- View Offline
- Using text variables
- Creating templates for InDesign, InCopy, and Word
- Employing nested styles
- Creating GREP styles
- Managing color with swatches
- Building page elements with libraries and snippets
- Performing GREP find/changes
- Using InCopy workflows
- Tracking changes
- Adding footnotes and indexes
- Using InDesign book files
- Versioning documents with conditional text or object styles
- Preflighting documents
- Archiving a project
- Finding and installing useful scripts and plug-ins for frequent challenges
Skill Level Intermediate
The finish line is in sight. You've done all the work to build your long documents. You've made all the required changes during your workflow. You've checked and fixed all the errors in Live Preflight. Now it's time for output. First, we'll take a look at exporting PDF for print. If you're working with a printer who recommends or provides a PDF preset, be sure to use it. A PDF preset is a small file that's a collection of preferences that InDesign uses to set up all the options in the Export PDF dialog box. The file format is like this here. It's a .joboptions file, and you can add it to your PDF Presets menu back in InDesign, by choosing File > Adobe PDF Presets > Define.
Then you can click Load and navigate to a joboptions file. I'll double-click to load it and click Done. Now to output a long document contained in a single file, just choose File > Adobe PDF Presets, and then pick the job option. I'll pick MyPrinter. I'll just call this document Cheese and click Save. Now I get the Export Adobe PDF settings.
I can confirm that I'm using the right PDF preset, and I'll take a look at some of the settings my printer has recommended. So they're outputting to a PDF Standard of X-4:2010, with a Compatibility of Acrobat 7. The biggest consequence here is the level of PDF, this Compatibility setting. Acrobat 7, along with all the other settings above Acrobat 4 (PDF 1.3), which I can see up here, all these ones, Acrobat 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9, these all support live transparency in the export.
So if you've introduced transparency into your document by doing things like working in the Effects panel or reducing the opacity of objects or applying effects like drop shadows, you've added transparency to your documents, and that will stay live and editable inside the PDF when you export with the Compatibility setting of this. So if your printer supports and recommends you deliver unflattened PDF, that's good news! Continuing along, we'll look at some of the other options here. So in Compression, we have options to downsample images that are over our resolution that we need.
So if we're over 450 pixels per inch, we're going to downsample them to 300 pixels per inch, which has been industry standard for as long as I can remember, although I have gone to press with images at lower resolution than this and they've come out okay. For Marks and Bleeds, your printer should be able to tell you what kind of marks they want and how far offset they should be from your document. They should also tell you about Bleed settings and whether or not to include a slug area in the PDF. In the Output section, you can either leave the colors the same or convert them to a destination colorspace, with a specific color profile.
Again, this is the kind of setting that your printer should set up, and since my printer provided me with a setting of No Color Conversion, I'm going to leave it that way. Under the Advanced section, we can subset our fonts. And if we were flattening transparency using a lower standard of PDF, we could pick a Flattener preset from here. Under Security, we could enable a password to open, save, or print this document, but usually that's not recommended when you're going to press. You don't want to make it harder for people to work with your files.
And when we're all done setting up our options, we can click Export. And up here, in the Application bar, we can see the PDF is being exported. PDF export is a background task. Some folks like this; others don't. They think it causes InDesign to freeze or crash. For the folks who don't like background PDF export, there are scripts and other workarounds to disable background PDF export. One of those workarounds is to use an InDesign book, because ironically, outputting PDF from an InDesign book, when you'd expect to have the longest wait for the job to finish, that's not a background task like it is when you export a single document. All right! I'm going to close this document and not save it, and I want to mention a great free script written by Peter Kahrel for outputting PDFs.
I'll go to my Scripts panel and select it, and it's called batch_convert. I'll double-click to open it. If I had documents open, I could use it to export all those documents at the same time, or if I had closed the documents and had nothing open, I can specify an input folder full of documents. So I can pick a folder and I can also pick an output folder, where the PDFs will go. I can pick a Source format, which is the InDesign files the script finds, but there are other choices as well. And Target formats, so right now I want to export PDFs, but I could get IDML out or JPEGs, or all kinds of other things.
Then I can pick a PDF preset from all the ones available to me, and I can choose to whether or not to open the PDFs after they're done exporting. I can update the links. I can even run additional scripts when the PDFs are exported. So this is a really handy script to use, especially if you have lots of individual documents you're not exporting from a book document. Exporting PDFs for print used to be the finish line for many long-document workflows, but nowadays print- only projects are increasingly rare.
So next we'll look at how to export documents for interactive PDF for onscreen use.
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