Adobe® InDesign® Creative Cloud® Intermediate: Beyond the Basics


Lesson Info

Export to PDF for Print & Digital

So, I'm gonna go ahead and go to the File menu, and choose Export. And under the Export menu, I have two different PDFs, alright? So I'm gonna choose the interactive or the print. I'm gonna show you interactive really quick, just to kinda show you what that is, but we're not gonna actually do that. So, if we have done things like animate.... Well, actually animation doesn't work in a PDF. If I have things like buttons, so I rollover and I click on something, or I want something to happen. Maybe I have, a video, so I could do a print version of this, or a version that I'm sending to the iPad, that we're just looking at. We just look at pictures. But I could put in a video into InDesign, instead of a photo. Or I could have it setup so that there's a photo, and when you click on it on the PDF, it launches a video and plays that video. So instead of just looking at it, the Print version on a device, you can actually tap it and have it be a video that's on there. You would need to create an...

interactive PDF. And that's how we get the interactive items that are on here. So that's, I just want to show you that there's two different types of PDFs. So I'm gonna go back to the Export, and choose Print instead. So this one we're gonna go ahead and print out. Each one is gonna give us a .pdf extension. I just need you to know that we get entirely different output options this way. First thing I can do is choose a preset. Well, the ones that are in brackets are the ones that come with the application. Smallest file size, you know, if you just want something quick, and down-and-dirty, don't care what it really looks like. It's legible, and we might need to send it off to somebody for a quick proof via email. Smallest file size might be great. It's gonna make it small, and that's really what we're trying to do, is get it really portable. If we're gonna go to high-quality print, we might start with that. I don't ever use any of these ones that are in brackets. I use them as starting points, but they're never the final thing that I do. So I might start it with that. And I'm gonna show you a couple of things that are here, it looks like the printing dialog box. But then I'm gonna show you, kind of an easy way to make sure that we always use the most common denominator PDF. And then we're gonna talk about some, if we're going to say an iPad, or something like that. So I'm gonna choose a high-quality print to start with. If you notice it says, is there a standard? None, nope. We're gonna talk about a standard in a minute. And compatibility, this is what version of Acrobat it's compatible with. And there's different reasons for using different ones. If I want to have some interactivity, like say hyperlinks. Maybe I put URL's in my document, and when I make a PDF, I'd like those to not just be a written list of the URL. I'd like to be able to click on that, or tap on that, and have it launch my browser. So, if I want to choose hyperlinks, I need to have at least an Acrobat 5. If I choose Acrobat 4, it should have not let me have it. That's weird. Alright, well actually look at the layers, create Acrobat layers. You noticed it's grayed out. Acrobat 4, it's grayed out. Acrobat 5, it's grayed out. Acrobat 6, it finally shows up. So if I have layers in my document. Maybe I have the covers, the different covers. Well maybe I wanna be able to turn those on and off in the PDF. Sometimes I do that, for when I'm sending a proof to a client. I have layer called Option A, and Option B, and Option C, and then they can turn that on and off in the PDF. Or maybe you wanna be able to have them see the three different colors, or the three different covers and say, "Oh, let's look at all the travel stuff". Boom. And if I have a different layer on each page for travel, I could change that, and now there it is in my PDF. They can turn that layer off, and turn another one on. To do that, though, I have to at least send it to an Acrobat 6 file, for that to happen. I was quite certain, that you could not have any interactive elements in Acrobat 4. I'm not sure why that's even showing up. Anyway, look at the page range spread, so this is the same thing we saw in the Printer dialog box. We can also view the PDF after exporting, if we want it to automatically launch for us. If you are using hyperlinks, maybe you've used a table of contents, we didn't discuss that, it's a little more advanced. Table of contents, you can have one create automatically for you. It automatically creates hyperlinks. So, if you create a PDF, and you click in the table of contents on page, you know, whatever it is on Page 4, it will jump to Page 4 for you. And it builds that automatically. But if you don't include