13. Printing and Exporting

Lesson overview

In this lesson, you’ll learn how to do the following:

  • Check a document for potential printing issues.

  • Manage the colors used in a document.

  • Confirm that an InDesign file and all of its elements are ready for printing.

  • Preview a document onscreen before printing.

  • Create different Adobe PDFs for proofing and for press.

  • Create an Adobe PDF preset for press-ready PDFs.

  • Print a proof of a document.

  • Create a print preset to streamline the printing process.

  • Assemble all necessary files for printing or delivery to a service provider or commercial printer.

  • Export graphics for the web and other digital destinations.


This lesson will take about 50 minutes to complete. To get the lesson files used in this chapter, download them from the web page for this book at www.adobepress.com/InDesignCIB2020. For more information, see “Accessing the lesson files and Web Edition” in the Getting Started section at the beginning of this book.


Adobe InDesign provides advanced print-preparation and printing controls to help you manage the printing process, regardless of the output device. You can easily output your work to a laser or inkjet printer, a screen proof PDF, or a press-ready PDF.

Getting started

In this lesson, you’ll do some print-preparation work on a magazine cover that contains a full-color image and also uses a spot color. The document will be printed on a color inkjet or laser printer for proofing and also on a high-resolution imaging device, such as a platesetter used in offset printing. Prior to printing, you will export the document to a PDF file that can be used in a review process.

Image Note

If you have not already downloaded the project files for this lesson to your computer from your Account page, make sure to do so now. See “Getting Started” at the beginning of the book.

  1. To ensure that the preferences and default settings of your InDesign program match those used in this lesson, move the InDesign Defaults file to a different folder following the procedure in “Saving and restoring the InDesign Defaults file” on pages 45.

  2. Start InDesign. Choose File > Open and open the 13_Start.indd file in the Lesson13 folder, located inside the Lessons folder within the InDesignCIB folder on your hard drive.

  3. An alert message informs you that the document contains missing and modified links. Click Don’t Update Links. You will correct these problems later in this lesson.

    When you print an InDesign document or export a PDF file for printing, InDesign must access the original artwork that was placed in the layout. If imported artwork has been moved, graphic filenames have changed, or the original files are no longer available, InDesign alerts you that the original artwork cannot be located or has been modified. This alert appears when a document is opened, printed, exported, or checked for printing using the Preflight panel. InDesign shows the status of all files necessary for printing in the Links panel.

  4. To ensure that the panels and menu commands match those used in this lesson, choose Window > Workspace > [Printing And Proofing], and then choose Window > Workspace > Reset Printing And Proofing.

  5. Choose File > Save As, rename the file 13_Press.indd, and save it in the Lesson13 folder.

    Image Note

    The screen captures in this book show the Medium Light interface. Interface elements such as panels and dialog boxes will be darker on your screen if you are using the default interface.

  6. To see what the finished project looks like, open the 13_End.indd file in the Lesson13 folder. For this lesson, the difference between the Start and End files is not visible in a preview; instead, you’ll need to examine the Links and Color Swatches panels to see the differences.

  7. When you are ready to start working, either close the 13_End.indd file or leave it open for your reference. Then return to your lesson document by choosing 13_Press.indd from the Window menu or by clicking the 13_Press.indd tab in the upper-left corner of the document window.

Preflighting files

InDesign provides controls for performing a quality check on a document prior to printing, handing off the document to a print service provider, or publishing to a digital format. Preflight is the standard industry term for this process. In “Preflighting as you work,” in Lesson 2, “Getting to Know InDesign,” you learned how you can take advantage of the live preflight capabilities in InDesign. This lets you monitor a document as you create it to prevent potential problems.

You can use the Preflight panel to confirm that all graphics and fonts used in the file are available for printing and exporting and that there are no instances of overset text. Now you’ll use the Preflight panel to identify a pair of missing graphics and overset text in the sample layout.

Image Tip

You can also access the Preflight panel by double-clicking ”3 errors” at the bottom of the document window or by choosing Preflight Panel from the menu to the right of “3 errors.”

  1. Choose Window > Output > Preflight, or click the Preflight icon () in the panel dock.

  2. In the Preflight panel, make sure that On is selected and confirm that [Basic] (Working) is selected in the Profile menu. Notice that two types of errors are listed: LINKS and TEXT. The number following in parentheses indicates two link-related errors and one text-related error.

  3. Click the triangle to the left of LINKS and then to the left of TEXT to reveal more information about the errors. Click the triangle to the left of the first Missing Link to display the name of the missing graphic file. Double-click the GardenNews-Masthead-Spring.ai link name; this centers the graphic in the document window and selects the graphics frame. If you look carefully at the frame that contains the magazine title, you’ll notice a red-circled question mark in the upper-left corner, which indicates that the original graphic file is missing. The Info area at the bottom of the panel displays details about the selected problem and how to fix it.

  4. A typical problem in production might be that the decision was made to change the color of the masthead for this issue but the InDesign file is still linked to the graphic with the previous color. Your task is to link to this new version of the masthead. To fix this error, open the Links panel and scroll down until you see GardenNews-Masthead-Spring.ai in the list of links.

    Image Note

    Modified or missing graphics are displayed in low resolution regardless of the current Display Performance setting.

  5. Select the GardenNews-Masthead-Spring.ai file. Make the Links panel wider by pulling the left edge to the left and then expand the first column so that you can see the full filenames, as you learned in Lesson 10, “Importing and Modifying Graphics.” Note the red-circled question mark () in the status column, which indicates that the link is missing, and then choose Relink from the panel menu. Browse to the Links folder inside the Lesson13 folder. Double-click the GardenNews-Masthead-Summer.ai file. The new file is now linked, replacing the original file.

