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Adobe InDesign CC Intermediate: Beyond the Basics

Lesson 27 of 28

Exporting to PDF for Both Print and Digital


Adobe InDesign CC Intermediate: Beyond the Basics

Lesson 27 of 28

Exporting to PDF for Both Print and Digital


Lesson Info

Exporting to PDF for Both Print and Digital

Now let's export it to a PDF, 'cause this is probably what we're going to do with it. So, under the File menu, under Export, I'm gonna export to the desktop, and we have two flavors of PDF. We have interactive and we have print. And I'm gonna use print, and if your interactivity in your file is URLs, just, you know, URLs that we've created hyperlinks for, you can actually still do a print. One of the options is to include those. So, I often have a print version that also has built-in URLs. They just don't look like URLs, necessarily. You have to roll over them to see them linking to something. So, I'm gonna go ahead and click save. And now, we're going to choose, either from a preset, and we can start with a preset and make changes to that. So, in this case, let's assume we're going to print. I'm gonna choose this PDF X-1a, and that's because that's a standard, it's been around a long time, and the compatibility for it is automatically set for us, as is the standard. In fact, I just wa...

nna make sure any changes I make don't make this suddenly say "None," right? So I just wanna make sure that that's there. And the compatibility is Acrobat 4, which is ancient, but what that does is it flattens it. So, if I'm worried that somewhere I'm sending that to, whether it's my own printer or a print shop, that I'm just not sure their equipment can handle taking that transparency, and flattening that, and can handle all that, I can export this out as a PDF X-1a, which flattens it automatically. Whoops, I just hit escape out of there, did not wanna do that. I'm gonna go ahead and just back to the desktop here and go back to PDF X-1a. And so, it's gonna flatten it, and so anything that I might have trouble with, any transparency, any issues, I will be able to see that in the final PDF, and then when I send that to them, for instance, going back to that yellow and blue square that we overlapped, it's gonna go ahead and figure out how to make that third shape show up and make it look transparent, but it's gonna do it here when I create this PDF, so that when I send this PDF, the flattening has already been done. There is no transparency anymore, so their machines don't need to handle it. So, this is nice if you're sending it to someone and they haven't told you what settings to use. A print shop should have a file that lets you plug this in and just, it's automatically here. But if they don't, then we need to make some choices. And I use this when I send it off to different, I send ads off to different publications, and they don't even know who is going to be taking care of this, sorry. Google wants my attention. They don't know who's even going to be printing it. So this way it flattens it, I don't have to worry about any of that. So, I tend to use this one a lot for printing, unless I'm told they need something else. This all looks exactly the same as the print, what pages, is it in spreads. I can tell it to open a full screen mode, if not, but this is for printing, so I don't care what happens to it on-screen. I do wanna view the PDF after exporting right here, so I can make sure it's all good. Again, I could, depending, if I wasn't using Acrobat 4, if I was using 5 or later, I could choose to export with hyperlinks, if I created those. But that's not even an option for me. Because I am using such an old version, it's flattening it. Again, 4 is the one I need to flatten. So, I'm actually gonna jump ahead down here to Advanced. We'll come back to the others. And it says, "Great, you need to "flatten your transparency then, "so what preset do you wanna use, "low, medium, or high?" Well, high gives me the best resolution of all my images, so I wanna go ahead and choose that. There's a lot of other things involved in that, but basically, I flatten it, I use the high resolution. There is one, you can create a new one that actually outlines the text for you. We saw where that text might become partially bitmapped. Well, if you outline your text, then it's all fine, it's just text that has the problem with interacting with transparency. So, we could create a flattener setting that outlines the text, just as it sends it to a PDF. So, the text in your InDesign document is still text, but the bit that goes to the PDF is actually outlined and becomes vector, and then it takes that font issue out of the mix for you. So, you could create that and then use that one. But the high resolution, generally, I would say nine times out of 10, is totally fine. So, I'm gonna choose that. I'm gonna jump back to Compression, because this is basically what you're trying to do in a PDF. You're trying to make it portable, right? It's the PDF, the portable document format. And we wanna make it as portable as possible, but we also want it to be as high resolution as we need for our output device. So, I've been talking about resolution being 300, this magic number for print. So, I usually tell it I want it to be 300, 300 pixels per inch, for any images, and by default, it's set to 450. I pretty much am of the mind, if it's over 300, I want it to squeeze down. So, if I suddenly had that resolution, that one image we looked at had, like, 1200 PPI. Well, I don't need 1200 PPI, because nothing that I'm going to print to can actually display that. You wouldn't even notice it, it would just make a bigger PDF file. So in this case, it's going to be over 300, I wanted to squeeze it down to 300, right? So I wanna make sure, if it goes over 300, I actually squeeze it down to 300, because that's all that my output device can even handle. I'm going to leave all these others set as they are, whatever the defaults are. I'm gonna do the same thing that was for color images, the same thing here for grayscale images, and I'm gonna come in here and anything that's 1200, I wanna make sure that, if it's over 1200 to start with, I squeeze it down to 1200. I wanna make sure that I can press the text and line art further. That's a lossless compression. And also, crop image data to frames. So, if I've cropped a portion of an image out, I only want the portion that's showing to come through to the PDF, and this is just more ways to save room and make a smaller PDF, more efficient PDF. Marks and bleeds, this is the same as the print document, except in this case, because we're actually printing it, and we need this for actual output to the print shop, we do want our document bleed settings on. We wanna make sure that we have that eighth of an inch bleed there. All right, so we had on the outside and the top and bottom. We don't have anything on the inside, and that's because we have facing pages, and the inside is where that spine is, and we don't want it to bleed from one page to the next. We want it to stop at the page edge on the inside. All right, so I'm gonna do that. And the only other thing I wanna do is I wanna maybe add crop marks, but most of the time, I don't create any crop marks for printing, just because if they're there and they're not in the right place, then they have to go in and fix them. If you don't have them there at all, it's fine, we have the bleed set up. They're gonna know that they're gonna center each of those pages, and then crop as needed from there. The other thing, when we chose that PDF X-1a, and I can see that it says "modified," I have made some changes, but I haven't lost my standard. As long as it still says that standard is good, we're fine. The other thing it does is that it converts the colors. So, if we have those RGB images, it's converting it to the destination, and in this case, the destination is CMYK. So, this is where that conversion is happening. That's why I don't care that I have those RGB images in there, because I know that, when I export this PDF, it's gonna go ahead and convert that for me. So that's all I really need to worry about, is that conversion is happening. By using that PDF X-1a, it converts it to CMYK, it flattens it, and the other thing it does is it takes the fonts and it subsets them, which means, if you haven't used 100% of all your characters, so if you've used that open type font that has 65,000 glyphs in it, and if you haven't used all 65,000, which you probably haven't, it's going to subset it and only send the characters that you need, instead of embedding this massive font inside there. So again, it's just all about efficiency, it's making as low as it can, with still giving it the end results that you're expecting. So, I'm gonna go ahead and say export to that. So, I'm gonna export that, and actually, I can probably cancel that. Well, I can work while I'm doing that. I can see that it's working in the background, and I can continue with my work, and we'll check that in just a minute. So, that was for print. I could also export for digital. I'm just gonna show you one thing, a couple things that I do differently, would basically be, let's go in here and just call this digital. Basically, I might choose something else here. Let's see if I have one. I have high quality print. Eh, let's go with that. And I'm just gonna come into Compression, and the only thing I might do is I might change this. Now, I might change it to something like 256, is what the iPad Retina Display is at. If I know it's going just on an iPad, I might choose that. If I'm doing a photo book, let's say I laid this out with all my photos, and I know it's going to a Retina Display, but I also know they might pinch to zoom and blow up one of my photos, maybe I needed to make sure that my photos were actually 600. I've been hearing a lot of chatter that 600 is now the recommendation for a lot of the digital PDFs, simply because you can pinch to zoom and you can do everything larger, and the resolution on the screen is getting so huge that it's now actually more than you need for print, so I might double all this and make all this 2,400. It's gonna make a bigger PDF, but now I know, if my photos get zoomed in, they're still gonna look really good. I'm not gonna have any pixelization. And when I'm done with saving all this, let's actually just go and do one more thing. I went ahead and launched that. That's the PDF we just made. We'll look at that in a second. I'm gonna come in here and I don't need to worry about a flattener, necessarily, if I choose a different version of Acrobat. So when I do that, I don't even have that option. Because it's not flattening, it's going to keep that transparency. So again, if I know it's being viewed on-screen, why bother flattening it, because I know it can handle the transparency. So, I tend to leave that as a higher one, and because I've chosen a higher Acrobat version, I have other options, like I can take layers, if I've made layers in my file, I can have Acrobat layers. So, if you are reading it on your computer using Acrobat, you can actually turn layers on and off, the same layers that we had in InDesign, I can turn that on and off. So, let's say I had that Spanish and English version. If I use something 6 or above, I can have those Acrobat layers, and they can turn those layers on and off in Acrobat as well. So, I may or may not need that. I can choose hyperlinks at this point because I have a higher compatibility here. Output, the same sort of thing, it's going to CMYK, and I don't need to worry about flattening. So again, that's the digital one. I have different ones. I have one that's just, it's Retina, it's an iPad Retina, and I have bleeds attached to it. So, if I'm doing ads, I do a lot of ads that are just meant to be viewed on an iPad, I'd go ahead and use that preset that I have there. So again, it all comes down to where is it going, what kind of compression, that's the big thing, what resolution do I need it to be in the end, and how is it going to be used? So, from the very beginning, we've talked about where does it live in the real world. Well, if it's going to be read on an iPad and you think, like, it's your photos and think people are gonna wanna investigate those and zoom in on them, we're gonna need to think in higher resolution numbers.

