Indesign Tip: Best way to export a PDF file for final printing or for web

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Today PDF format is one of the most preferred way to export any completed project to press for final printing… but in Indesign there are so many settings in PDF export dialogue, that anyone can confuse which to tick or which one to leave…. for best output. In the export dialogue there is also settings which you can modify for a PDF output for the web version.

So below is the step by step description which you can use to create a Indesign output file in Print ready PDF format .

Step 1: First of all open the final Indesign file which you want to send for the final printing… here doubly sure that you have opened the final file as with the designing industry there may be the several versions of the same file…

Step 2: After you have opened the file you can use Ctrl+E command or you can use the menu commands as File>export… this will show you a dialogue to type the file name and location of the PDF file you want to export.. just give it the desired name and the location and click Save.

Step 3: Now, this step is very crucial, all the settings you may need to change falls in this step only. So once you click on save as said on the previous step 2… a dialogue box appear as shown below:


Indesign Export PDF General setting
Indesign Export PDF General setting

The above is the screen which you find, on this screen on the box marked red click on the drop down menu and select PDF/Xa:2001 format as this is one of the most used and trusted PDF standard widely used. Though there are several other formats standard but still have some bugs.. like with all the other versions I have found a display problem with PSD files used in the document with white base layer have some greyed dark outline around the transparencies.

Second thing you have to check to set the compatibility to Acrobat 4 from the right side of the dialogue box (This version is compatible with almost all the version of Adobe acrobat reader and with the press.

Step 4: In the same above screen, at the left hand side. below the General Tab click on the Marks and Bleeds. (Though there is also a setting called Compression above it, but just ignore as for the final output you don’t have to modify that setting.) After clicking on Marks and Bleeds you will get the following dialogue:

Export PDF: Marks and bleeds
Export PDF: Marks and bleeds

Here on this screen click on the Marks section click on the desired marks you want to have on your output PDF format, this is the must do exercise as these marks are useful for the printers to set them on the 8 page layout pharma. On the right box leave the settings as it is.

Now to the bottom section called bleed and slug…. if you have already set your bleed settings in the master page layout then just click on it or else you have set it to at-least 15 pt. This is necessary because if in the page you have used any image to be flash cut then this will give the printer an extra edge. If you still not sure what a bleed or slug is… then read the post at the link given below:

Master Page Layout in Indesign, Bleed, Print area, Cut size setting for a page in Indesign

May be you have noticed in the above screen that for the inside section I have just set it to zero, because it is the inner side of the pharma where a page folds, so this does not need a bleed.

Step 5: Now again from the side tab bar below the Marks and bleed click on Advanced tab… leaving the output as it is. On the Advanced tab…

Adobe Indesign PDF export: Advanced

Here in this tab just change one settings if it not already, in the Transparency Flattener, change the preset to High Resolution…

And finally click on export… the PDF thus exported have the best file format for print ready settings….for any query or any problem just give a comment or mail me… here

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