Using Adobe InDesign, I create a new document, draw a rectangle, and apply a drop shadow. Then I export the document as an Acrobat 6 PDF with "Create Acrobat Layers" enabled. The drop shadow effect is rasterized in the PDF as a 200 DPI graphic. My printer requires a minimum resolution of 300 DPI.

I realize that Acrobat 4 uses "Transparency Flattener Presets" to set the resolution of effects. We cannot use Acrobat 4, because our printer requires the "Create Acrobat Layers" feature which is only available starting in versions 5.

As a workaround, we have been adding drop shadows to images using Photoshop, but this is not ideal since the extended bounding boxes cause alignment issues and the drop shadows cannot be multiplied over the background in InDesign.

How can I use InDesign drop shadows and export them at 300 DPI?

  • 200dpi is not low resolution. It should be perfectly adequate for printing a drop shadow. While many printers may ask for 300dpi raster images, it's not and should not be an absolute requirement. Ask your printer for a proof first, and check the quality. If it's fine, then just tell them to go ahead and print the job.
    – Billy Kerr
    Aug 11, 2020 at 10:03
  • 1
    I am looking for the answer to this to and some of the comments here like " 200dpi is not low resolution. It should be perfectly adequate for printing a drop shadow." is completely beside the point and not helpful at all. If a printer preflights files and it flags a dropshadow, they will kick it back and why not try to avoid it getting kicked back at all? May 16, 2022 at 16:39

1 Answer 1


The solution is to temporarily select acrobat 4, choose the high res flattener, then switch back to acrobat 6. The flattener is grayed out, but it's still sets the resolution of the effects.

This feels very hacky and unreliable. I wish they kept the setting in acrobat 6 and just renamed it to Transparency Preset or something, rather than hiding this functionality. I worry that this could be removed in future updates to InDesign.

Thanks to Rob Day in this thread.

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