PDF Steps and Settings

Here are directions and pdf settings for creating PDF files that are optimally print-ready. With Illustrator and InDesign, as long as you have added the bleed area in your file properly, these directions will automatically add crop marks and the bleed area into your file. You'll see those when you open your final pdf in Acrobat. 

 

If you’re using ILLUSTRATOR

If you intend to have a bleed, you need to set the bleed settings in the document set up of your file before creating the pdf. To add the bleed area in Illustrator, go to File: Document Setup, and make your file size the exact trim size you want. Then set the "Bleed" area to .125". With this bleed area set, you'll see a red line around the document. That is your bleed area. Enlarge all bleed items (graphics or photos) that you want to go to the edge of the page, extending them to the outer edge of the red lines. Keep in mind that the bleed area will be trimmed off.

Be sure to keep all important text inward from the edge .25", or at least .125". And, save a copy of your file as an "outlined" file, then outline all the fonts used (Type : Create Outlines) to keep them properly embedded in the pdf you are about to make.

 

PDF settings:

Do "Save As" and choose pdf (name the file, etc.)

Preset: Press Quality

Compatibility: Acrobat 4 (PDF 1.3)

General: Check only "Preserve Illustrator Editing" and "Optimize for Fast Web"

Compression: the downsampling should be 300, 300 and 1200

Marks and Bleeds: Choose Trim Marks and Use Document Bleed Settings. NONE of the other marks are necessary.

Output: Choose "Convert to Destination (Preserve Numbers)", "U.S. Sheetfed Coated V2" and "Include Destination Profiles"

Advanced: Choose High Resolution

 

 

If you’re using IN DESIGN

If you intend to have a bleed, you need to set the bleed settings in the document set-up of your file before creating the pdf. To add the bleed area in InDesign, make your file size the exact trim size you want. Then go to File: Document Setup, and if you don't see the "Bleed and Slug" area at the bottom, then click on "More Options". Then, in the "Bleed" boxes, type in .125. With this bleed area set, you'll see a red line around the document. That is your bleed area. Enlarge all bleed items (graphics or photos) that you want to go to the edge of the page, extending them to the outer edge of the red lines. Keep in mind that the bleed area will be trimmed off.

Be sure to keep all important text inward from the edge .25", or at least .125".

Save a copy of your file as an "outlined" file, then outline all the fonts used to keep them properly embedded in the pdf you are about to make.

 

PDF Settings:

Do "Export" and choose pdf (name the file, etc.)

Preset: Press Quality

Compatibility: Acrobat 4 (PDF 1.3)

General: Check only "Optimize for Fast Web View"

Compression: the downsampling should be 300, 300 and 1200 (it should default to this)

Marks and Bleeds: Check Crop Marks and, if you have a bleed set on your document, Use Document Bleed Settings

Output: Choose "Convert to Destination (Preserve Numbers)", "U.S. Sheetfed Coated V2" and "Include Destination Profiles"

Advanced: Choose High Resolution

 

 

If you’re using PHOTOSHOP

Unfortunately, Photoshop is not the best option to use for creating a final pdf for printing, but you can sort of work around that. (Illustrator or Indesign are recommended.) Make sure that your file is set to the bleed size (For instance, 3.75 x 2.25 for a 3.5x2 trim size), and then make sure all objects that you want to show are inward from the 3.5x2 edge by about 1/4". These sizes will be different for different products. Don't worry about ending up with crop marks in your final PDF. Also, make sure your file is CMYK (not RGB). 

If you have text or logos in your layout, see the PDF settings below to keep them crisp. With bitmap files such as those Photoshop creates, more dpi is better if you have any text or graphics that need to have sharp edges, even up to as much as 1200 dpi. Minimally, make sure you have at least 300 dpi (for a photos-only layout), but for most signs and banners meant to be viewed from several feet away, 150 to 300 dpi is fine.) 

Or, you can also choose to not flatten the file to keep the text in a vector state by using these PDF settings:

 

PDF Settings:

Save a copy to preserve your original work if you need to flatten the image in the Layers palette.

If you have transparency in your file, it is highly recommended that you flatten your art work to avoid color issues. But, to preserve vector text, DO NOT flatten your work. This is one reason why setting text in Photoshop is not the best option.

Do "Save As" and choose pdf (name the file, etc.) Uncheck the box that embeds a color profile. Click SAVE.

Preset: Press Quality

Compatibility: Acrobat 4 (PDF 1.3)

General: Check only "Preserve Photoshop Editing" and "Optimize for Fast Web"

Compression: Choose Do Not Downsample, and Compression - NONE

Output: Choose "Convert to Destination", "Working CMYK - U.S. Sheetfed Coated V2" and "Include Destination Profiles"