Indesign printing

by Design Workshop Sydney

There are few topics to consider when sending an Indesign document to print. We explore them all in our Adobe Indesign coursesIndesign-printing
The first step in the printing process in Indesign is to create a proof on your desktop printer. This is only a first step though – a realistic proof can only be had from your printing supplier. But to get a rough idea of the look of a publication, go to File > Print. If you have a few printers connected to your network, you’ll see them listed here. Make adjustments for page range and scaling as usual.
The second consideration in the printing process is to find out which format your printing company requires. Are they happy with a PDF, or do they require the original (raw) files? For high-street printers and for under 1000 copies often a PDF is all they want. The advantages of PDFs are its small file size, the client can’t easily edit it, and it’s good enough resolution for printing. In which case, go to File > Adobe PDF Presets. There are about 6 different Presets. Nine times out of ten you’d choose the top one, High Quality Print. The PDF/X presets are used for magazines and newspaper ads or articles: they assist in plate separation for Full Colour (CMYK) Offset printing. Don’t use these unless it’s specifically asked for in the magazine’s or printer’s Specs sheet. In theory Press Quality is also for plate-separation, maybe for brochures – again, don’t use it unless asked for. Smallest File Size is best used for text-only documents like forms, as images can look pixelated.
Choose a destination > Save. Most of the settings are dealt with under the Presets, but in General you would usually tick Spreads and View PDF after Exporting. Then go to Marks & Bleeds on the right-hand column. If the job is being printed at a commercial printer it’s a good idea to tick All Printers’ Marks and Use Document Bleed Settings. Then click Export – this should take a few seconds and open automatically in Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader. The file size should be small enough to email to a printing company. Or send it via a file transfer site like Hightail or Drop Box.
In the case where the printer wants the original files you’d go to File > Package. All relevant files will be copied into a new folder which you would zip/compress and send. We cover Packaging in another blog post.
More tips can be found at the Sydney Indesign User Group which meets regularly in the city, and is a free forum for designers to discuss topics and the latest Indesign features. See many examples of our own clients’ work on our Facebook page.
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