I have a InDesign document which contains log of graphics imported (linked) from Illustrator.

I need to have this document printed. What should I do with the content to send the most appropriate file?
Do I need to rasterise the content? Flatten the layers (there are many)? Leave as is? What will give the smallest file yet sufficient content for the printer?


Export as PDF/X-1a.. done.

You shouldn't need to do anything special as long as the InDesign document is set up with correct bleeds and page sizes.

Files sizes are never a concern for print production. The PDFX file is going to be large. But with commercial printing quality is the primary concern, not file size.

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  • Is that PDF/X-1a:2001 or 2003? – Evan M. Jan 13 '18 at 19:12
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    2001 is most common. Also, ask your printer what colour profile they expect. Not all printers have strong preferences, but some do, and you may as well get it right the first time. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jan 13 '18 at 20:34
  • Imho PDF/X-4 is the most recommended standard. But I +1 Janus by recommending asking your printer. He might (should) even provide you his own preferred PDF profile. – Vinny Jan 15 '18 at 9:14
  • I'd be interested who is "most recommending" PDF/X-4, @Vinny. I've been using PDF/X-1a for nearly 25 years... I've never once had any US print provider ask me for a PDF/X-4. But, yes.. ask.. There are times where a printer may request some unusual file settings. – Scott Jan 15 '18 at 14:02
  • @Scott To make a long story short, PDF/x-4 handles live transparency* while X-1 doesn't. Being a regular reader and active member of Adobe's Forum, I can tell you that Dov Isaacs, Adobe Principle Scientist and PDF standards prophet would definitely "most recommend" the use of X-4 in most cases**. Of course, I'm not saying X-1 is bad... But, imho, X-4 is the profile that would dramatically reduce the chances of having trouble with your your PDF. * see goo.gl/6d387v **See goo.gl/e13qb8 and goo.gl/Ke51AQ – Vinny Jan 15 '18 at 15:00

vinny and scott. i can confirm that x1a with resolution 400 400 2400 is the best setting and recommended by almost all printers because this setting flattens the pdf file and creates wysiwyg artwork. other settings might cause odd results on boxes containing transparency, from slight difference in colour with surrounding areas to solid black overprint. in short i have a feeling vinny does not have enough field experience.

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    Well it's really a question of less things to go wrong. Once the transparency is flattened theres nothing that can concievably go wrong with the file. If you have transparently then the RIP might puke on you, or not. But is this really a risk your willing to take. So while preserving transparency is cool and all... – joojaa Nov 13 '19 at 14:48
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    1. No, 400 400 2400 on the resolution is not "the best" setting, "the best" setting is double the lineature you need. 400 400 would be for a print at 200 LPI, but on uncoated paper you only need about 133LPI so a 266PPI file is ok. That is just an example. – Rafael Nov 13 '19 at 16:33
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    2. Any PDF is WYSWYG, that is what PDF is for, but a PDF for commercial print has additional steps like screening and you can not see that on the PDF, the real WYSWYG is a preview on the RIP. – Rafael Nov 13 '19 at 16:34
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    3. "other settings might cause odd results on boxes" again no, What a 400PPI resolution has anything to do with the overprint of black or change in color? – Rafael Nov 13 '19 at 16:34

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