How To Create a Print-Ready PDF from InDesign

InDesign 4 February 2011 | 7 Comments

This is a 4.5" x 5.5" invitation card that I will be using as example. This was created outside of InDesign but brought in for final output.

Open New Document and set correct size. Your document size will be the final trim size. You will account for bleeds further down. Margin size is not a factor in my example so I left the default .5

These are how your guides should look.

Place your image of images into InDesign. You can select this from the File drop-down menu or press Cmd(Ctrl)-D.

Make sure image is placed correctly within the guides. You should always design with your bleed margin in mind from the begining, no matter the program being used. So anything that would come to the edge of the paper when trimmed, needs to go all the way to the red "bleed" margin.

Once image is correct and your are ready to output, Go to File>Adobe PDF Presets>PDF/X-4:2008. This is an accepted standard for most situations, but always double check. You could also choose File>Export and export as PDF.

Save File to Correct Location on Computer.

Next you will set your PDF preferences. For this example, I am choosing to show all "Printer Marks" on my PDF. You may want the Crop(Trim) or Crop and Bleed. This is under the "Marks and Bleeds" category list on left. Also make sure that the "Use Document Bleed Settings" is checked at bottom.

You can Choose "Output" category and press Ink Manager to see what all inks comprise your image. Mine is CMYK, but you may see Sopt Colors if you are using any Pantones.

Now Open PDF in Acrobat or other viewing software to see finished product, a composite PDF that can be sent straight to the Printer. The nice thing about PDF's is how all images and text are embedded in the file. You can clearly see the Crop and Bleed marks. Color Bars are for the Printer's use. These are not always needed on your file. In some rare occurrences you may need to create a PDF with separations for each color plate. This used to be able to be done in InDesign but now would have to be done through Acrobat.

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