Join David Blatner for an in-depth discussion in this video Print fundamentals, part of InDesign: Preflight and Printing.
- The general pane of the Print dialog box contains the most basic printing features, which pages do you want to print, how many copies do you want, and how do you want them to come out of the printer, but, before I start talking about all these features, I want to tell you a little bit about this crazy document I've created to demo. We can see over here, on the Pages panel in the background, that this has five pages in it, and this is not normally how I would create a document, but it does help for demoing these features. Now, in this document, I have two Spreads. The first Spread is a magazine document and it has both a left and a right-hand page, and the second Spread is from a brochure.
It's a tri-fold brochure and this is actually created with three different pages, all held together in what's called an Island Spread. The third page of this Spread is actually slightly narrower than the other two, and that's because I need that to fold in. It's a tri-fold, so it needs to fold in to the other pages. You'll also notice that this document is set up in two sections. I have one that uses the page numbering, 20 and 21, and then I've got a second Spread, which is using Roman numerals, i, ii, and iii.
Now that you have a sense of what this document is, let's turn our attention back to the Print dialog box. The Copies field of the Print dialog box is pretty self-explanatory, it's how many copies do you want, but a lot of people don't understand what Collate is. If I change the number of Copies to 2, the Collate check box lets me tell InDesign how I want those pages to print. Now, this document has five pages, so if I print two copies, it would normally come out two of the first page, two of the second page, and so on, but, if I turn on the Collate check box, I get a different effect.
I get all five pages, followed by all five pages over again. I have noticed that the Collate feature is a little bit flaky on some printers, so try it out on your printer and experiment; see if it works. The Reverse Order check box is, again, pretty self-explanatory. Do you want the first page to come out first, or the last page to come out first? It's up to you. I'm going to turn the Collate check box off and set the Copies back to 1, and now let's take a little time to talk about the pages themselves. Which pages of the document are going to print? Normally, all the pages will print out, but you can choose a single page, or a range of pages to print.
I'll choose Range here, and you'll see that, by default, this is still going to print all the pages, so let me select that and delete it. Let's say I want to print just the first page, so I'll type 1, but there's a problem here. If I look back to my Pages panel, I can see that I have page 20, 21, and then these three Roman numerals. I don't have a page named number 1, so if you type just a number inside the Range field, it needs to reflect the name or the number of a real page.
To print the first Spread, I would type 20-21. You see the Range is delineated by that dash. I can also type 20-21,iii and that would print out three different pages from this document. Now, sometimes you don't know or you can't figure out the name of the page that you want to print, so, fortunately, InDesign lets you type in an absolute number, for example, the absolute first page of this document is +1. The plus doesn't mean add; it just means the absolute first page of the document, so I could print out the first three pages of this document by typing +1-+3.
It looks really weird, but that's how it works. It's the first page to the third page. I'll show you one other Range trick here. Let me delete all of that, and I can type, let's say, +4 and then - and I'm going to leave the rest blank. If you don't have a number after the dash, it just means to the end. There's one more thing I should tell you and that is, if you're using alternate layouts, most people don't use alternate layouts in InDesign, but if you are, you need to understand how they work in this Range field, so let me delete that and you'll find that each of the alternate ranges shows up in this pop-up menu.
Right now, I only have one Range called Letter V, so I'm going to select that, and then, if I want to type the second page, let's say, from that, I type a : and then +2, so this is going to be the second page of the layout called Letter V. Again, that's rare, but it's good to know that you can do it. Now, what are these icons up above the Range field? That has to do with different page sizes. If you have a document that has different page sizes and, in fact, I do right now, then you can use those buttons.
For example, if I type page 20, which, of course, is the first page in my magazine spread, and then I click on this button in the middle, this will select all the pages of the same page size in my document. In this case, it's just those two, pages 20 and 21. This can be really handy when you're printing out documents that have a lot of different page sizes in them. What's this sequence thing all about? It's pretty self-explanatory when you look inside this pop-up menu. You can either get all the pages, or just the even or just the odd pages. This can be handy when you're printing out a double-sided document on a single-sided printer.
In other words, you could print all the odd pages first and then flip over the paper and print out the even pages. The next thing you need to decide is do you want to print out the Pages or the Spreads? If you choose Pages, then each page of your document will show up on a different piece of paper or plate or film. On the other hand, if you choose Spreads, then it's going to put together all the pages on a single Spread and treat them like a single page. In other words, if I print pages 20 and 21 as a Spread, then I'd better have a big piece of paper because it's going to print the whole Spread at one time.
Now, normally, you wouldn't do that, but if you have something like a brochure, these three pages down here, that's a tri-fold brochure, they're all supposed to print on a single paper, then you'll definitely want to use Spreads. The rest of the options down here are pretty rare, but it's good to know they're there. For example, you could choose to print the master pages instead of your document pages. That's helpful if you're trying to print out a proof that you want to mark up on paper. Usually, I don't do that though. Normally, you'd print just the stuff that's on Visible or Printable Layers, but, if you want to override that, you can.
You could print All Layers if you want. For example, you might have Layers that have non-printing notes on them, and if you want to force them to print, then you'd choose All Layers. The Print Non-printing Objects and the Print Visible Guides and Baseline Grids are, again, for printing proofs that you want to mark up on paper. I almost never turn those on, but what I do sometimes turn on is Print Blank Pages. That's important if you're printing something out and you need to make sure that even blank pages get added. A good example of that would be printing a book that might have blank pages in the middle, but you want to make sure that the left-hand pages and the right-hand pages all still stay left and right, even if there's blank pages in the middle.
So, again, these general options, the ones in the general pane of the dialog box, are all about controlling what part or parts of your document will print. In the next movie, we're going to focus on how your document pages will appear on the printed page, including scaling them, rotating, adding crop marks and more.
- Working with fonts and linked images
- Previewing transparency
- Using the Preflight panel
- Managing preflight profiles
- Controlling color
- Saving and using print presets
- Printing booklets