    Notice that after you relink, the masthead graphic is a different color, which was the intended design change. Also note that the red-circled question mark in the upper-left corner has changed to a link symbol () and that there is no longer an alert in the status column of the Links panel, meaning that the graphic is linked to the InDesign file and is not missing or modified.

    Image Tip

    The Display Performance section of the Preferences dialog box lets you change default settings for the display of raster images, vector graphics, and objects to which transparency is applied. Choose Edit > Preferences > Display Performance (Windows) or InDesign > Preferences > Display Performance (macOS) to open the Preferences dialog box.

  6. To display the document at high resolution, choose View > Display Performance > High Quality Display. It’s a best practice to view a document at High Quality Display when checking it for production quality.

  7. Click the Status icon () at the top of the Links panel. This sorts the links by status rather than name or page. Status includes whether a link is missing, modified, or embedded. The graphics that might be a problem sort to the top of the list. Scroll to the top of the list and you’ll see that the graphic named Lily.jpg displays the modified link alert (). Click the page number to the right of the filename, and InDesign navigates to the page where the modified graphic is located, selects it, and centers it on your screen.

  8. Notice that the modified link alert () is also displayed in the upper-left corner of the graphic’s frame (the Link badge). You can click the Link badge or double-click the modified link icon in the Links panel to update this graphic. Click one of those now.

    Notice that after you update the link to the Lily.jpg graphic, the color has changed. Another typical scenario in production is that color correction was done to this photo but it has not yet been updated in the InDesign file. Also notice that the modified link alert in the upper-left corner has changed to a link symbol, meaning that the graphic is linked to the InDesign file and is not missing or modified.

  9. Open the Preflight panel again by clicking the icon in the panel dock (). Notice that there is now only 1 error. Now we’ll examine the TEXT error. In the same way you clicked the missing or modified graphic to locate it, click the triangle to the left of Overset Text (1). Then click the page number to the right of the listed text frame. This navigates to the text frame and selects it, centering it in the document window.

  10. The red square with a plus sign inside indicates that there is more text that does not fit into the frame. There should be no overset text in a file that is ready to be reviewed, published, or printed.

  11. Using the Selection tool (), pull down the center handle on the text frame enough to display the last line of the paragraph.

  12. Now the Preflight panel status shows No Errors () at the bottom. Every document should have No Errors in the preflight status when you are finished preflighting.

  13. Choose File > Save to save the changes you’ve made to the document, and close the Preflight and Links panels.

    Image Note

    If any links remain modified at this point, open the Links panel menu and choose Update All Links.

Previewing separations

If your documents need to be prepared for commercial printing, you can use the Separations Preview panel to check whether the colors are set up properly for the particular printing process that will be used for this document. For example, will the document be printed with process CMYK inks, with spot-color inks, or with a combination of those? The answer determines what you need to check for and fix. You’ll try out this feature now.

  1. Navigate to page 1 and choose Window > Output > Separations Preview. Or click the Separations Preview icon () in the panel dock to open the panel.

  1. Choose Separations from the View menu in the Separations Preview panel. Adjust your view so that you can see the page, and adjust the panel’s height so that all the listed colors are visible. If necessary, choose View > Fit Page In Window.

    Image Tip

    If you choose Ink Limit from the View menu in the Separations Preview panel, InDesign displays in red any areas that exceed the specified maximum ink percentage. (The default Ink Limit value is 300%.)

  2. Click the eye icon () next to CMYK to hide all page elements that use CMYK colors. The elements that are still visible are elements that use something other than CMYK color. In this case, spot colors (PANTONE) are applied.

  3. Next, notice that the two PANTONE colors used in the layout share the same number (136). These are the same ink. The difference represents what this ink looks like when printed on different kinds of paper: Coated (C) and Uncoated (U). In the vast majority of projects printed with spot color inks, there is only one plate for each ink. So if this file were to print using PANTONE 136, you would need to make sure that only one 136 printing plate (separation) would be produced. This means there must be only one instance of this color in the file. You’ll correct this problem later using the Ink Manager.

    Image Tip

    Sometimes special effects are achieved in printing with spot color inks by printing the same ink twice. This is called a second hit and must be set up in the file like an additional color.

  4. Click the eye icon next to PANTONE 136 C. The masthead title disappears. This means that the title is using the ink you turned off. Click the eye icon again to turn this ink back on.

  1. Click the eye icon next to PANTONE 136 U. Now the text on the right disappears, which means it’s using this other version of the same ink. If this project is indeed printing with CMYK plus PANTONE 136, you need to correct the file so that both of these items print on the same 136 plate. Click the eye icon again to turn this ink back on.

    Image Tip

    Because the printing process works by laying each ink down exactly on top of each other, you want to avoid using multiple inks on very small objects such as body text. This is because if there is the slightest variance in the inks being positioned exactly on top of each other (mis-registration), the text will look blurry. When small objects like text use only one ink, this problem is avoided.

  2. Click the eye icon next to CMYK to show all colors again, and navigate to page 2. Click the eye icon next to Black to turn it off. Notice that the headline disappears but that some of the body text is still visible. This means the body text will print on several plates when the intention in this design is for the text to be black only.

