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Exporting PDF in Adobe InDesign CS3

Contents

  1. Exporting PDF

Article Description

InDesign can export PDFs for just about any purpose, onscreen or on-press. It all depends on how you set up the export options. Olav Martin Kvern and David Blatner show you how to do it.

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Exporting PDF

InDesign can export Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format files (what normal people call “PDF”), which can be used for remote printing, electronic distribution, or as a graphic you can place in InDesign or other programs. InDesign’s PDF files can even include “rich” media, such as buttons, movies, and sounds. InDesign doesn’t need to use the Acrobat Distiller (or the Distiller Assistant) to create PDF files.

Note, however, that Distiller usually makes more compact PDF files than exporting directly from InDesign, which may be important if your PDF files are destined for the Web. If you want to use Distiller to make PDF files instead of creating them directly using the Export feature, you must use the Print dialog box to write PostScript to disk first (we discuss how to do that in Chapter 11, “Printing”).

While PDF is great for putting publications on the World Wide Web, or for creating other sorts of online publications, most of us ink-on-paper types care more about making PDF files suitable for print. Fortunately, InDesign can export PDFs for just about any purpose, onscreen or on-press. It all depends on how you set up the export options.

When you export a PDF (by selecting Export from the File menu and choosing Adobe PDF from the Type pop-up menu), InDesign displays the Export PDF dialog box. This dialog box contains seven panes for setting PDF export options: General, Compression, Marks and Bleeds, Output, Advanced, Security, and Summary. Remember that in all paned dialog boxes like this one, you can jump to the second pane by pressing Command-2/Ctrl-2, the third pane with Command-3/Ctrl-3, and so on.

Above all these panes sits the Adobe PDF Preset pop-up menu, which lets you select an export preset (each of which is a collection of various export options). You may be familiar with these styles, as they’re basically identical to those found in Illustrator and Distiller. We discuss creating your own in “Defining a PDF Export Preset,” later in this chapter.

General

The General pane of the Export PDF dialog box (see Figure 7-24) is a hodge-podge of options, controlling everything from what pages get exported to whether InDesign should launch Acrobat after saving the file.

Standard (PDF/X)

InDesign fully supports several important international ISO standards, including PDF/X-1a and PDF/X-3. You can select either of these from the Standard pop-up menu or the Preset menu. However, if you’re going to use PDF/X, we strongly recommend you choose from the Preset menu instead of the Standard menu—otherwise, it’s easy to make a PDF/X file that, while technically valid, will make the recipient of the file unhappy.

The PDF/X-1a preset is for a straight CMYK-only (or CMYK plus spot color) workflow, and is relatively popular in the United States. PDF/X-3 is used in color managed workflows, especially in Europe, because they can include RGB and Lab color data, too.

PDF/X-4 is similar to PDF/X-3, but with an important twist: While PDF/X-3 is based on the Acrobat 4 format, PDF/X-4 is based on Acrobat 5. As we point out below, Acrobat 5 (PDF 1.4) supports transparency, so it doesn’t require flattening. That’s why PDF/X-4 is the preferred format when printing to a printer with a PDF RIP (as opposed to a simple PostScript RIP), such as one with the Adobe PDF Print Engine.

Both of these standards aren’t some weird, proprietary flavor of PDF; they’re just regular PDF files that specify the sorts of things that can be included. For example, you can’t put a button or movie or even an RGB image in a PDF/X-1a file, and all fonts must be embedded. Note that you can make a PDF/X compliant PDF file without choosing from the Standard or Preset pop-up menus; these just make it easier.

Compatibility

Who is your audience for this PDF file? Acrobat 7 has been out for over a year now, so we usually assume that most professionals have it but many of the general public may only have Acrobat 5 (or at least the free Acrobat 5 Reader). On the other hand, if there’s any chance your recipient only has Acrobat 4, you’ll need to choose Acrobat 4 from the Compatibility pop-up menu. Unfortunately, the PDF version numbering can be confusing: Version 1.3 is Acrobat 4, 1.4 is Acrobat 5, 1.5 is Acrobat 6, version 1.6 is Acrobat 7, and (finally) version 1.8 is Acrobat 8.

