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How to Export Adobe InDesign CS6 PDF Documents for Printing

Create a PDF file of your Adobe InDesign CS6 document if you want to make sure what you created is exactly what a viewer sees — even if they don’t have InDesign. A PDF file also limits the editing capabilities, making it unlikely your document will be changed.

If you choose to export a PDF document, you have many options to customize the document you’re exporting. You can control the amount of compression in the document, the marks and bleeds it has in InDesign, and its security settings. Here’s how to export to PDF:

  1. Choose File→Export.

    The Export dialog box opens.

  2. Choose a location in which to save the file and then enter a new filename.

    Browse to a location on your hard drive using the Save In drop-down list (if you’re using Windows) and name the file in the File Name text field. If you’re using a Mac, name the file in the Save As text field and select a location from the Where drop-down list.

  3. Select Adobe PDF (Print) from the Save As Type (Windows) or Format (Mac) drop-down list at the bottom of the Export window.

  4. Click Save.

    The Export PDF dialog box appears with the General options screen open.

  5. Choose a preset from the Preset drop-down list.

    These presets are easy to use. If you’re familiar with Adobe Acrobat and the Adobe Distiller functions, they’re the same.

    The presets on the Preset drop-down list automatically change the individual export settings of a document. For example, you can select Smallest File Size from the list if you’re displaying your work online or select High Quality Print if you plan for the PDF to be printed on home printers. Select Press Quality if you intend to have the PDF professionally printed.

  6. Leave the Standard drop-down list at None.

    Leave it at None unless, of course, you know about the PDF/X standards used for sharing advertisements.

  7. Select a range of pages to export by typing the start page (and then a hyphen) and the end page in the Range text box.

    You can also export nonconsecutive pages by separating the page numbers with a comma.

    By default, all pages are exported.

  8. Choose a compatibility setting for the PDF from the Compatibility drop-down list.

    Compatibility settings determine which kind of reader is required in order to view the document. Setting compatibility to Acrobat 5 (PDF 1.4) ensures that a wide audience can view your PDF files. Some older PDF readers may not be able to interpret certain features in your document if you choose compatibility for a higher version.

    The current version of Acrobat that ships with Adobe Creative Suite 6 is Acrobat X (or 10). Setting this value to Acrobat 5 or later ensures that anyone who has installed Adobe Reader or Acrobat in the past 10 years will be able to view the PDF file.

  9. Choose whether to embed thumbnails and whether to optimize the document, and then choose which kinds of elements to include in the file by selecting the check box to the left of the options in the Include section.

    Other settings specify the inclusion of bookmarks, links, and other elements in the file. Unless you’ve added any of these elements, you don’t need to worry about selecting these options. You may want to embed thumbnail previews, but Acrobat creates thumbnails automatically when the file is opened, so this can add to the file size unnecessarily.

    Click Security in the list on the left of the Export PDF dialog box to open the Security screen, where you can specify passwords to open the document. You can also choose a password that’s required to print or modify the PDF file.

  10. Click the Export button to export the file.

    The file is saved to the location you specified in Step 2.

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