Graphic Design Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for Graphic Design professionals, students, and enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I've created PDF files with Photoshop, then combined them to create a 16 page PDF. Photoshop's colour profile is set to SWOP (Newsprint), with Total Ink Limit set to 235%.

Depending on how I save the file (specifically with layers or not) seems to affect both the colour and the file size. Do layers have any effect on preflighting? Specifically, I'm trying to convert the file to X/1-a format.

share|improve this question
You can simply convert the text layers of Photoshop to vector:…. Your layers will be flatten by the RIP at the print shop. It's better if you simply flatten them yourself and control this part to avoid any mistake. – go-junta Jun 22 '15 at 1:50
up vote 0 down vote accepted

The x/1-a standard doesn't allow for transparencies. So, in order to get a PDF to pass that preflight check, you should flatten your file (SAVE A COPY WITH LAYERS FIRST!). Then you could try remaking the PDF. Also, is the photoshop file you are trying to save RGB or CMYK? Make sure it's a CMYK document before trying to output the PDF to a print standard and you may get better results.

I would probably handle this a little differently though. If you have access to InDesign you can place the layered .psd files into a document and make a PDF with the x/1-a standard and it should be fine. InDesign will handle the transparency flattening for you and you should end up with a smaller PDF to boot! This method of placing your photoshop work into a document will also work with illustrator.

That said, there is probably a way to do all this right from Photoshop, I've just never output any file I've sent to a printer as a PDF from Photoshop. I'll be interested in seeing if someone has a different method for outputting a file directly from Photoshop to print PDF.

share|improve this answer
Yes, the file is in CMYK. – Captain Phoenix Jun 11 '14 at 13:28
Try flattening the document. It's most likely the transparencies that are causing issue. – GoofyMonkey Jun 11 '14 at 13:45
Turns out that the website I was loading the file too, which was checking the x/1-a standard, was at fault. This was still really helpful, thanks! – Captain Phoenix Jun 16 '14 at 10:35
Been there! This highlights a problem with auto preflighting. – GoofyMonkey Jun 16 '14 at 17:27

Its best to pay attention to your layers from a printer stand point. When building a file for print layers do matter for the RIP and how it will process the CMYK. Text should be your top most layer. Photos next then Effects using transparencies. This is a really rough and general way to explain it. However, the way a RIP will process the PDF that you are mentioning is looking for the color separations and how to phrase the blinding of colors. If you have access to Adobe Acrobat Pro you can run these tests to see errors that are produced when converting to just about any PDF file and much more. Also look onto the features that will flatten your transparencies as well in this program. This is a good site for looking into Preflight -

I am not affiliated with this Company so please understand I am only sharing what I have found to be helpful.

share|improve this answer
Please be aware we require full disclosure when a user is advertising for a company. Within two hours you have provided five answers with two linking to Please know that some users may downvote and could assume you're posting spam. If you have a business relationship with please disclose that in your profile and in your answers. – Darth_Vader Nov 12 '14 at 3:14
Sorry for trying to assist other users. How else would you propose a way to help individuals on the internet find resources. If I wanted to promote a company I worked I would have. However this is not the case. Thank you for the discretion Matt I should have read the fine print closer. – Art of FITZ Nov 12 '14 at 4:03
We always welcome new users but we do get some users who only come to promote their company and though I would love to see you answer more I wanted to inform you before someone else started flagging you for spam and downvoting your answers. Not trying to be rude I just wanted you to be aware. So if you have no affiliation to please edit that in your answer so others will not take it differently and I look forward to seeing you around. – Darth_Vader Nov 12 '14 at 4:08
Sure thanks for clarifying this Matt on how I could edit my comments. I do not want to affect the reputation of Stack Exchange. I sure you din not intend on being rude. And I apologize if I sounded the same on my comments. – Art of FITZ Nov 12 '14 at 14:21

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.