There’s another reason you want to pay attention here: If you have used any transparency effects in your document, the Compatibility pop-up menu controls who does the flattening. Choosing Acrobat 4 means you want InDesign to flatten the file (see “Transparency Flattener” later in this section, and “Printing Transparency” in Chapter 11, “Printing”). Acrobat 5, 6, and 7 can read the unflattened transparency effects. If we’re sending files to our printer or an imaging bureau that we trust knows about flattening, then we’d much rather send them Acrobat 6 or 7 PDF files.

Similarly, if you want your PDF to have interactive elements (like buttons and movies), there’s a good chance you’ll want to save this as an Acrobat 6 or 7 file. (See Chapter 13, “Interactive PDF,” for all the reasons why.)

Page Ranges

Which pages do you want to export? Just as in the General pane of the Print dialog box, you can export all document pages (click the All option) or specify individual page ranges (135-182) or noncontiguous pages (3, 7, 22) in the Range field. Note that unless you have Absolute Numbering selected in the General pane of the Preferences dialog box, you’ll need to type page ranges with their actual names. For instance, if you want to export the first four pages and you’re using roman numerals, you’ll have to type “i-iv”. If you’ve specified a page number prefix, like “A”, you’ll have to include that in the Range field, too.

Reader’s Spreads

When you turn on the Spreads option, InDesign exports each spread in the page range you’ve specified (see above) as a single page of the exported PDF. This is called “reader’s spreads” because the spread appears as it would to a reader flipping through a book or magazine. This does not create “printer spreads,” which you need to print a saddle-stitched booklet. You need a separate plug-in to do that. Personally, when we want to view a PDF in reader’s spreads, we don’t turn on this feature; we just turn on the Facing option in Acrobat’s View menu—the effect is basically the same.

Embed Page Thumbnails

Creates a preview image, or “thumbnail” of each page or spread (if you’re exporting reader’s spreads) you export. You can display thumbnails when you view the PDF using Acrobat or Acrobat Reader. They don’t do much for us, and they increase the size of the file.

Optimize for Fast Web View

The key word here is “Web.” The only time you’d want to turn this on is when you’re creating a document that will only be viewed on the Web. When this option is off, InDesign includes repeated objects (such as objects from master pages) as individual objects on each page of the PDF. When you choose Optimize PDF, InDesign exports a single instance of each repeated item for the entire PDF. When the item appears on a page in the PDF, InDesign includes a reference to the “master” item. This reduces the file size of the PDF without changing the appearance of the exported pages. When this option is on, InDesign also overrides the settings in the Compression pane with its own Web-appropriate settings, and restructures the file so that it can be downloaded one page at a time from a Web server rather than having to download the whole megillah.

Create Tagged PDF

Most people expect their PDF files to always appear just as they do in InDesign—each line of text ending in the same position on the page. But what if someone who is blind wants to read your document with a Braille reader? What if someone wants to see your PDF on their iPhone or other mobile device? In that case, it would be very helpful if the PDF included some “intelligence” or “accessibility” in the form of tags that—behind the scenes—declare this to be a paragraph that can reflow as necessary, that thing in the upper corner of the page to be a page number that doesn’t have to appear on a mobile device, and so on.

If you predict that your PDF file might show up in a non-traditional reader, turn on the Create Tagged PDF checkbox. Obviously, there is hardly ever a need for tags in documents that are simply being printed, but they don’t affect file size or export time much, so we often just leave this option turned on.

Note that inside the PDF these tags are actually written in XML, and any tags you’ve applied with the Tags panel (see Chapter 14, “XML”) will appear in the PDF, too. This offers some interesting side effects. For example, if you create a tag named “Artifact” in the Tags panel and then apply it to a text frame, Acrobat considers the object irrelevant and not part of the text flow when reading the PDF out loud or displaying it on some mobile devices. That’s perfect for text frames such as running heads and page numbers.

To be honest, in most cases, if you really want your documents to be accessible (especially to be “Section 508” compliant), you will likely need to do a lot more clean-up work on them in Acrobat Professional after exporting with tags.

View PDF after Exporting

When you turn this option on, InDesign opens the file in Acrobat after exporting the PDF.