hyperlinks here, it doesn't make it into the PDF. Or if you use bookmarks, you want to make sure that, even though you set them up, now you have to tell it, oh yeah, also send that to the PDF when we create it. If you want non-printing objects, things like we had in the printing dialog box. Here's where kind of everything comes together, compression. There is absolutely no resolution to a PDF. I get asked all the time, "What resolution is that PDF?". Well, it isn't a resolution. Everything that's inside there, has a resolution, and it just divvies it up between color images, gray scale images, and monochrome images. Like the line drawings again. So we have a lot of options. I leave them as set. These are different algorithms, that are used to compress things down. Because what we're trying to do again, is take something that might be really big and make it portable. So we want it to be portable, but we also don't want to dumb it down so much, that it looks bad. We need it to be as high as it can be to look good, and also small enough to be portable. So that's what we're trying to do. I would leave this at bicubic downsampling, for most things. Compression, I leave that at automatic JPEG. And I want my images probably to be maximum quality. As maximum as I can, right? But it says, downsample them to 300. Now the reason it's 300, is I chose high-quality print, so it knows I probably need 300. And that's great. But it says for images above 450, that means I have to wait until my file gets to before it sizes it down to 300. I'm kind of picky, and I say, "Oh, anything over 300, "if it's 301 pixels, you're gonna squeeze "that last pixel out, I'm gonna get that down "a little bit more". So I keep that at 300. You can leave it at 450, if you want. That means if I have, let's say I had a 2400 PPI image like this, and I shrunk it down 50%, my document. I now have 4800 PPI, and that's great. But when I make a PDF, I don't, especially if you're gonna read it on a device, or I'm gonna email it to somebody, I don't want all these images being that big. So it's gonna squeeze it down to 300. Because that's the most that I really need in this document anyway, is 300. So it's gonna do that at this point. The image itself will remain the same. The Photoshop file is untouched, the InDesign file is untouched. So when we send it to the PDF, then it's gonna shrink it down. So we're gonna say, shrink it down to 300. 1200 is good for line art, I'm gonna tell it leave it at 1200. Leave this option set. Compressed text in line art, that means it's gonna compress anything else with text and line art that it can. And it will do it in a lossless format. So anything else it can squeeze out, it does. And crop image data to frames. This means if I have this image that's really big. Maybe I have that cactus flower image, let's say it was really huge, really high resolution. But when I cropped it, I just cropped it so you basically saw the flower, right? You didn't see anything else. So you just see the flower sitting there. Well, why should I send all of this image to the PDF, that's just making it even bigger. I just wanted to send the part that I have cropped. So that's what that is, it's only gonna send the part that's showing. Keep in mind, if you're sending it to someone who you think might need to open the image and maybe adjust it. Or maybe say, this would look better if we made it a little bigger, or a little smaller. Well, they only have that section of the image to work with. So if you send it to somebody you think is gonna get into the PDF, that needs to make changes, you might uncheck that. I tend to leave that checked. Marks and bleeds, same as the printer thing, document bleeds, crop marks, if you need that. Output, I'm just gonna leave this as is, no color conversion. Or, I can convert it all to destination and preserve numbers. Then I need to tell it what the destination is. Then I get into all of these profiles. I tend to leave it just undone, or I leave it at the US Web Coated. But I tell it no conversion, most of the time. Advanced, this tells me whether or not I want to subset the fonts. Do I wanna send the whole entire font with 65,000 glyphs, or do I want to send a subset? Well, I don't know what percentage of characters I used in a font, so I use two different numbers in here, zero or 100. So if it's less than 100%, if I have not used the entire font, only send the characters that I sent. That's on by default, I leave that. Also, transparency flattener. Now in this case, for high-quality print, I'm going to print, I wanna make sure that my flattener is high-quality. I wanna make sure I get really nice, smooth drop shadows. So I leave that on. Security, you can add a password. So that's basically what I do for printing. Now you notice this says modified. Well, I need to save that