  3. To investigate why this is and fix it, turn Black back on. Slide the page to the left so that you can see part of the body text from page 3. The text on both pages is supposed to be the same, but something is wrong. Open the Paragraph Styles panel (Window > Styles > Paragraph Styles) and click in the body text on page 3. The style Body Copy No Indent is highlighted. Now click in the body copy on page 2. The [Basic Paragraph] paragraph style is highlighted. Somewhere in the creative process, this text was formatted without using the paragraph style.

    Select some text at the end of the first paragraph and drag-select through the beginning of the third paragraph. Click the Body Copy No Indent paragraph style to apply it to all paragraphs.

  4. Press the Esc key to exit the Text tool. Turn off Black again in the Separations Preview panel. Now all of the text that you expect to be black disappears. This is because the character color is part of the paragraph style and that color is 100% Black. You can see how using paragraph styles can prevent many errors, including text in the wrong color.

  5. Choose Off from the View menu in the Separations Preview panel to enable viewing of all colors, and then close the panel. Then close the Paragraph Styles panel.

  6. Choose File > Save.

Managing colors

One of the best practices when making sure a file is ready for commercial printing is to ensure that the colors used—and only those colors—appear in the Swatches panel. This is one of the first checks a service provider will do when they receive your files.

Image Tip

Notice the color called TRUMATCH 38-b. TRUMATCH is a library of color swatches built into InDesign that is specific to the CMYK printing process.

  1. Choose Window > Color > Swatches to open the Swatches panel. Notice that several versions of the yellow color are used in the file, including an RGB version. This commonly happens in the creative process, but the intention is to use the same yellow throughout, so this must be fixed in production. To quickly find all unused swatches, choose Select All Unused from the Swatches panel menu. Choose Delete Swatch from the panel menu to remove the unused swatches.

  2. Next we want to find out whether any additional colors are in the file that were not saved as swatches. Choose Add Unnamed Colors from the Swatches panel menu. Three colors appear that were not there before. (This happens when you create colors in the Color panel and use them in the file but don’t take the step of adding them to the Swatches panel.) The important thing is whether these colors are using inks that will or will not work with this file’s printing process. These are CMYK colors, so they are not a problem.


Using the Ink Manager

The Ink Manager provides control over the inks used at output time. Changes you make using the Ink Manager affect the output but not how the colors are defined in the document.

The Ink Manager options are especially useful to control how inks will print without having to go back and change imported graphics. For example, if a publication will be printed with CMYK process inks but it uses a spot color, the Ink Manager provides the option of changing the spot color to the equivalent CMYK process color. If a document contains two similar spot colors when only one is required, or if the same spot color has two different names, the Ink Manager lets you map the variations to a single spot color. This is called an ink alias.

Next, you’ll learn how to use the Ink Manager to convert a spot color to a CMYK color, and you’ll create an ink alias so that the desired number of separations is created when the document is color separated to create printing plates.

Image Note

You can also open the Ink Manager by choosing Ink Manager from the Separations Preview panel menu (Window > Output > Separations Preview).

  1. Open the Swatches panel again if necessary, and then choose Ink Manager from the Swatches panel menu.

  2. In the Ink Manager dialog box, click the spot icon () to the left of the PANTONE 136 C color swatch. It changes to a CMYK icon (). The color will now print as a combination of CMYK colors instead of printing on a separate color plate. Click OK to close the Ink Manager.

  3. Now open the Separations Preview again, select Separations from the View menu, and you see that PANTONE 136 C is no longer there. PANTONE 136 U still shows as a separate ink. We’ll deal with that next.


    The All Spots To Process option at the bottom of the Ink Manager dialog box lets you convert all spot colors to process colors. This is a good solution if you want to limit the printing to the CMYK process without having to change the spot colors in the source files of the imported graphics. However, if the spot color graphics use transparency, the results from Ink Manager are not reliable. In those cases, you must open the graphic and change the spot colors to process in the original application. In fact, Adobe Illustrator displays a warning when you save a file that contains both transparency effects and spot colors.

    Image Tip

    If the file will in fact print with spot color inks, you can use transparency effects without a problem, as long as you are careful that the effect uses the same inks as the rest of the file.


    In many workflows, you’ll have both CMYK and spot versions of the same art so that you can link to the one that is correct for the printing process of each particular document. If the project is printing in CMYK, and spot colors and transparency effects are used in imported graphics, you can’t convert to CMYK in InDesign because there will be errors such as white boxes where the effect is supposed to be. That is one of the “unexpected results” referred to in the warning. In this case, you must use a CMYK version of the imported graphic.

  4. Now we’ll combine the two versions of the same spot color so that only one spot ink plate will be produced. This is what you would do if the file were printing with CMYK plus PANTONE 136. Open the Ink Manager again and click the CMYK icon () to the left of the PANTONE 136 C color swatch to change it back to a spot ink. Then click PANTONE 136 U. Click the Ink Alias drop-down menu and choose PANTONE 136 C. This remaps all 136 U objects to print on the same plate as 136 C. Click OK.

  5. Navigate to Page 1, and in the Separations Preview panel, turn off PANTONE 136 C. Now both the masthead title graphic and text on the right look white because their ink is turned off, meaning they will both print on the same plate.

  6. In the Separations Preview panel, change the view to Off and choose File > Save.

Previewing transparency effects

In the past, documents that contain objects to which transparency effects had been applied, such as drop shadows, opacity, and blending modes, needed to undergo a process called flattening when they were printed or exported. Flattening divides transparent artwork into vector-based areas and rasterized areas, which are further divided into squares called “tiles.” Even if you use the High Resolution setting when flattening, rasterized areas will be a much lower resolution than the image processor at a commercial printer, and the effect won’t look as good when printed compared to not flattening. The flattening strategy was needed before image processors at commercial printers could process transparency.