Create Acrobat Layers

Acrobat 6 introduced the idea of hiding and showing layers within a PDF file. If you turn on the Create Acrobat Layers checkbox, all your InDesign document’s layers (even hidden layers) are converted into Acrobat layers and can be controlled from within Acrobat. In a stroke of brilliance, even the page marks (like crop and registration marks) are put on their own layer. Obviously, this only works when exporting in the Acrobat 6 (PDF 1.5) format or later.

Export Layers

Normally, an object will only appear in your PDF if it’s on a layer that is both visible and printable—that is, the Show Layer and Print Layer checkboxes are both enabled in the Layer Options dialog box. However, you can override this by choosing either All Layers or Visible Layers from the Export Layers pop-up menu. The former prints everything, even objects on hidden or non-printing layers. That’s nice when you forget to turn on hidden layers before starting the PDF export process. The latter option prints all visible layers (whether they’re “printable” or not).

Include Bookmarks

If you’ve used the table of contents feature (which we discuss in Chapter 8, “Long Documents”), you can tell InDesign to automatically build bookmarks for your PDF file based on the table of contents. Just turn on the Include Bookmarks checkbox. Or, if you used the Bookmarks panel to add custom bookmarks to your document (see Chapter 13, “Interactive PDF”) you have to turn this checkbox on to actually see them in the PDF file. Again, this is a feature suitable for PDFs destined for onscreen viewing, not prepress.

Hyperlinks

You can use the Hyperlinks panel to add as many hyperlinks to your document as you want, but unless you turn on this checkbox they won’t appear in your PDF file. When you turn this option on, InDesign also creates hyperlinks in your table of contents and indexes (see Chapter 8, “Long Documents,” for more on these features). Of course, it’s not really appropriate to include hyperlinks when sending off a PDF for high-resolution printing. See Chapter 13, “Interactive PDF,” for more on hyperlinks.

Visible Guides and Grids

If you turn on this export option, InDesign exports all visible guides (margins, ruler guides, baseline guides, and so on), which may be helpful for designers who are collaborating on a project. The only guide type that doesn’t export is the document grid (even if it’s visible).

Non-printing Objects

Ordinarily, nonprinting objects (items on your page for which you’ve turned on the Non-printing checkbox in the Attributes panel) won’t appear in exported PDF files. However, you can force them to export (overriding the Attributes panel) by turning on the Export Non-printing Objects checkbox in the Export PDF dialog box. Why would you do this? We bet someone can think of a good reason.

Interactive Elements

If your document contains buttons, movies, or sounds, you need to turn on the Interactive Elements checkbox to include them in the PDF file. Like the Hyperlinks option, there’s no reason to turn this on for documents bound for press. When you do turn it on, however, you can also tell InDesign (in the Multimedia pop-up menu) whether to embed all sounds and movies into the PDF or leave them linked to the disk file. See Chapter 13, “Interactive PDF,” for more on these sorts of things. The setting in the Multimedia pop-up menu overrides any object-level settings you have chosen for movies and sounds.

Compression

The options in the Compression pane define the compression and/ or sampling changes applied to the images in your publication as it’s exported as a PDF (see Figure 7-25). Compression is almost always a good thing, but you need to choose your compression options carefully, depending on where your PDF is headed. PDFs for onscreen viewing can handle more compression, and those destined for the Web typically need a lot of compression to keep file sizes down. A PDF file that you’re sending to a printer for high-resolution output requires very little compression, if any (unless you have to e-mail the file or it won’t otherwise fit on a disk for transport).

Bitmapped images are almost always the largest part of a document, so PDF’s compression techniques focus on them. InDesign has two methods of making your files smaller: lowering the resolution of the images and encoding the image data in clever ways.

Resampling

If you place a 300 ppi CMYK image into your document and scale it down 50 percent, the effective resolution is 600 ppi (because twice as many pixels fit in the same amount of space). When you export your PDF, you can ask InDesign to resample the image to a more reasonable resolution. If your final output is to a desktop inkjet printer, you rarely need more than 300 or 400 ppi. Printing on a laser printer or imagesetter (or any device that uses halftone screens, as explained earlier in this chapter) requires no more than 1.5 to 2.0 times the halftone screen frequency—a 150 lpi halftone rarely needs more than 225 ppi of data to print beautifully.

