I'm using Adobe InDesign CC and Adobe Acrobat Pro XI.

In an InDesign document, I created a vector rectangle with rounded corners.

After exporting the document into "Adobe PDF (Print)", the corners of the mentioned rectangle seem jagged, and so are other curved vector elements in the document.

To confirm that the curves in the exported PDF are indeed jagged, I opened another PDF file of some textbook I have (created by professionals). Indeed, any curved element in the textbook PDF was perfectly smooth.

At this point, I tried to copy the rectangle from my InDesign-exported PDF to the textbook PDF, and see what happens. The result: the rounded/curved corners are no longer jagged; they're smooth. Please see the screenshot attached.

I was unable to find the reason for these jagged curves.

I'd appreciate your help with this matter.

Thanks a lot :-)


  • 1
    One thing I can say is that I don't think this will affect printing quality in any way. And the difference is quite subtle. But it is a bit strange. Must have something to do with different export setting for the two pdfs. In InDesign you can export either "print" or "interactive" pdf. The interactive pdf renders more smoothly on screen. Try fiddling with that. Another thing is that vectors and text can sometimes look a bit chunky when you haven't enabled "Simulate Overprint". Try opening "Output Preview" and play around with the settings.
    – Wolff
    Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 14:37
  • 3
    Looks like you have the element twice on top of itself.
    – joojaa
    Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 15:45
  • @Wolff Thank you! I exported the document as an "interactive" PDF and it did solve the problem. However, this PDF size was too large at first, but then I played around with the export settings (more specifically, the compression settings), and I managed to get a smaller-sized file without significant decrease in its quality. Thanks again for your kind help :)
    – Eran
    Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 23:02
  • Good. Actually i thought @joojaa was right. I've added an answer for you to accept (if you can) so we can wrap this up.
    – Wolff
    Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 17:58
  • @Wolff it could also be a residue of how a very dark deep black with all CMYK components renders.
    – joojaa
    Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 18:42

1 Answer 1


What you are seeing is probably the difference between a print PDF and an interactive PDF.

When you export a PDF from InDesign, you can choose between these two types:

Adobe PDF (Interactive) is used to make PDFs which are meant to be viewed on a screen. It uses a simplified export dialogue. An interactive PDF is always in RGB and can't have bleed (among other things). Although in some cases it can be used for print, it's not recommendable.

Adobe PDF (Print) is (not surprisingly) used to make PDFs suitable for print.

The anti-aliasing in print PDFs can sometimes look a bit chunky on screen depending on the export settings and the settings of the PDF viewer. Interactive PDFs generally render smoother on screen.

I am unsure exactly why this is happening. If someone knows, feel free to edit the answer to include this information.

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