Modern image processors can process transparency without flattening, leaving the transparency live. You will get the best results by not flattening at any point in the production process. The Flattener Preview panel in InDesign can help you see which objects in the file are using transparency effects so that you can make sure you’ve used them intentionally and not by accident, and so that you can quickly find objects with transparency and check the settings.

Some of the objects in this magazine use transparency effects. Next, you’ll use the Flattener Preview panel to determine the objects to which transparency effects have been applied and the areas on the page that are affected by transparency.

  1. Navigate to page 1 (if necessary) and choose View > Fit Spread In Window.

  2. Choose Window > Output > Flattener Preview, or click the Flattener Preview icon () in the panel dock, and then position the Flattener Preview panel so that you can see the entire page.

  3. In the Flattener Preview panel, choose Transparent Objects from the Highlight menu and click the Refresh button. The entire page is displayed with a dimmed grayscale preview, except for the areas with transparency effects.

    Image Tip

    Transparency can be applied in Adobe Photoshop, in Adobe Illustrator, or directly in an InDesign layout. The Flattener Preview panel identifies transparent objects, regardless of whether the transparency was created using InDesign or in an imported graphic.

  4. If it’s not already selected, choose [High Resolution] from the Preset menu.

    Notice how the masthead at the top of the page is displayed with a red highlight. This object has a transparency effect, such as a blending mode, opacity, drop shadow, or any of nine additional special effects applied (in this case, a drop shadow). You can use this highlight to help identify areas of your layout using transparency so that you can check the transparency settings of each object and find objects that may be using transparency unintentionally.

  5. Scroll or click through to the next spread. Now nothing is highlighted in red, and the spread looks the same as when the Flattener preview is off. That’s because there are no objects with transparency on this spread.

  6. Choose None from the Highlight menu to disable the Flattener preview, and then close the panel.

Previewing the pages

Now that you’ve previewed the color separations and areas of transparency in the layout, you’ll preview the page to get an idea of how the magazine will look when printed.

  1. At the bottom of the Tools panel, press and hold the Screen Mode icon () and then choose Preview from the menu. The guides, frame edges, invisible characters, pasteboard, and other nonprinting items are hidden. This is the best onscreen view of how the document will look when it is printed and trimmed.

  2. Press and hold down the Screen Mode icon again, and then choose Bleed. Additional space outside the perimeter of the final document trim size is displayed. This view is used to confirm that objects that need to bleed do indeed extend beyond the edge of the document. After the job is printed, this excess area is trimmed to the final printed size.

    Image Note

    For more information about bleed, review the section about printing to the edge of the paper in Lesson 3, “Setting Up a Document and Working With Pages.”

  3. Scroll through the entire document and look over everything before printing or exporting. In Bleed mode, you can see whether items at the edge are extended far enough into the pasteboard, in addition to looking at everything else you can see in Preview mode. Confirm once again that the Preflight status shows No Errors ().

  4. Choose Normal from the Screen Mode menu and then choose File > Save.

After confirming that the file looks acceptable, you are ready to print it.

Creating an Adobe PDF proof

If your documents need to be reviewed by others, you can easily create Adobe PDF (Portable Document Format) files to transfer and share. Those with whom you share the PDF can review the project without having InDesign and all of the fonts and links. PDFs can be compressed to a smaller size; all fonts and graphic links are self-contained in a single composite file, and files are displayed onscreen and print the same whether opened in Windows or in macOS. InDesign exports directly to Adobe PDF.

Exporting your publication as an Adobe PDF document also has many advantages for commercial printing. You can create a compact, reliable file that contains all the elements in the InDesign file, including high-resolution graphics and all the fonts, so that you or your service provider can work with the file and get the same high-quality results they would from working directly with the InDesign file, and you don’t have to send all the fonts and links. A properly exported PDF from InDesign is ready for your service provider to use with the tools for commercial printing such as preflight checks, trapping, imposition, and color separation.

These two purposes for using a PDF have different requirements. You can use presets to save settings that are appropriate for various purposes so that you don’t have to select multiple choices in the Export dialog box each time you export. In other words, presets allow you to set up requirements for different purposes and then use them reliably every time. You can also share presets with colleagues to ensure that all PDFs are exported with the same settings by everyone.

You will now create an Adobe PDF file suitable for review and proofing purposes using one of the built-in presets.

  1. Choose File > Export.

  2. Choose Adobe PDF (Print) from the Save As Type (Windows) or Format (macOS) menu. For the filename, type 13_Proof.pdf. If necessary, navigate to the Lesson13 folder, and then click Save. The Export Adobe PDF dialog box opens.

    Image Tip

    The presets available in the Adobe PDF Preset menu are used for creating a range of Adobe PDF files, from small files suitable for onscreen viewing to press-ready files suitable for high-resolution output.

  3. In the Adobe PDF Preset menu, choose [High Quality Print]. This setting creates PDF files suitable for output on desktop printers and for onscreen proofing without creating a file that is too large to easily share or whose resolution is too low for a reviewer to evaluate any raster graphics.

    Select View PDF After Exporting. This will open the PDF file in Adobe Acrobat as soon as it’s finished exporting, which saves you the step of switching to Acrobat and opening the file. Leave the default choices for the remaining settings.