preset as something new. So I might call this High Res, and I'll just give it a CL, so we know that that was today's. So I might use that again, so again, I don't have to think about that again. But let's say we're gonna actually go to a printer, and we don't know what the settings are. I don't want to do all that, if the printer hasn't told me that's what I need, or I'm not the one printing it to the final piece. I'm gonna use PDF/X-1a. And now I do have a standard listed here, and it says there are standards that the file has to meet to be qualified as a PDF/X-1a. So if I make changes, and this suddenly says none. I've just messed it up. So basically, there's only a few things I change, once I change it to PDF/X-1a. This is what I use if I'm sending it to print and the printer hasn't told me what options to enter or hasn't supplied me with a job options file, which is the PDF export preset file. Some of them have it on their website. If they haven't told me what they need, or I'm sending it to a publication and the publication doesn't know who's printing it. I send ads I do once a month for a ski resort in Colorado. And I send them out, I don't know who's printing them, so I send everything PDF/X-1a. What PDF/X-1a does, is it says compatibility Acrobat 4. That's the oldest, that's really old. They're on like version, well they had 11, and now they have the CC version, so it's like 12. So that's really old, you can see that. But what that does, is it flattens it. We've been talking about the flattener. Everything above Acrobat 4 does not flatten it. So if I've got all this transparency, and I send it a 5 or above, and I know it's going to print somewhere, then I'm assuming that either the printer or the print shop, the equipment can handle the flattening of that. If I don't want them to handle it, Acrobat 4. Even if I'm not using PDF/X-1a, I would choose Acrobat 4, and it flattens it. And that's where we have this choice of the transparency flatteners setting If I have anything besides that, I don't even get that choice, because it's not being flattened. So let's go back to PDF/X-1a. So again, I would go ahead and say okay, it's PDF/X-1a, it's gonna flatten it for me. The other thing that it's going to do, is it's gonna subset the fonts, and it's also going to convert it, to a CMYK document. So it knows it's going to press, alright? So I use this for anytime it's going to press and I don't really know the specifics, alright? So it's gonna convert it to CMYK, which we need for printing, and it's going to flatten it. So, that's what I use, like I say, it's the lowest common denominator. The other thing I'm gonna choose are compression. It automatically assumes you're going to print. So same thing, 300, 300, 1200, same options that we just had. The only thing that I tend to change, I might put the bleed setting on, if we had a bleed setting. So now it says modified, but my standard didn't suddenly say none. So that's good, I'm still within the standard. So I have a preset that I have, that's called PDF/X-1a with bleeds. So I actually have that here. So I have that setup. I've got the document bleed setting, but everything else has remained the same. The output, it's already changed for me, I don't need to worry about that. In fact, I don't wanna change that. If I change it to something, it's probably gonna send it outside that document standard. Alright, so I pretty much don't change it, once I've flipped it to PDF/X-1a. So again, a good general option for printing. Now let's go to another one. I have one here, PDF for iPad 3. So let's assume I'm making a PDF, and I assume it's gonna be read on a high-resolution document, or a high-resolution device. Right now I have it Acrobat 4, I have it flattened. You don't necessarily have to. In fact, if you have some interactive items like hyperlinks, you might wanna have a higher resolution one. It's not gonna matter so much on here, because it's just displaying it, it's not trying to print. So flattener isn't really an issue. Let's look at my compression though. It's 264, that's the resolution of an iPad. Again, it used to be half that, for the original iPad, which was a difference. You would wanna make it smaller. But now I'm almost up to my 300 for print. The only difference being, when I go to print, I'm telling it to go CMYK, and this way I'm keeping it in RGB. So that's like the only difference. But I could probably get away with the PDF/X-1a for everything. So maybe a little bigger of a PDF than I need, but it's going from CMYK to RGB, and we usually don't have a problem with that. So 264, I dumped this down to 800. But again, think about it, if they're just looking at it on screen, like it's a flyer, then that's probably good. But if it's something where I think they're gonna look like this, this is our photo