Monochrome (or bi-level) bitmapped images do not have halftone screens applied to them by the printer and, therefore, are not subject to the same rules that govern grayscale and color images. In a monochrome image, you never need more resolution than the resolution of the printer. If your final output is your 600 dpi laser printer, you certainly never need more than 600 dpi monochrome images. Imagesetter output rarely requires more than 1200 dpi (though for a sheetfed art book, we might bump this up to 1500 dpi). Printing on uncoated stock requires less resolution because of halftone spots spreading; you can easily get away with 800 dpi for newsprint.

If you’re exporting a PDF for online viewing, you can get away with 72 or 96 ppi, unless you want the viewer to be able to zoom in on the image and not see pixelation.

InDesign only downsamples when exporting PDF files. That is, it throws away data to decrease image resolution (it won’t add resolution). Downsampling works by turning an area of pixels into a single, larger pixel, so the method you use to get that larger pixel is crucial. When you downsample an image, InDesign takes the average color or gray value of all of the pixels in the area to set the color or gray value of the larger pixel. When you subsample an image, on the other hand, InDesign uses the color or gray value of a single pixel in the middle of the area. This means that subsampling is a much less accurate resampling method than downsampling, and shouldn’t be used for anything other than proofing your document. We rarely use Average Downsampling or Subsampling; instead, the best option is Bicubic Downsampling, which provides the smoothest sampling algorithm.

Ultimately, however, we much prefer to just get the resolution right in Photoshop before placing the image, rather than relying on InDesign to downsample it. That way, we can see the result of resampling on the screen, and undo the change if necessary. Otherwise, we won’t see the result until we view the PDF.

Compression

The PDF specification supports both ZIP and JPEG encoding for grayscale and color bitmapped images; and CCITT Group 3, CCITT Group 4, ZIP, and Run Length encodings for monochrome bitmapped images. In Acrobat 6 or later, you can even use JPEG 2000. It’s enough to make your head spin! Which method should you use? Again, it depends on where the PDF is going and what kind of images you’ve got.

Scanned images generally compress better with JPEG, and synthetic images (such as screen captures that have a lot of solid colors and sharp edges) compress better with ZIP. However, JPEG compression, even at its highest quality setting, removes data from an image file (it’s “lossy”). Most designers find that some JPEG compression for scanned photographs is an acceptable compromise, as it results in dramatically smaller file sizes. JPEG 2000 compresses even smaller and results in less degradation. But, ultimately, when we don’t need to worry about file size, we prefer to use ZIP for everything because ZIP compression does not discard image data (it’s “lossless”). You never know when you might need that image data!

If we are using JPEG, then we make a choice from the Image Quality pop-up menu: You get the best compression with Minimum quality, but who wants to look at the results? Unfortunately, the only good way to choose from among the Image Quality options is to save two or three to disk, look at them in Acrobat, and compare their file sizes.

Exporting PDF files for print is easier: We usually just choose ZIP from the Compression pop-up menu for both color and grayscale images. However, if you need to save some disk space (again, like if you’re emailing the file to your output provider), it’s usually reasonable to use Automatic (JPEG) compression with the Image Quality pop-up menu set to Maximum quality—the resulting JPEG images are usually indistinguishable from uncompressed images. Or, if you know that the recipient has Acrobat 6 or later, then consider using the better-quality JPEG 2000 compression.

As for monochrome image encoding, it’s rare to see much of a difference among the choices (they’re all lossless and provide reasonable compression). We usually use Run Length or ZIP encoding, but only because we don’t like the sound of CCITT. Say it aloud a few times, and you’ll see what we mean.

Compress Text and Line Art

The Compress Text and Line Art option applies to text and paths you’ve drawn in InDesign—we cannot think of any reason you should turn this option off.

Crop Image Data to Frames

When you turn this option on, InDesign sends only the visible parts of the images in the publication. This sounds reasonable, and can result in a much smaller file for publications that contain cropped images. But it also means you won’t have access to the image data if you edit the image in the PDF. Most of the time, this isn’t a problem, but you might want to turn this option off if your PDF includes images that bleed (so that you or your service provider can later increase the bleed area, if necessary).

Marks and Bleeds

In a desperate attempt at reducing the redundancy in our overly complex lives, we’re going to skip a detailed analysis of the Marks and Bleeds pane of the Export PDF dialog box and instead point out that these features are exactly the same as the features in the Print dialog box (see “Marks and Bleeds” in Chapter 11, “Printing”).