    Image Note

    Adobe PDF (Print) export in InDesign is performed in the background, which enables you to continue working while an Adobe PDF is being created. If you try to close your document before the background process is completed, InDesign will display a warning message.

  4. Click Export. An Adobe PDF file is generated and displays on your monitor in Adobe Acrobat Pro DC or Adobe Acrobat Reader DC.

    Image Tip

    You can view the PDF export progress by opening the Background Tasks panel (Window > Utilities > Background Tasks).

  5. Review the Adobe PDF. This type of PDF is appropriate to share with colleagues or customers for review purposes or to print to an office printer for review on paper.

    Image Note

    If you do not see the tip about the PDF Comments feature, just read steps 6 and 7 and then save your file.

  6. Return to InDesign. A tip about PDF Comments may have opened on your screen. This feature is part of the review process that enables you to work with Acrobat-created comments directly in InDesign, rather than working back and forth between InDesign and Acrobat. We will not be using this feature in this lesson, but the figure that follows shows what the process looks like.


    The PDF Comments panel enables you to import the comments from a PDF created in InDesign 2019 or later. As you click each comment, InDesign navigates to that object in the file.

  7. Close the tip and the PDF Comments panel and choose File > Save.

    Image Tip

    To learn more about using PDF comments in InDesign, start at the online help here: https://helpx.adobe.com/indesign/using/import-pdf-comments.html.

Creating a press-ready PDF and saving a PDF preset

InDesign files are submitted to commercial printers either as native files (which you’ll learn about later in this lesson) or as press-ready PDFs. Press-ready PDFs are high resolution and include the bleed area. In this exercise, you will learn about creating an Adobe PDF file suitable for commercial printing.

InDesign includes a PDF export preset called [Press Quality] that has most of the necessary settings already defined. However, it does not work for documents that include any objects that bleed. You will start with that preset and modify it so that you have a press-ready preset that includes the bleed.

Image Note

You can also choose Use Document Bleed Settings, but by setting a bleed amount in the preset, even documents without a bleed amount set in Document Setup will export with the specified bleed area.

  1. Choose File > Adobe PDF Presets > Define. The Adobe PDF Presets dialog box opens. Scroll down to [Press Quality], select it, and click New. This enables you to create a new preset based on the options already set up in the default Press Quality preset.

  2. In Preset Name, type Press Quality With Bleed.

  3. Click Marks And Bleeds on the left and make the following changes: Under Marks, select Crop Marks. In Offset, type .125. In the Bleed And Slug area, for Bleed enter .125 in the Top box, and make sure the Same Settings icon () is turned on to set the same bleed settings on all sides.

  4. Click OK and then Done. This preset will now be available whenever you export to PDF.

  5. Choose File > Adobe PDF Presets > Press Quality With Bleed. This is a faster way to use PDF presets rather than choosing File > Export. Name the file 13_Press_HighRes.pdf then click Save. The Export dialog box opens. Make sure that View PDF After Exporting is selected, and then click Export.

    When the PDF opens in Acrobat, notice how the cover photo extends past the crop marks. The crop marks indicate where the blade will cut through the paper to trim the magazine to the final size. In this case, it will cut through the printed image and produce a clean edge with no unprinted paper showing.


The most important required characteristics of a PDF for commercial printing are:

  • High-resolution raster graphics

  • Bleed included

  • PDF compatibility of at least Acrobat 5 so that transparency effects are not flattened

The preset you have made does all of these things. However, you may want to edit it. For example, you may want to increase the version of Acrobat compatibility because you know that everyone in your production workflow is up to date and there is no reason to be compatible back to Acrobat 5.

To check whether a PDF will have live transparency or will be flattened, examine the different options available when compatibility with Acrobat 4 is selected compared to later versions of Acrobat.

  1. Switch back to InDesign and choose File > Adobe PDF Presets > Define. The Adobe PDF Presets dialog box opens. Scroll down to Press Quality With Bleed and choose Edit.

  2. Click the Advanced category on the left. Notice that the Transparency Flattener settings are dimmed and not available. This means the transparency will not be flattened. Now change the Compatibility setting to Acrobat 4. The Transparency Flattener settings are now available because exporting to Acrobat 4 means exporting to a file format that can’t process transparency effects, and therefore you must compensate for that by flattening these effects. Click Cancel and then Done to exit the Adobe PDF Presets > Define dialog box.

    Image Tip

    If you need to create a flattened press-ready PDF, use the [High Resolution] Transparency Flattener preset in the Advanced panel of the Export Adobe PDF dialog box.


Sharing a preset

  1. Choose File > Adobe PDF Presets > Define. The Adobe PDF Presets dialog box opens. Scroll down to Press Quality With Bleed. Click this name and then choose Save As.

  2. Choose a name for your preset and navigate to a location on your hard drive where you wish to save it. Click Save. You can now share this file with others.

  3. To import a preset, you use the Load button in the Adobe PDF Presets dialog box. Choose Load in the Adobe PDF Presets dialog box and navigate to the Lesson13 folder on your hard drive. Select Proof-Facing-Pages.joboptions and then click Open. Click Done to exit the Adobe PDF Presets dialog box. The preset is now available.

    This preset creates a high-quality proof that will display in Acrobat with the left and right pages of a spread next to each other on the screen.

  4. Choose File > Adobe PDF Presets > Proof Facing Pages and export the file again, naming it as you wish. In Acrobat, scroll or click through the file to the first spread after the cover to see it displayed as a spread rather than single pages. Controlling the view this way ensures that the reviewer will see the document in the closest parallel to paging through the printed magazine.

