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Indesign CC (2017) has several presets for exporting a PDF. The presets for High Quality Print and Press Quality both use an older version of PDF. PDF 1.4 is compatible back to Acrobat 5 which was released in 2001.

What are the reasons to keep using such an old format?

What would be the risks of changing the preset to use the most recent option, PDF 1.7?

Thanks!

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PDF standard is a everything including the kitchen sink type solution (so much so that you can not find applications that support ALL features of PDF). You probably have no need for many of the PDF features added in 1.7.

I mean do you really need?

  • Improved support for commenting and security
  • Add comments to 3D-objects
  • More elaborate control over 3D animations

Granted you may need:

  • Embed default printer settings such as paper selection, the number of copies and scaling.

    But I am doubting you actually use this function!

Basically if you do not need, or use, any of the new features of 1.7 then why save as 1.7? It is just waste of effort, at the cost of compatibility. So if you gain nothing, why lose the benefit?

Now there are reasons to save 1.5 and 1.6 though. As 1.5 allows transparency and 1.6 allows embedding open type fonts. This said: There is a benefit of saving the file without transparency when you send a file to a printing agency.

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You’ve sort of answered your own question: COMPATIBILITY. While there have been numerous updates to the PDF specification and lots of cool new features introduced since version 1.4, none of them are particularly relevant to print. So sticking with v1.4 ensures compatibility with a massive range of existing pre-press and print hardware and software. It also reduces the chances of problems or failures resulting from the fact that somebody who you supply files to is running older software, which is way more common than you might think.

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