Class Description

Adobe® InDesign CC® enables you to create rich documents and layouts that combine graphic elements, images, and text. Advance your design skills with Adobe InDesign Creative Cloud Intermediate: Beyond the Basics with Erica Gamet.

In this class, Erica will help you tackle complex design projects and share best practice techniques in Adobe InDesign Creative Cloud.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Manage multi-page documents and use master pages
  • Automate your workflow and save time
  • Select character and paragraph styles
  • You’ll learn about advanced exporting options and she’ll offer tips on taking advantage of the extensive selection of assets in the Creative Cloud® Libraries.

If you’ve mastered the basics are ready to advance your design skills, don’t miss Adobe InDesign Creative Cloud Intermediate: Beyond the Basics with Erica Gamet.

Level: Intermediate/Advanced. Recommended prerequisite: Adobe InDesign Creative Cloud for Beginners

Don't have Adobe Creative Cloud yet? Get it now and save 20% so you can follow along with the course!

Adobe InDesign CC 2018


Marianne Stewart

I've been using InDesign for a decade, and decided to take this class to see what else I could learn. Wow! Erica taught me ways to do repetitive tasks easier, faster, and cleaner. She showed me many, many ways that I wasn't using InDesign to it's fullest potential (and now I am!). Her teaching style is very thorough and in-depth, but also easy to follow and understand. I highly recommend this class!


Great class and very informative. Erica’s a good instructor. Given the volume of information presented I’d like to see class materials included. It makes the course much easier to follow.