Output

The Output pane lets you control how color in your document is handled (see Figure 7-26).

Color Conversion

Choose No Color Conversion from the Color Conversion pop-up menu if you don’t want InDesign to mess with your colors and just write them into the PDF as specified. That is, RGB colors will remain RGB, and CMYK colors will stay CMYK. This is what you get with PDF/X3 or PDF/X4, because in that standard, colors are managed at print time from Acrobat.

If you do want InDesign to manage the colors, you should choose either Convert to Destination or Convert to Destination (Preserve Numbers). In either case, all RGB colors get converted to CMYK based on the CMYK profile you choose in the Destination pop-up menu. However, when you choose the “preserve numbers” option, any CMYK colors that you have specified in your InDesign document (such as colors you have applied to text or frames) are left alone—that is, they are not converted from your document CMYK profile to the destination CMYK profile. For example, this stops 100-percent black text changing to four-color CMYK text, or 100-percent cyan changing to a mix of cyan, yellow, and magenta (which was a problem in earlier versions of InDesign).

However, whether or not you choose “preserve numbers,” if your CMYK image is tagged with a color profile and that profile was preserved when you placed it (which is typically not the case with CMYK images), it will get cross-converted to the new CMYK space. (See Chapter 10, “Color,” for more on color management.)

Note that choosing CMYK does not separate spot colors to CMYK in the PDF file; if you want to do that, you should use the Ink Manager (see below).

If you have turned off color management (that is, you chose Emulate InDesign 2.0 in the Color Settings dialog box), then you have only three choices: do nothing, Convert to CMYK, or Convert to RGB. Either way, InDesign uses its internal RGB-to-CMYK conversion method (the default CMYK space is based on SWOP inks—technically, it’s the default CMYK settings from Photoshop 5; the default RGB space is AdobeRGB).

Profile Inclusion Policy

When you’re converting colors, you can tell InDesign whether or not to embed ICC profiles into your PDF file. In a color-managed workflow, it is important to include profiles, or else other programs (or InDesign, if you’re re-importing the PDF into another InDesign document) cannot color-manage the file. However, if you are simply creating a CMYK files (such as a PDF/X1-a workflow), there is no reason to include your profiles. Also, turn this option off when exporting PDF files for the Web, since the Web isn’t color managed and ICC Profiles increase file size.

Simulate Overprint

Acrobat 4 has no way to preview overprinting instructions, so if you need to use Acrobat 4 and you need to proof overprinting, you can turn on the Simulate Overprint option. Because everyone we know is using a newer version of Acrobat, we rarely have to worry about this feature. Note that Simulate Overprint should not be used for final artwork, as it radically changes your document (spot colors are changed to process colors, for instance). It’s just a low-end proofing tool.

Ink Manager

Have a spot color that should be a process color? Or two different spot colors that really should be one? The Ink Manager handles these kinds of troubles (for more information, see “Ink Manager” in Chapter 10, “Color”).

PDF/X

If you have chosen one of the PDF/X options in the Standards pop-up menu at the top of the dialog box, InDesign offers you the option of specifying the final output destination profile in the mysteriously named Output Intent Profile Name. Fortunately, this is almost always exactly the same as the Destination profile you chose above. You can also add a short description in the Output Condition Name field if you think anyone downstream at the printer will care (seems doubtful to us). If the profile you choose is registered somewhere (such as the International Color Consortium at www.color.org), you can specify a name and URL in the final two fields of this section. That information simply gets embedded in the PDF file so someone can later decode what you’ve done.

Advanced

There’s nothing particularly “advanced” about any of the options in this pane, and while you probably won’t spend much time messing with these settings, it is important to understand what they do and why you’d want to change them (see Figure 7-27).

Subset Fonts

InDesign can always embed font information in exported PDF files, so it doesn’t matter whether the person you give the file to has the font. The exception to this is when the font manufacturer has specified that their font should not be embedded. Many Asian fonts cannot be embedded, for instance. This is a political and legal hot-potato that we’re not going to touch, other than to say that if your fonts cannot be embedded, complain to the font developer, not Adobe (or us). Or, better yet, if there isn’t a lot of text in that font, convert the text to outlines before printing or exporting.

