Good evening, I have a question about the exportation of a file made in Indesign that I need to print. I hope you can help me. I have to precise that short time ago I used Freehand for projects as catalogs with many pages. In that case, to export a file that I had to print I had to transform necessarily every image present in the file in TIF at 300dpi and I had to adjust the measure of every single picture (percentage of resizing).

My question is: Is this the process that I have to adopt also when I work with Indesign?

Moreover, If I want to design a catalog or a project similar to a magazine, is it right to realize it with pages placed side by side? If it is the right way, is it necessary to make the edging of 3mm also in the borders of bookbinding? Otherwise, is it an option that is made automatically during the exportation in pdf? I hope that I have exposed properly my doubts. Sorry for my poor English… Thank you very much for your kind help!


1 Answer 1


The basic principles still apply to inDesign, but ID may support more file formats than Freehand (which I have not used).

It is still a good idea to place images that are already sized properly for the use in the printed piece: a 5 x 5 inch image should be CMYK, 1500 x 1500 pixels in size, and cropped properly.

It is possible (and some say preferable) to place an RGB image. Indesign handles images that need to be resampled fine as well, and cropping is not a big deal, but for large image intense projects, it can still be a problem for your printer's equipment: a RGB 20,000 px square image that set in the document to print at .33 inches still must be processed (resampled, color interpolated) at full (data) size by the RIP.

If you are providing PDF files, then the export dialog boxes allow you to set (or disable) downsampling for images over a min dpi threshold. This handles your conversion for anything that doesn't conform to the rule of thumb above. Note that the PDF export embeds the image data which is different than "encapsulating a file" within the PDF. Because of this, the file storage format (TIFF, JFIF (jpeg), PSD) you use has no relevance to the recipient. PDF stores either raw pixel data or JPEG. Note that JPEG is always lossy to some degree and "jpegging a jpeg" is generally considered a bad idea, so it is again advisable to work with non-lossy compression formats when designing and avoiding the move to lossy formats until the very end of the process (the export) to prevent compounding of slight quality losses.

From an archive standpoint, TIFF is still fine and is well supported now and probably into the future. PSD files are supported but long-term version support is (in my mind) questionable. I have 15-20 year old catalog files here and only the TIFF (and SCT) files are openable on my work station.

Regarding "3mm borders for bookbinding", I presume you are talking about "creep" (accounting for paper thickness) and not merely the gutter margin. Usually you set your pages for the "trim size" and let the printer allow for creep when they convert it from "reader spreads" to "printer spreads." If you need to export a 100% "press ready" PDF then you should ask your printer directly.

  • +1.. but I'm not sure about "Indesign handles images that need to be resampled fine" Indesign doesn't do any resampling as far as I know. Have I missed something?
    – Scott
    Oct 22, 2013 at 18:39
  • It does in "export to pdf" for example, but I meant it more like "it doesn't care" or "it can take an image suitable for 10 inches @ 300 dpi and use in position at 3 inches".
    – horatio
    Oct 22, 2013 at 21:02
  • I don't believe at this point it is wise to point to TIFF as an archive format. It would be much wiser to point to PDF/A. Apr 6, 2015 at 18:23

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