Printing a proof and saving a print preset

InDesign makes it easy to print documents to a variety of output devices. In this section, you’ll create a print preset to save settings—and save time in the future—without having to individually set each option for the same device each time. The process is similar to saving a PDF preset. You will use this preset for proofing on your office printer, assuming the printer has only Letter or A4 paper.

Image Note

If you do not have access to a printer, you can choose PostScript File from the Printer menu. If you do, you can choose an Adobe PDF PPD (if available) and complete all of the steps in the remainder of the lesson. If no other PPDs are available, you can choose the Device Independent PPD; however, some of the controls covered in the remainder of the lesson are not available if you choose Device Independent.

  1. Choose File > Print.

  2. From the Printer menu in the Print dialog box, choose your inkjet or laser printer.

    The options you see throughout this exercise will be different depending on the device selected. Follow the steps with your printer’s options as best as you can.

  3. From the left side of the Print dialog box, select the Setup category, and then choose the following options:

    • Paper Size: US Letter (or A4)

    • Orientation: Portrait

    • Scale To Fit

  4. From the same list on the left side of the Print dialog box, click the Marks And Bleed category, and then choose these options:

    • Crop Marks

    • In the Offset box, enter .125.

    • Page Information

    • In the Bleed And Slug area, for Bleed enter .125 in the Top box and click the Same Settings icon () to set the same bleed settings on all sides.

    Image Note

    You may have to deselect Use Document Bleed Settings before entering a value in the Top box.


    Notice the preview in the lower left of the dialog box. This diagrams the options you’ve turned on and how the document will fit on the paper.

    The crop marks print outside of the page area and provide guides showing where the final document is trimmed after printing, just as we saw in the press-ready PDF. The page information automatically adds the document name and the page number, along with the date and time it was printed, to the bottom of the printout. Since the document itself is already letter size, and the crop marks and page information are printed outside the page edges, you must select Scale To Fit in order to fit the page, bleed, and marks onto a Letter or A4 piece of paper.

    Selecting Use Document Bleed Settings causes InDesign to print objects that extend outside the edge of the page area if that value is specified in the Document Setup dialog box. If you didn’t specify a bleed value there, you must enter bleed values here.

  5. On the left side of the Print dialog box, click the Output category. Choose Composite RGB or Composite CMYK from the Color menu. (If you are printing to a black-and-white printer, choose Composite Gray.)

    Image Tip

    If your document contains transparency that is flattened during the printing process, select Simulate Overprint in the Output section of the Print dialog box when printing for the best printed result.

    Choosing Composite CMYK causes any RGB colors, including those in RGB graphics, to be converted to CMYK at the time of printing. This setting changes neither the original, placed graphic files nor any colors applied to objects. Which setting you should choose depends on your device.

  6. On the left side of the Print dialog box, click the Graphics category. Choose Optimized Subsampling from the Send Data menu.

    When Optimized Subsampling is selected, InDesign sends only the image data necessary for the printer selected in the Print dialog box. This can reduce the time it takes to send the file to print. To send the complete high-resolution graphic information to the printer, which may take longer to print, select All from the Send Data menu.

    Image Note

    The Optimized Subsampling option cannot be selected if you are using the Device Independent PPD, because this generic driver can’t determine what information a selected printer may need later.

  7. Choose Subset from the Fonts Download menu. This causes only the fonts and characters that are actually used in the document to be sent to the output device and can reduce the time it takes to print single-page documents and short documents without much text. This option may be dimmed with your device.

  8. Leave the settings in the Color Management and Advanced categories at their defaults for this lesson.

    Image Tip

    To quickly print using a preset, choose File > Print Presets and select the desired preset. Holding down the Shift key while doing this will print using the settings in the selected preset without opening the Print dialog box.

  9. Click Save Preset at the bottom of the Print dialog box, name the preset Proof Fit To Page in the Save Preset dialog box, and click OK. InDesign returns to the Print dialog box with your settings in place. Next time you want to print with these settings, you now can do that in one step by choosing the preset you just made.

  10. Click Print to print the file or click Cancel.

Creating a print preset saves Print dialog box settings so that you don’t need to individually set every option each time you print with the same requirements to the same device. You can create multiple presets to meet various quality capabilities of individual devices and to meet your various project needs. When you want to use these settings in the future, you can choose them from the Print Preset menu at the top of the Print dialog box. You can also share print presets with colleagues.

Print Booklet

A very useful way to proof documents that will be stitched into a booklet is to use the Print Booklet feature. This feature enables you to make a proof on paper that will be constructed similarly to the commercially printed booklet. When you print a document this way, you can fold the stack of pages in half, staple them on the fold (spine), and page through the proof to review it.

  1. Choose File > Print Booklet to open the Print Booklet dialog box.

  2. Click the Print Settings button at the bottom of the dialog box. In the Print dialog box, select the Setup category and change Orientation to Landscape (Horizontal). Click OK. InDesign returns to the Print Booklet dialog box.

  3. Leave Booklet Type set to 2-up Saddle Stitch, and then click Preview on the left side of the dialog box. Notice how the last page is next to the cover. This is called a printer’s spread—in this case, the outside covers.


    Printer’s spread of the outside covers from the lesson file.

  4. Click Cancel (or print the document if you choose). Open the file named 13_SixteenPager.indd. Choose File > Print Booklet and follow steps 2 and 3. Click through the spreads using the arrows and slider at the bottom of the preview window. This file has large page numbers so that you can easily see how the pages fit together in printer spreads. Click Cancel (or print the document if you choose), and then close the 13_SixteenPager.indd file.