Anyway, usually the question isn’t whether to embed your fonts, but rather how much of the font you want to embed. The value you enter in the Subset Fonts field sets the threshold at which InDesign includes complete fonts in the PDF you’re exporting. When you “subset” a font, you include only those characters that are used on the pages you’re exporting, which keeps file size down. Enter 100 to force InDesign to always save a subset of the font’s characters, or enter 0 to force InDesign to include the entire font (or fonts) in the PDF. You can also enter some other percentage value to strike a balance between the two extremes, but we generally find that either we want subsets or we don’t.

One reason you might not want to subset your fonts is to maximize the potential for editing the PDF later. Let’s say you subset your fonts, and later need your output provider to edit the PDF (perhaps to change a typo). If they need to change “karma” to “dharma” and you haven’t used the letter “d” elsewhere in the document, they can’t do it (unless they have the font installed on their system).

Another reason not to use font subsetting is if you expect users on a platform other than your own to view and print your exported PDFs. We know, it’s supposed to work. In our experience, it doesn’t. Platform-specific character encoding and printer driver issues always seem to cause problems when we subset fonts in a PDF. At least one of the authors (Ole!) feels strongly that font subsetting should always be avoided for this reason. The small amount of (cheap!) disk space you use to embed the entire font is a small price to pay, compared to (expensive!) last-minute print production problems.

InDesign CS unfortunately embedded its fonts in a format called “CID” (which is usually reserved for Asian fonts). This wouldn’t have been so bad except that some laser printers (notably PostScript “emulators”) couldn’t deal with CID fonts. The good news is that InDesign no longer embeds fonts using CID encoding, so this should no longer be a problem.

Omit for OPI

In an OPI workflow, the high-resolution image data is kept separate from your document until it’s merged in at the last minute before printing. If you have an OPI server capable of processing PDF files with OPI comments, you can keep InDesign from including a certain type of imported graphic file in the PDF file by turning on the corresponding option in the Omit section (to omit placed EPS images, for example, turn on the EPS option). We discuss OPI in more detail in Chapter 11, “Printing”.

Transparency Flattener

While Acrobat 5 can handle InDesign’s transparency effects, Acrobat 4 is clueless. So if you’re exporting an Acrobat 4 file, InDesign must “flatten” all transparency effects. We discuss flattening and the Transparency Flattener Style pop-up menu in great detail in Chapter 11, “Printing.” Suffice it to say that you can choose a flattener style here, as well as tell InDesign to ignore any flattener style spread overrides you may have made in the document (by turning on the Ignore Spread Overrides checkbox).

Job Definition Format

The Job Definition Format (JDF) is talked about a lot, but most people don’t realize that it all just comes down to adding some metadata about your document to the file (in this case, the PDF file). Adobe wants you to think that InDesign directly supports JDF, but if you turn on the Create JDF File Using Acrobat checkbox, all you really get is a regular PDF file plus a tiny JDF file in the same folder. Plus, InDesign launches Acrobat Professional (which you have to have installed to make use of this feature) and lets you use its JDF tools to fill in the details—such as who is the primary contact person for this print job, what kind of paper stock should it be printed on, and so on.

Security

Digital Rights Management (DRM) is all the rage these days. The basic issue is who gets to do what with your content? When it comes to PDF files, you have several DRM options set out in the Security pane of the Export PDF dialog box (see Figure 7-28).

In our view, most of the PDF security features are for PDFs you’re exporting for online distribution (that is, the PDF is the final product of your production process), and not for prepress use. We might have our paranoid moments, but our practicality gets the better of them most of the time—and it’s just not practical to lock up a PDF that’s headed for printing and prepress work. Think about it—do you want your imagesetting service bureau calling you at four in the morning to ask for the password you used to lock up a PDF?

On the other hand, if you’re exporting a PDF to send to a client or a printer who you don’t have a close relationship with, you might want to activate some of these settings.

Passwords

You can give your PDF file two different passwords: one to limit who can open the document (Document Open Password), and one to limit who can change the security settings in the document (Permissions Password). The two passwords must be different. If you’re going to turn on any security settings in the PDF—even if you don’t require a Document Open Password—then we strongly encourage you to provide a Permissions Password (just in case you need to make changes to the PDF later).

