 and above. It preserves Illustrator editing capabilities, what does that mean? In essence, what it does is in case the original Illustrator file inside the PDF file, so that to other applications it appears as a PDF, however, you can round trip that file. You can open that PDF back up in Illustrator and there's your original Illustrator file.
That's the good news. The maybe not so good news is that this results in a larger file because you're carrying around two files for the price of one. And unlesss you're planning on somebody being able to edit your PDF, I don't see any reason to include this, that's why I did save a copy, I still have my original Illustrator file. So this is going to be a separately handled file, so I'm going to uncheck that. Imbed Page Thumbnails. Well, Acrobat and Reader automatically generate page thumbnails when you open a file, so there's really no reason to embed them and embedding page thumbnails actually adds a little to the file size, so I uncheck that.
View PDF after Saving, yes, I'd like to see it when it's done. Optimize for Fast Web View would come in to play if I were going to put this online, but I'm not, I'm sending it to a printer. Create Acrobat Layers from Top-Level Layers, if I were using layers for versioning, say language versioning, that would be useful, but I'm not so I'm going to turn that off. And you can see because I've made some changes, the word Modify appears after the preset name. Let's continue the exploration. Under Compression, this looks like a lot to think about but it's really just the same question three times, How do you want to handle the compression of color images, grayscale images, and what are called monochrome bitmap images.
You may hear that called Line Art Scan, it's, for example, when you scan somebody's signature and it comes up just black and white, but very high res, no levels of gray, that's a monochrome bitmap image. Now this is the default. We're going to come back to this screen when we talk about press quality, which is what I'm really going to start with. Marks and Bleeds. Most printers I know don't ask you to include trim marks, but if yours does, certainly include whatever they ask for. Usually just Trim Marks and maybe Page Information, which gives the file name and the date it was created and so forth.
Again, ask your printer what they want. But here's something to pay attention to, Use Document Bleed Settings. Now, there's a bleed zone, an official bleed area set up on this document so to make sure that that's part of the PDF, all I have to do is check this option. If I don't check it it's going to trim it off to the edge of the art boards. However, if you created a document, but you didn't set up an official bleed zone and yet you stil had artwork that extended outside the art board, so you really sort of have bleed, if you check this, Illustrator's going to look at its bleed settings, which will be zero, and it's going to happily populate these fields with zeroes.
So it's always a good idea, even when you check this, to make sure that those fields show the correct values. For Output, Illustrator only lets you have one color mode per document, it's either RGB or it's CMYK. If you place RGB content into a CMYK document it's going to go out the door as CMYK, so in some ways this doesn't really have a bearing. Advanced, I certainly want to make sure that my fonts are sub-set and embedded, and what this means is that if somebody opens the PDF it's going to look fine, if they print it it's going to be fine, however, if they try to edit that PDF, if they don't have the correct fonts, those embedded fonts won't help them.
They need to have the correct fonts active on their computer. Now I don't really want them editing my PDF anyway, so I just want to make sure that it will display in print correctly. Security. You have the option to apply two different passwords to a PDF, one, that the user has to know to open it and one, that you use to protect them from changing any restrictions you've placed on the PDF. You really don't want to have either one of these active if you're submitting a file for print, because it may cause the file to fail when they try to import it into their workflow.
The Summary just gives you an overview of what you've chosen. So I'm going to go back to General and I'm going to make some changes based on Press Quality as a starting point. So I'm going to choose Press Quality. I don't want to include the Illustrator file inside it, I don't need to Optimize for Fast Web View, but I would like to view it after I save it. It's Acrobat 5 or above and that means the transparency will be live, not flattened. Acrobat 4 flattens transparency. Everything more modern than 4 leaves transparency live and unflattened.
For Compression, I don't have any image content in this file, so none of this would really be pertinent, however, let me show you a couple of things that you might find useful. If you do have image content, what it's going to do by default is down-sample any image content that's above 450 pixels per inch down to 300. Well what about image content that falls between those values? Well, it won't compress them, it won't down sample them. If you want to squeeze a little bit more, make a slightly smaller PDF, if you'll change both of those numbers to the same, well, you get a little bit of file size reduction.
Compression, I know that when people see JPEGs sometimes they cringe. It is not an inherntly bad thing and if you set the image quality to maximum, you're not going to see those ugly rectangular JPEG artifacts, so I leave that as is. Down here under Grayscale, I make that same change. Now Monochrome Bitmap Images, even though this seems like a really high pixel count and you think that might be large content, they're actually very small just by their unique nature. So I tend to leave that alone as well. Marks and Bleeds.
My printer doesn't need trim marks so I'll leave that out, but I do want to make sure that I include the bleed and I take the double check, yep, I see my 1/8th of an inch in those fields, so I'm good. For Output it is going to convert everything to the destination, however the way this document was set up was in anticipation of Fogra, which is usually used in Europe. Here, this is going to be printed in the US so I'm going to change that to Web Coded. Under Advanced I leave that as is, because of course I want my fonts embedded and sub-set. I'm not paranoid, so no passwords.
Back to General to make sure that View PDF after Saving is checked. Now if I'm going to use these settings all the time it's going to get pretty tiresome to go through and uncheck and check, make sure that everything's right, so this is a nice feature, you can save a custom preset that you've made. So just click on this little disc and arrow icon and I'm just going to call this job for press. And the neat thing about that is that the custom preset I've just made is going to be available in other Adobe applications too, because PDF presets are stored in a common repository on your computer.
By the way, if you're experimenting with your settings and you get sort of in a bind, and think, "Oh, I'd like to start over." Watch that cancel button. If I press option or alt, it becomes a reset button. And now I have a fresh start. But I'm going to use my job for press option that I created. I want to make sure that View PDF after Saving is checked, which for some reason doesn't seem to be stored in the preset, that seems to be something it forgets. So if you don't want to have to hunt for it and open Acrobat, you might want to recheck that. So now I'm going to choose Save PDF, it gives me a little warning, "Are you sure you want to do it "with Illustrator editing capabilities unchecked?" Yes, I do.
And if this annoys you, you can uncheck it. Click okay. Pretty simple document, so that happened pretty fast. Here we are in Acrobat and let's see what happened, remember I had multiple art boards? Well, on the left side I'm just going to click to open up my navigation pane, look at my thumbnails, there's my letterhead. You have no frame of reference for the size, but if you scroll your cursor down to the lower left you'll see it's 8-1/2 x 11, plus bleed, so those dimensions are correct. There's the front of my business card.
That's correct. There's the envelope. That's correct. And then there's the back of the business card. By the way, I can change the order here by just dragging that little thumbnail up, and now the little business card, front and back, are together. So when I send this to the printer they have everything they need to print all my collateral. My letterhead, my business card, and my envelope. Now that you know your options, just be sure your choice is in line with the ultimate use of the file. If you're providing the PDF to a publication. double check their specs before submitting.
And if you're sending directly to a printer, ask for their specifications, especially regarding RGB content, live versus flattened transparency, and whether they need trim marks or not. It's always a good idea to keep your printer happy.
- Searching PDFs
- Creating PDFs from Microsoft Office and Adobe CC
- Printing to PDF
- Converting a scan to searchable text
- Adding hyperlinks and bookmarks
- Combining multiple PDFs
- Exporting to Office, HTML, or RTF formats
- Commenting and reviewing
- Building fillable forms
- Adding interactivity
- Protecting content
- Ensuring accessibility