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How to set a PDF preset in Adobe InDesign


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Adobe InDesign allows you to export your InDesign file as a PDF. Depending on the type of document you’ve created, you may want to use different PDF presets. You can choose one of the InDesign PDF presets or just create your own.

What are PDF presets?

A PDF preset is a group of settings that are specific to the type of PDF you’re creating, taking things like file size into account to produce the best quality document. These settings range from layout, interactive elements, compression, marks and bleeds, output conditions, and much more.

InDesign comes with a few default PDF presets to choose from. Each preset has a specific purpose, such as creating high-quality printing or optimizing the PDF for the press.

Choose one of the InDesign PDF presets

InDesign has a few PDF presets to choose from. Before spending time customizing your own preset, see if InDesign has one that fits your needs. Note that the selection may vary depending on the version of InDesign you’re using. For reference, this guide refers to Adobe InDesign 2022.

PDF preset Description
High quality printing. It is used to create PDF documents optimized for quality printing on desktop printers and proofers.
PDF/X-1a: 2001 Sets compatibility with Acrobat 4, which reduces the transparency of the file as a result. RGB images are converted to CMYK. This preset does not allow color management.
PDF/X-3: 2002 Similar to PDF/X-1a: 2001, but supports RGB images and allows color management.
PDF/X-4: 2008 It uses high image resolution and supports RGB, CMYK, Lab, direct, ICC profile-based and grayscale color data.
Press Quality Optimizes the PDF for high-quality commercial printing.
smaller file size Suitable for PDF documents that will be displayed on the screen, such as emails, presentations, websites, etc.

If one of these presets suits your needs, you can select it by clicking “File” in the menu bar, hovering over “Adobe PDF Presets” in the drop-down menu, and then selecting the preset from the submenu.

Choose a preset from the dropdown menu.

If you want to read more information about each preset, click “Define”.

Preset definitions.

The Adobe PDF Presets window appears. Here, you can choose a preset from the Presets group and view the preset’s description, configuration summary, and warnings (if applicable) below.

Detailed information of the presets.

Select the preset you want and click “Done” to select it.

Create your own PDF preset

If your PDF requires a unique output, you can set your own PDF preset. To get started, click “File” in the menu bar, hover over “Adobe PDF Presets” in the drop-down menu, and then select “Define” from the sub-menu.

Preset definitions.

In the Adobe PDF Presets window that appears, click “New.”

Create a new preset.

The New PDF Export Preset window appears. This is where you’ll fully customize your preset, and there’s certainly no shortage of options to tweak.

First, give your new PDF preset a name by typing it into the “Preset Name” text box. You can also configure compatibility by choosing a compatibility type from the dropdown box next to the option. You may also want to select an existing preset from the “Standard” dropdown menu. This is good if you want to use an older preset, but only need to modify one or two things.

Sets the basic information of the preset.

In the panel on the left, you will find six different categories.

The six main preset categories.

Each category contains several groups of options to customize. Here’s what you can expect to find at each.

General– As the name implies, this is where you’ll set some of the most basic options, like the layout of the PDF (single page, front and back, etc.), whether you want to export all pages or a range of pages. , if you want to include hyperlinks, bookmarks, non-printable objects, and more.

General Options.

Compression: Here you will set the compression for color images, grayscale images and monochrome images.

RELATED: How does file compression work?

Compression Options.

Marks and bleeding: Marks are used to tell the printer where to trim the paper, and bleeds add elements and colors to the print margins so there is no unwanted white space in the printed document. This section is where you customize those settings.

Mark and Bleed Options.

Production: You can set what type of color conversion and profile inclusion policy you want. You can also modify the PDF/X options, which are used to facilitate the exchange of graphics.

Output Options.

Advanced– You can set when to subset fonts and when to bypass OPI, set the transparency flattener preset, and adjust accessibility options.

Advanced Options.

Resume: When you’ve set everything up to your liking, you can get a bird’s-eye view of your preset PDF here.

Summary of the custom preset.

If you are satisfied with your settings, click OK. You have now successfully created your own PDF preset.

That’s all about it. Now that you’ve successfully created your PDF preset, all that’s left to do is export your PDF (File > Export) and then submit it for distribution.

RELATED: What is a PDF file (and how do I open one)?

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