Create PDF Files from Adobe Creative Suite Applications

By Jennifer Smith, Christopher Smith, Fred Gerantabee

You can convert Photoshop files, Illustrator files, or InDesign documents to the Acrobat PDF format so they can be viewed by anyone who has Adobe Reader. This makes sharing your creative endeavors a snap.

Convert Photoshop and Illustrator files to PDF

Both Adobe Photoshop CS5 and Adobe Illustrator CS5 can save documents directly in the Adobe PDF file format. To do so, simply choose File→Save or File→Save As. Then, from the File Type drop-down list, choose Adobe PDF (Illustrator) or Photoshop PDF (Photoshop). In these programs, you can create PDF files without Adobe Acrobat or Acrobat Distiller because they’ve integrated PDF creation capabilities.

You can use Adobe Reader or Acrobat to view PDF files created from Photoshop or Illustrator. You can also open and edit PDF files using the same program in which they were created.

Convert InDesign documents to PDF

Like Photoshop and Illustrator, the ability to convert InDesign documents to PDF is integrated into the application. With Adobe InDesign, you can choose File→Export and select Adobe PDF from the File Type drop-down list. InDesign provides a significant number of options for controlling the size and quality of the resulting PDF file.

In the Adobe InDesign Export PDF dialog box, you can choose from the Preset drop-down list at the top of the dialog box. The choices are many, but we list and describe here the most commonly used settings:

  • Smallest File Size: Creates compact Adobe PDF files that are intended for display on the Internet or to be distributed via e-mail. Use this setting to create PDF files that will be viewed primarily on-screen.

  • High Quality Print: Creates Adobe PDF files that are intended for desktop printers and digital copiers.

  • Press Quality: Use this setting to create PDF files that will be delivered to a commercial printer for high-quality, offset print reproduction.

When creating PDF files to be used for high-resolution printing, here are some settings you should use. Select Marks and Bleeds in the list on the left of the Export PDF dialog box and specify the amount of space items need to extend off the page, referred to as a bleed.

If you’re delivering the file to a printing firm, they can provide guidance as to the required value. A good rule to follow is to use at least .125 inches if you have any items in your layout that extend to the edge of your document pages and beyond. Specify the value you want by entering the number in the Bleed and Slug section of the Marks and Bleeds tab.

If the amount of bleed needs to be the same on all four sides, type the value in the Top text box and then click the link icon to the right of the Top and Bottom Bleed text boxes.

Setting the bleed values in the Export Adobe PDF dialog box.
Setting the bleed values in the Export Adobe PDF dialog box.