Note that if you choose to export in Acrobat 4 (PDF 1.3) format, InDesign only uses the older 40-bit RC4 encryption, which isn’t nearly as powerful as the newer 128-bit encryption—you get better encryption when you export as Acrobat 5 or 6 (PDF 1.4 or 1.5).

Permissions

The two pop-up menus and three checkboxes in the Permissions settings are self-explanatory: They let you control whether the file can be printed (or at what resolution), whether it can be altered, whether content can be copied or extracted, whether screen readers for the visually impaired should be supported, and whether your metadata should be readable by databases or search systems (see “File Info and Metadata,” earlier in this chapter). These are useful if you’re sending a file to a client and you don’t want them to do anything but add comments, or if you’re sending a file to be printed, and you want to make sure the output provider doesn’t “accidentally” change anything. But the security settings can play havoc with some non-Adobe PDF readers (like Mac OS X Preview).

Summary

The last pane of the Export PDF dialog box, Summary, lists all the settings in all the tabs in one long text list (see Figure 7-29). Do we ever sit and read through this? Nope; it’s more time-consuming to read through this unformatted list of settings than it is to skip through each of the panes. However, it’s nice that you can click the Save Summary button to save this list to disk as a text file. If you’re exporting a PDF file to send to someone else, consider including this summary along with it, so that they know how you set up the dialog box (and can see whether you did anything inappropriate). You can also use this saved summary as a log of what you did to later refer to if something prints in an unexpected fashion.

Defining a PDF Export Preset

PDF export presets are like paragraph styles—they’re bundles of attributes that can be applied in a single action. Almost all of the attributes in the PDF Export dialog box are included in a PDF export preset (the Ink Manager and the Security settings aren’t). It’s easy to create a PDF export preset; set up the Export PDF dialog box with the options the way you want them, click the Save Preset button at the bottom of the dialog box, and then give the style a name. You can then go ahead and export, or just cancel out of the Export PDF dialog box (if you just wanted to set up the preset without exporting).

InDesign also has a second method for making PDF export presets, though we find it slightly more cumbersome (see Figure 7-30).

  1. Choose Define from the Adobe PDF Presets submenu, under the File menu. InDesign displays the Adobe PDF Presets dialog box with a list of the current PDF export presets.
  2. Click the New button. InDesign displays the New PDF Export Preset dialog box, but with a few differences: there’s a Name field at the top, there’s no Security pane, and Ink Manager and page ranges are grayed out. Note that if you select an export preset before clicking New, this dialog box will be based on the preset you selected.
  3. Enter a name for the PDF export preset in the Name field, then set up the PDF export options using the panes of the dialog box. Click the OK button when you’re done. InDesign returns you to the Adobe PDF Presets dialog box and adds the new preset to the list of available presets.

To export a PDF using the settings in a PDF export preset, choose the preset name from the Adobe PDF Preset pop-up menu in the Export PDF dialog box. InDesign applies the settings of the PDF export preset to the controls in the Export PDF dialog box. You’ll still need to enter a page range in the General pane—the export preset does not include that information.

Note that you can also make PDF presets in Acrobat Distiller or any other Creative Suite application. InDesign and the other Creative Suite programs share PDF presets, which makes creating consistent PDF files much easier.

Managing PDF Export Presets

You can use the Adobe PDF Presets dialog box to add, delete, rename, edit, and import or export PDF export presets.

  • To delete a PDF export preset, select the preset name and click the Delete button. (You can’t delete the default presets: High Quality Print, PDF/X-1a, PDF/X-3, PDF/X-4, Press Quality, and Smallest File Size.)
  • To export PDF export presets, select the presets and click the Save As button. InDesign displays the Save PDF Export Presets dialog box. Specify a file name and location and click the OK button.
  • To import a PDF export preset or set of presets, open the Adobe PDF Presets dialog box and click the Load button. InDesign displays the Load PDF Export Presets dialog box. Locate and select a file containing the saved presets and click the OK button. If the PDF export presets you’re importing already exist in the publication, InDesign will create copies (InDesign appends a number—usually “1”—to the duplicate presets).
  • To edit or rename a PDF export preset (other than the default ones), select the preset name in the Adobe PDF Presets dialog box, then click the Edit button.