VIDEO: Creating Perfect PDF Files for Press

settings for exporting PDF file InDesign for Press

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This VIDEO tutorial will show you settings that will ensure print-ready PDF files for faster turnaround times and no output errors in prepress. Compression settings will ensure quick upload times to HiDefColor.com.

This PDF workflow will also eliminate the need to convert any of your images to CMYK. No worries, these PDF settings for press will work just fine with images already converted to CMYK.

Did you find this tip helpful? Please leave a comment below…

Video Transcript:
Hi. This is Rick Rys from HiDefColor.com

00:04 Today’s tutorial never convert to CMYK is a cool little export option out of InDesign CS5 that will eliminate the need to ever convert to CMYK.

00:15 This cool little RGB workflow will eliminate a lot of disk space and save you a lot of time along with a lot of confusion regarding having two files of the same image.

00:27 You can see we have an image here that’s created in InDesign CS5 it consists of an RGB bitmap image, you can see the color space is RGB, and it is tagged with the Adobe RGB color profile.

00:42 We also have a CMYK Adobe Illustrator image which is a vector graphic.

00:50 It’s important to note that the image is created with different values of gray. This is important because these color values of gray are built with black only and we want to make sure we do not re-separate this into a four-color gray.

1:06 We also have a series of color swatches that are placed as Pantone colors. Also, take note that we are using the LAB values of these colors.

1:21 So, once we are ready to go to press, we’re going to do a simple
export option out of InDesign CS5.

1:30 We’re going to utilize the Adobe PDF X-4 standard. Once we select PDF X-4, we’re going to save our file and we’ll go into the export Adobe PDF presets and select X-4; change the compatibility to PDF 1.7 standard; select our page and then go through the individual tabs here.

2:00 Under compression, we want to keep these values the same. Where we’re going to downsample to 300 pixels per inch when our image is greater than 450 pixels per inch. This will allow for a much faster upload to the color server at HiDefColor.com

2:18 Under marks and bleeds, two things – select our crop marks and change our bleed to .125″ top and bottom, inside and outside

2:29 The output tab is the most critical. This is where color conversion is going to take place and convert our images from RGB to CMYK.

2:39 We want to focus on the color conversion pull-down menu. We want to select “convert to destination” and “preserve numbers”. The preserve numbers will maintain any native CMYK data within the document.

2:53 This is important for our placed Adobe Illustrator image where we want to maintain our gray values with just black ink only. Select preserve numbers and our destination this is where we’re going to convert to CMYK.

3:08 We want to make sure that we select coated GRAcOL 2006 color profile. The GRAcOL profile is the largest CMYK color gamut for sheetfed printing.

3:21 Under profile inclusion policy we want to make sure we include the destination profile in case we have to repurpose this or convert this to another press.

3:33 Under ink manager you’ll notice that we have our CMYK information here and also all of our placed Pantone color swatches. What we want to do to make sure is that we check all spots to process. You’ll notice that it converted these into CMYK and more importantly, make sure that we select the use standard LAB values for spots.

4:00 This is important because this will use the LAB color data value for each
of those Pantone colors for a much more accurate conversion into CMYK.

4:13 Once we select OK, then we simply export the file. Once we export our file, we’re going to open it up into Acrobat and you’ll notice that our file is here and we’re going to do a quick little preflight. We’re going to go into the advanced tab, print production, and select output preview.

4:40 You’ll notice a little output preview window will open up. Notice that all are images have now been converted to CMYK! So we could simply go through the process and deselect our individual color and build our document: black, yellow, magenta, cyan for our CMYK values.

4:59 As we mouse over, you’ll notice that we are now in the CMYK color space and so have all of our Pantone colors been converted to CMYK. More importantly, when we get down to our placed illustrator graphic, you’ll notice here that the gray is made up of black ink only. You’ll notice that up here, once I thumbed over the sixty percent screen of black, this was maintained by using the preserve numbers value for the convert to destination. This did not re-separate it into four colors.

5:33 The important part about this it saves a lot of time as far as balancing color on press and also eliminating any registration issues on press having to line up four colors for just one color gray.

5:47 Well, I hope you enjoyed this tutorial look back for more tutorials in the future

Have a good day!

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7 Comments
  1. I really enjoy watching all of your videos on color management; you did a really great job explaining a subject that I think is quite complicated!

    One question lingered on my mind though – how would the settings differ for inkjet printers? I read somewhere that inkjet printers handle things differently – would love to hear your thoughts on this matter. Thanks for all of your hard work!

  2. But…um…couldn’t create a problem for your files printing correctly if you place a photo image in the document. You will get a preflight error (flag). The photo is normally should be saved, place and brought in as CMYK jpeg. If it is done they way you are saying won’t that create a problem. I believe it will.

  3. thanks for the comment! share the video with your friends and ensure successful output on press.

    what are some other tutorials that you would like to see for print production?

  4. This is wonderful. I’d rather give my printer perfect print PDF’s than worry about if they’re having to do a lot of extra work to get my projects to press. Your aspirations are noble, good sir, thanks for these hot tips!

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