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Library: Creative Design

 

Produce flawless PDFs for your next commercial print job

Added on Tuesday 4th of August 2009 09:23 am EST

 
Application > Adobe InDesign CS/CS2
Operating Systems > Macintosh, Microsoft Windows

The Adobe Portable Document Format, commonly known as PDF, is the universal file format for print and web distribution. Because the PDF is a format designed for both uses, it can produce wildly different output results. Therefore, how you generate a PDF is as important as the program with which you generate it. InDesign, for example, has a built-in feature that enables you to export your documents directly to PDF, as shown in Figure A. If you aren't careful, though, you can damage a perfectly good layout in the process. Let's take a look at the steps you should follow to ensure the output of a perfect PDF for commercial printing.


First: Preflight your document
Once you've finished producing your publication, but before you export it to PDF, check the following:
• Links. Use the Links palette (Window > Links) to make sure all the images placed in your document are properly linked and all links are up to date.
• Fonts. Use the Find Font dialog box (Type > Find Font) to check if all the fonts used in your document are active and that you didn't use any Multiple Master fonts (MM appears at the end of the filename).
Only when both of these components check out should you continue.


Second: Export your document
Now it's time to export your document as a PDF. Prior to InDesign CS and CS2, the best way to create a PDF file was to print the document to a PostScript file, which you would then distill to PDF. With the advanced capabilities of InDesign CS, however, you can safely export your documents directly as a PDF and bypass the need for Adobe Acrobat Distiller. To begin:
1. Choose File > Export or press [command]E ([Ctrl]E in Windows) to open the Export dialog box.
2. Enter a filename and then choose where you wish to save the file.
3. Select Adobe PDF from the Format (Save As Type in Windows) pop-up menu and then click Save to open the Export PDF dialog box. Here you'll find many options organized by type in various panels. Let's start at the top and work our way through the various selections.


Third: Choose a preset
The first option in the Export PDF dialog box, as shown in Figure B, is the Preset pop-up menu. Click on this menu to see a list of presets selections. These p...