Packaging files

The Package feature assembles a copy of your InDesign document and all linked items, including graphics, into a single folder. InDesign also copies the fonts needed for printing when you package a document. Packaging ensures that all project components required for output are provided. InDesign packaged projects and press-ready PDFs are the two industry-standard ways of providing an InDesign project to a commercial printer.

Packaging is also used to share the project with others and to archive finished projects in a way that gathers all components together.

Now you’ll package the files for the magazine in preparation for sending them to your print provider.

Image Note

Adobe Fonts available as part of your Creative Cloud membership are not included when you use the Package command.

  1. Choose File > Package. The Summary section of the Package dialog box notifies you of one more printing-related issue.

    Because the document contains RGB images, InDesign alerts you to their presence. This alert is standard because some printers want you to convert all images to CMYK before submitting the file. But others want to do the conversion from RGB to CMYK using standards for their presses, so read this alert but don’t change anything. A best practice is to talk to your print provider and ask what they prefer.

  2. Leave Create Printing Instructions unselected.

    InDesign can create a text file of instructions and your contact information that will accompany the InDesign file, links, and fonts in the package folder. The recipient of the package can use the instructions file to better understand what you want done and how to contact you if there are questions.

  3. Click Package. If asked to save the document, click Save.

  4. In the Create Package Folder dialog box, browse to locate the Lesson13 folder. Notice that the folder that will be created for the package is named 13_Press Folder. InDesign automatically names the folder based on the document name, which you assigned at the beginning of this lesson. You can change this name if you wish.

  5. Confirm that the following options are selected:

    • Copy Fonts (Except Activated From Adobe Fonts And Non-Adobe CJK Fonts)

    • Copy Linked Graphics

    • Update Graphic Links In Package (relinks the packaged InDesign file to the links in the packaged Links folder)

      Image Tip

      IDML stands for InDesign Markup Language. IDML files can be opened in an earlier version of InDesign.

    • Include IDML (so that others can open the file in a previous version of InDesign if necessary)

    • Include PDF(Print) (so that you can’t forget to send a PDF proof along with the native files)

  6. Choose [High Quality Print] for the Select PDF Preset.

    Image Tip

    When Copy Fonts (Except Activated From Adobe Fonts And Non-Adobe CJK Fonts) is selected in the Create Package Folder dialog box, InDesign generates a folder called Document fonts in the package folder. If you open an InDesign file located in the same folder with the Document fonts folder, InDesign will activate these fonts for you and make them available, but only for that document.

  7. Click Package.

  8. Read the warning message that informs you about the licensing restrictions that may affect your ability to include the fonts when you send the file, and then click OK.

  9. Switch to Explorer (Windows) or the Finder (macOS), and then navigate to the 13_Press Folder in the Lesson13 folder (located inside the Lessons folder within the InDesignCIB folder on your hard drive). Open the folder.

    Notice that InDesign created a duplicate of the InDesign document, the .IDML file, and the PDF of your document. It also copied all fonts into a Document Fonts folder and all graphics and other linked files necessary for high-resolution printing into a Links folder. Because you selected Update Graphic Links In Package, the duplicate InDesign file now links to the copied graphic files located in the package folder instead of to the original linked files on your hard drive or server. This makes the document easier for a printer or service provider to manage and also makes the packaged folder ideal for archiving and sharing.

  10. Review the PDF created by the packaging process to check that all text and graphics are correct. When you have finished viewing its contents, close the 13_Press Folder and return to InDesign. Typically, this folder is zipped and uploaded to the service provider, with the included PDF serving as the proof for them to check their work.

Exporting graphics for the web and other digital destinations

You can export graphics from InDesign into files that can be used by a web developer or for other digital purposes. The advantage of doing this is that the developer does not have to spend time re-creating your work, and you’ll know that objects you’ve spent a lot of time and care creating in InDesign will be correctly represented on a web page, mobile device, or email graphic.

You’ll want to talk to the developer who’ll be working with your files and ask what specifications they prefer, such as for resolution. For example, the old 72 dpi standard for the web may not apply to projects that are intended for display on modern tablets that have a much higher screen resolution.

You’ll try a couple of examples using general settings for this exercise.

  1. Navigate to page 5. There are two graphics that were created with InDesign objects and type. The red one includes InDesign effects.

  2. Select the yellow graphic. Choose File > Export, and from the Save As Type (Windows) or Format (macOS) menu, choose PNG. This format is better for graphics with clean edges such as these circles and type. Use JPEG for photographic objects. Name the file Tomatoes-Peas-Carrots-Yellow.png and save it to the Lesson13 folder.

  3. In the Export section, choose Selection, and in the Image section, choose:

    • Quality: Maximum

    • Resolution (ppi): 150

    • Color Space: RGB

    In the Options section, choose:

    • Transparent Background (because this object has an inner circle cutout)

    • Anti-alias (creates smoother edges)

    • Simulate Overprint (to preserve the look of effects)

    Then click Export.

  4. Switch to the desktop and locate the file you just exported. Drag it over the icon of a web browser to view it. If you have Photoshop, you can open it there as well.

  5. Switch back to InDesign and select the red circle graphic. Repeat steps 2–4, naming this file Tomatoes-Peas-Carrots-Red.png. When you view this file in a web browser or Photoshop, notice that the appearance of the applied effects is preserved, including the transparency in the middle of the circle.


