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Output Preview

Lesson 24 from: Adobe InDesign CC Intermediate: Beyond the Basics

Erica Gamet

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Lesson Info

24. Output Preview

Next Lesson: Printing Options

Lesson Info

Output Preview

Now, let's go ahead and check how things are gonna look when we output them. So if go up under the Window, Output, and look at Output Preview, or Separations Preview, excuse me. Now, for this, I'm printing it for color. I don't have spot colors. So everything that we created was for color. And you can see when I created that color, I created it out of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. That's what this little icon here means. And even if I did it in RGB, I'm separating it out when I send it to a PDF. I'm going to send it CMYK. But if I had a spot color, so if I created a new color. New Color Swatch. And I told it it was a spot color. Maybe, we'll actually come in here and tell it it's a spot color. And I decide this is called Spot Green, so I have to make it green here. Let's move this over and it's a spot color. So now, I have that and I have this little dot here. It tells me it's a spot color. When I create something with that color, that's me telling it, that's going to be a separate...

printing plate that when I print this, I don't have to print this offset so on an actual printing press. I'm gonna tell it, I'm gonna print everything else for color. It's gonna be printed cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. And I've got this one color that this is also going to be a fifth plate that they're going to open up a jar of this green, you know, ink or they're gonna mix it together. And they're gonna put it on the press and that's gonna be a fifth plate that's on top of there. So just know that a spot color actually sits on its own plate when we go to print. Now, if I decided to suddenly make this, print this digitally or I'm just going to create a digital end document, then it doesn't matter. It's gonna be fine. So if I decided to print this digitally and I decide, I can go ahead and print this CMYK as well. It doesn't have to be printed spot. But the reason I wanted to put that in there is so when we open up the Separation Previews, we can actually see all the separations in our document. This should have... Let me reopen it, I don't know if it didn't update or what. So let's try this. Separations Preview. There we go, I hadn't pulled it down far enough. All right, so in here I have all the colors that make up this document. So it's going CMYK, that's my separations. I can see my cyan, magenta, yellow, and black plates and the spot green. And I can turn off each of those. And as I do that, it's only showing it in black. It's gonna show individual plates in black. I can see that the only place in this entire document, and I just know it, 'cause I just put it in there. But I can see that in this entire document, the only place that has that spot green color is this one place. And I might look at that and think, why is that one thing there in spot color and how important is it that it's printed in spot? Because that's a lot of setup just for this one spot. And I can decide, I actually wanna make this color instead. I wanna go ahead and make it CMYK. So I can double-click on this and I'm gonna go ahead and change this to Process, which is four-color or CMYK. So I'm gonna say Okay and now, when I go back, I now no longer see that spot color that's there. But I can see each of the plates individually. So I can see how much cyan, how much yellow, how much black is in each of these pages that are here. And the only real reason for this is just to make sure when you start separating things out, if you're wondering why something looks weird, it might be because if you're printing a photo and maybe there isn't that particular channel, wasn't there, it's not gonna show up here for you to output. Basically, this is again, this is if you're going to print. We're not going to worry about that if we're going digital. But I can look at each one individually and see how much ink each one is using, how much black each one is using. And again, if you've got a spot color, maybe it came in, you've got some weird spot color that's still sitting in your swatches, because it might have traveled in with an Illustrator file, that happens a lot and you can't figure out where's this color. You've tried to tell it to select all unused colors and the spot green is there and I have to figure out why it's there. Well, I still have that item there. I told it to print it in CMYK. But maybe you have some color and you can't figure out where it is. You can always turn on the Separations Preview and just turn on that one plate and you're able to find that item easily for that. The other thing that you can do here is you can check ink limits. So if you are printing, you need to make sure that you don't have too much ink going on your page. So most places will tell you have a 300% limit. And I can look and see and I can see that there's a little here, the stuff that's in red. It's too much ink, it's more than 300%. It means there's just a lot of ink on there. Little bit there, that's not bad. If I wanted to fix that, I'd have to go into the file in Photoshop and actually tweak the colors. But 300 is, you know, just sort of one of those magic numbers again. If I set this down to 200, we're gonna see a lot more. So that's gonna just show us all these problem spots, where that's a lot of ink. If I tell it 200%, then suddenly this has way more ink. And it just means you're gonna get muddy colors or the ink is going to kind of, you know, just make a mess. Together, it might stick to the other pages. It might make your images look really bad. So the ink limit and the separations are inside the Separation Preview panel. And again, if you're not going to print, I probably wouldn't worry about it too much. Unless you're just wondering, like, what's, weird stuff is happening with colors. You can always turn on the Separation Preview and it does kind of give you an idea of where there's a lot of one color or the next, so.

Ratings and Reviews

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, but as a former professional typesetter (before InDesign, PageMaker and QuarkXpress), Erica uses the term "Justified Left" incorrectly! (sorry!) There is no such thing. Justified refers only to text that spans the width of it's column from edge to edge. The spacing in-between words will vary. Used primarily in newsprint where the columns widths are narrow. The other proper terms for text alignment are: Flush Left Ragged Right (or) Left-Aligned Flush Right Ragged Left (or) Right-Aligned Centered Justified The oddball is "Justified". It's the only option where word spacing is variable. This is the least desirable because it creates "Rivers and Valleys" of white space that distract the eye. Letter and word spacing can be tightened or tweaked to improve the overall look, but at cost in time.


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.

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