I've been doing layouts for years, always using .tifs when placing artwork. I recently received a job (started by another designer) where they were placing the press quality pdf's directly into the layout without converting them to .tifs first. I always thought that this was "taboo". Do any other designers do this and have you had any issues using the pdf directly in layouts? Thank you!


If the pdf is self contained and, well prepared it should be no issues.

It is a common practice when making layouts of magazines where peolpe send de adds.


Always there are things that could go wrong. But make a test, prepare some PDF, make a layout, insert them and at the end, prepare another PDF with the other PDFs inside. If you can see it correctly on the adobe reader, it should do fine.

Some aditional info.

Use the proper file on each case, for example use PSD, or inclusive good quality JPG for photos or bitmap images, AI or PDF for vector files.

A PDF is a good potion where you have embeded text with embeded fonts.

You can convert it to tiff if you need interaction with an image, shadows, etc, but it is a good idea to keep the original file format when possible.

Remember that InDesign link externally this files so any edition made on them can be updated on the final result, this can be an aditional reason to use a PDF while doing a layout.

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  • Thanks Rafael - I remember a time when you couldn't do it, so I've just used .tif's in a layout. So, you can make a Press Quality pdf out of the file containing pdfs and there are no problems? – LouM Jul 10 '16 at 18:29
  • I edited the post. Make some tests so your workflow runs smoothly. – Rafael Jul 10 '16 at 21:37
  • Also worth noting that including a say AI file in Indesign actually does just the same it uses the PDF embedded in the ai file. – joojaa Jul 10 '16 at 22:02
  • Since I am putting together a magazine with pdf's coming from "parts unknown" I have decided to play it safe and convert all of the pdf's into tifs so I can check for cmyk, etc. I'll sleep better at night doing it the way I know best. I'd feel more comfortable placing pdf's directly if I'm the one creating the pdf's, instead 25+ others. thanks again - at least I know it's possible now. – LouM Jul 12 '16 at 0:35

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