Export File Formats in InDesign Creative Suite 5 - dummies

By Jennifer Smith, Christopher Smith, Fred Gerantabee

The kind of file you decide to export from Adobe InDesign CS5 depends on your needs. Exporting InDesign documents lets you make them “portable” so that they can be used in different ways — such as on the web or in another program.

The first thing to determine is where you’ll use the exported file. For example, you might need to

  • Put an image of your InDesign document or page on the web

  • Send an entire document to someone who doesn’t have InDesign but wants to receive it by e-mail

  • Import the content into a different program, such as Macromedia Flash or Adobe Illustrator

  • Take a particular kind of file somewhere else to print it

You can choose from the many file formats InDesign supports, and you can control many settings related to the files you create.

File Formats
File Format Description
JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) A commonly used format for compressed images and a good choice
for creating a picture of an InDesign page to post on a
EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) A self-contained image file that contains high-resolution
printing information about all the text and graphics used on a
This format is commonly used for high-quality printing when you
need to have an image of an InDesign page used within another
document — such as a picture of a book cover created with
InDesign that needs to appear in a promotional catalog — so
that you can use an EPS of the book cover in your layout.
XML (Extensible Markup Language) Lets you separate the content from the layout so that all the
content on a page can be repurposed and used in different ways
— online or in print.
SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) An alternative to EPS for describing a page. This graphic file
format has never truly caught on. You can export files in SVG
format, which combines XML and CSS to display files. The SVG
vector-based format is also used for displaying content online
using the oversized SVG Viewer
for the Mac or Windows.
PDF (Portable Document Format) Used to exchange documents with users on different computer
systems and operating systems. This format is used extensively for
distributing files such as e-books and brochures.
You may need to distribute the file to a wide audience or to a
service provider for printing. Anyone who has installed Adobe
Reader (also known as Acrobat Reader) on a computer can view your
document. PDF is also used for importing as an image or text into
other programs, such as Flash.
Rich or Plain text (text files) Can include formatting (Rich) or plain text only (Plain). A
text file is a simple way to export content. If you need the text
from your document only to incorporate or send elsewhere, you can
export it as plain (Text Only), tagged, or rich text. If you need
to send a document to someone who doesn’t have InDesign,
exporting it as text may be a good option.

JPEG and EPS files can be exported from InDesign and then imported into other software programs. You can export these images for use in print after they’re imported into a different graphics program, or you can use the images on the web. It all depends on how you set up the document for export and the settings you use.

After determining in which file format to export your file, take a look at how to export these files and the different kinds of settings you can control when doing so.