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.

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    You can simply convert the text layers of Photoshop to vector: graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/55345/…. 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, 2015 at 1:50

2 Answers 2


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 - http://www.vigc.org/standard-preflight-profiles/.

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

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    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 vigc.org. Please know that some users may downvote and could assume you're posting spam. If you have a business relationship with vigc.org please disclose that in your profile and in your answers. Nov 12, 2014 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. Nov 12, 2014 at 4:03
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    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 vigc.org please edit that in your answer so others will not take it differently and I look forward to seeing you around. Nov 12, 2014 at 4:08
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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.

  • Yes, the file is in CMYK. Jun 11, 2014 at 13:28
  • Try flattening the document. It's most likely the transparencies that are causing issue. Jun 11, 2014 at 13:45
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    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! Jun 16, 2014 at 10:35
  • Been there! This highlights a problem with auto preflighting. Jun 16, 2014 at 17:27

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