Another method is to export multiple objects at once. To do this, you’ll use a couple of features that you may not have used before. One is the Export To HTML feature, but for the purpose of exporting graphics, you don’t have know anything about HTML coding. We’ll use the feature just to get the images it generates. The second is the Articles panel, which is a way to organize elements in InDesign files that are intended for digital output such as EPUB or web pages.

  1. Navigate to page 4 by holding down the spacebar and clicking. The hand icon () appears. Keep the spacebar pressed and drag until you can see the images on page 4. These are some of the final images from Lesson 10.

  2. With the Selection tool (), drag-select all four images.

  3. Choose Window > Articles. The Articles panel opens. It’s empty except for some instructional text.

  4. Drag the selected images over the Articles panel window. A gripping hand with a + sign appears. Release the mouse button. A dialog box appears allowing you to name this article; type Flowers and click OK. The Articles panel shows the name of the article and the four images you just added.

  5. Choose File > Export, and from the Save As Type (Windows) or Format (macOS) menu, choose HTML. Name the file Flowers-for-web. Navigate to the Lesson13 folder and click Save.

  6. The HTML Export Options dialog box opens. In the first panel, General, choose Same As Articles Panel in the Content Order section.

  7. Choose Image from the list at the left. Make sure that Copy Images is set to Optimized (the default). Click Preserve Appearance From Layout (For Graphic/Media Objects). This is what will keep the cropping, sizing, and positioning within the frame of the images, as well as any InDesign effects that may have been applied. For Resolution, choose 150 and for Image Conversion, choose PNG. The PNG file format will preserve transparency and objects that are not rectangles will export with a transparent background. You’ll see this with the circular picture frame in this example.

  8. Click OK. The images will open in your default web browser. This is part of the default setting for exporting to HTML. We don’t need this part of the export. Close this browser window, switch to your desktop, and open the Lesson13 folder. There will be a new folder called Flowers-for-web-web-resources and a file called Flowers-For-Web.html.

  9. Open the Flowers-for-web-web-resources folder and the image folder inside. The four images you added to the Articles panel are there, converted to PNG, and other web-required characteristics such as RGB color. These files are ready to use in a digital format. You can throw away the other files generated by the HTML export.

  10. If you have Photoshop, open the images to examine the results. Notice that the images look exactly the same as in InDesign (cropping, size, and position within the frame) and that the round picture frame is transparent outside the circle.


You can also export whole pages for a developer to use as a mock-up.

  1. Choose File > Export, and from the Save As Type (Windows) or Format (macOS) menu, choose PNG. Name the file Summer-Issue-Mockup.png, then click Save. This time in the Export section choose Range and type 1-3, then click Export.

  2. Switch to the desktop and open the folder where you saved this file. There will be three files, one for each page. You can view them in a browser or Photoshop.

Congratulations! You’ve completed this lesson.

Exploring on your own

  • Create new print presets by choosing File > Print Presets > Define. Define presets to use for oversized formats or for printing to various color or black-and-white output devices you may use. For example, if you have a printer that uses tabloid paper, create a preset that allows you to print letter-size pages at full size with a specified bleed amount. Or create a preset for a small format, such as a postcard, that will fit on letter size paper at 100%.

  • Practice using the Press Quality With Bleed preset you saved with other documents, such as those from other lessons in this book or your own files.

  • Practice using the Package feature with other documents, such as those from other lessons in this book or your own files. Examine the contents of the resulting folder to become familiar with what is needed when sending your file to a service provider such as a commercial printer.

  • Learn how to open imported graphics that need to be fixed for printing. Click a graphic from the Links panel. Choose Edit With from the Links panel menu. Choose Photoshop to open raster images and Illustrator to open vector graphics. Make changes to the imported art, then save and close the file. Go back to InDesign and notice how the links have updated.

  • Open 12_End.indd, the final file from Lesson 12. This is a complex design that would be time-consuming for a web developer to re-create. Export page 1 as a PNG using the settings from the last exercise. It can now be used to promote the restaurant via a digital medium.

Review questions

1. What problems does InDesign look for when using the [Basic] (Working) profile in the Preflight panel?

2. What elements does InDesign gather when it packages a file?

3. What are the three most important characteristics of a press-ready PDF file?

4. What functions does the Ink Manager provide?

5. What are the two industry-standard ways of preparing final files to send to a service provider such as a commercial printer?

Review answers

1. By default, the [Basic] (Working) profile in the Preflight panel confirms that all fonts used in the document or inside placed graphics are available. It also looks for linked graphic files and linked text files to confirm that they have not been modified since they were initially imported, and it warns you of missing graphic files, unresolved caption variables, inaccessible URL links, missing fonts, and overset text frames.

2. InDesign gathers a copy of the InDesign document along with copies of all the fonts and graphics used in the original document. The original files remain untouched. If you select Include IDML, InDesign creates an IDML version of the document that can be opened in previous versions of InDesign. If you select Include PDF(Print), InDesign creates an Adobe PDF (Print) version of the document. If you choose to include a PDF, you can also choose a PDF preset.

3. The three most important characteristics are ensuring high resolution for raster graphics, including the bleed, and using a later version of Acrobat (version 5 or newer) as the file format so that transparency effects remain live and are not flattened.

4. The Ink Manager provides control over inks at output time, including the ability to convert spot colors to process colors and to map individual ink colors to different colors, without changing the colors in InDesign or in imported graphics.

5. The two standard methods are using a press-ready PDF with bleed and using the InDesign Package feature to create a folder with all components needed to work with the file (InDesign file, fonts, and linked graphics).

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