book, they might be actually zooming in, right? They're gonna pinch to zoom it, and blow up that image, and see, you know look at it and go, "Oh, that's some really great photography". So you might wanna make it higher. You might even wanna make it 600, if all your images are actually 600. It's never going to add resolution. If our images are all effective resolution of 300, and I tell it 600, well 300's the best you're actually going to get. But if I place them all bigger, knowing that I want them to be high-resolution, I could do that. If I think they're gonna pinch to zoom, or I'm making an interactive PDF, where I can actually tap on it and have it open up, into a new image as well, I might wanna make that high-resolution. But for me, if I'm just doing something they're gonna view, they're gonna swipe through and read just like they would a printed piece, I'm gonna probably keep it at 264, or maybe even 300. Marks and bleeds is the same. Output, you notice when I chose this, one of the things I chose was convert to destination, and I chose preserve numbers, meaning anything that I've indicated in the PhotoShop files will remain there. It's not gonna do any conversion that way. And I've told it document RGB. So I just know that it's an RGB document, it's gonna be read on a RGB device. And the advanced, I can choose the flattener if I'm going to Acrobat 4. If I'm going higher, of course, it's not even an option. And again, I want to subset the font. I'm trying to keep it kind of a small file. Security is great in something like that, especially if you're gonna put it on your website, for them to download as a PDF. You can use a password, that doesn't allow them to print. Or you can say, okay we can either do low-resolution or no printing whatsoever. We can look at it online, but we can't print it. We can also enable text access for screen readers. But once you do that, then they have an option to, basically, get in there and access the text. But again, if you think people are gonna use it, that need to have that visual access, by all means keep that on there. Especially if you're trying to get certified. Oh, I forget what it's called, but it's for handicapped access, for visibility. And you, I can't remember what the... There's a number, it's not 308. It's like 51C3, but it's not. I can't remember what it is. But it's so they can read it, so you have to have that on, or otherwise it totally negates that, and says sorry, it's not acceptable. You can require a password to open the document, as well. Don't forget what the password is, or you won't even be able to open it. You'll have to recreate your PDF. Again, I'm gonna save that preset as something new, so I can choose that next time. So again, I'm gonna go ahead and export that out, PDF for iPad 3. When I export that, I'm just gonna go out and check out... I don't know where I threw it, good right there. And we'll just open it. It's gonna open in... It's empty, it's still working. See this little thing up here. This tells you it's still actually creating a PDF, and you should not jump out and try and open it, until it's done. The great thing is, it works in the background now, it didn't used to. It works in the background, but you have to remember that. It's still working. So here's my PDF, it's not in Acrobat, it's in preview. But again, I have that ready to go. Let's see what size that is. Some of our images were low, so of course, it's not gonna be too bad. Seven megs, that's really not bad at all. It's not huge. I just did one the other day, and I was glad it weighed in at less than 250 megs. So like, "Yes!". But, it's about a 200 page document, so. (laughs) Alright, so that's how we export to a PDF.

Adobe® InDesign® Creative Cloud® 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 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

Software Used: Adobe InDesign CC 2015.1



  • As an absolute beginner to InDesign, I purchased both of Erica's classes and man was she helpful. I highly recommend this course to anyone unfamiliar with the software to give them some great footing. Thank you Erica and thank you Creative Live!
  • I am using Erica's videos to supplement my "Classroom in a book series" on Indesign. The beauty of this is that I can go through the sections of the book and when I get to something, like Master Pages, that I can't quite follow I jump to the video. I gain the understanding I need by listening and watching Erica and then go back to the book and finish the project with a lot more under my belt. The book gives me real examples to complete but does not give me that "personal" touch. Thanks Erica for being my personal coach. This has worked perfectly.
  • This was really helpful, although *very* fast paced! But gave me a lot of great ideas to take my InDesign use to another level. Thanks!