How to submit press-quality PDFs from InDesign

This article is specifically for users of Adobe InDesign. It applies to any version from 5 on up, and is meant to guide users how best to prepare their files for our commercial printing system. If you have any file preparation questions not answered here, please contact our Support specialists at 909-825-6970, or email Customer Support directly at support@wirzco.com.

Getting ready for Print

Wirz & Company Printing has a few simple file-preparation guidelines to meet for files to print successfully:

  1. Are you finished editing your document and supporting files?
  2. Does your document/files meet our text and color guidelines?
  3. Does your document/files meet our resolution guidelines?
  4. Does your document/files meet our layout guidelines?

You can review our Document and File Preparation Guidelines here. [linkTBD]

Once your InDesign project is ready for production, we need you to submit it to us as one of two formats… either as a native InDesign file or as a print-quality PDF. Each format takes a very different path or workflow through our system, depending on whether or not we need to make any fixes or adjustments to it. Whenever possible, though, we prefer PDF.

Why PDF?

the Adobe InDesign PDF workflow

PDF stands for Portable Document Format… portable because it contains all of the external linked resources… fonts, graphics, file data… everything we need to print it already built-in. Also, when we get a PDF that has been optimized this way, it literally takes advantage of the shortest most reliable path through our workflow. This results in fewer transport issues and better outcomes over all. Fortunately, it’s built right into InDesign and is almost perfectly setup to deliver the kind of PDF we need— with just a couple important adjustments.

Adobe PDF Presets

open the PDF presets menu…

To export your InDesign layout to optimized PDF, first open the PDF Presets menu from the InDesign File menu, then choose Press Quality from the submenu. You will be prompted for a name and location for your exported PDF ( I just use the original file name and add PRINT at the end of it, like “my-file-name-PRINT.pdf” ).

Next, an Export Adobe PDF window appears in which you can fine-tune your PDF options… normally we don’t recommend any changes from the preset settings as they are already what we need… except for a couple of important options that you must set before you finish exporting. But don’t worry… it’s an easy step.

set your marks and bleeds like this…

Marks and Bleeds…

First, select the dialog’s Marks and Bleeds options listed at the left, then check ONLY the boxes for Crop Marks and Use Document Bleeds. Crops help us monitor document position on press equipment while document bleeds help manage finishing processes. ( See this article on Document Bleeds. )[TBD] Check that the reported bleed amount matches what you have set in your document, otherwise you will need to go back to correct your InDesign Document Setup them then adjust your artwork to fit. If your document doesn’t bleed, it’s still a good practice to set them although not absolutely necessary.  If you’re not sure what “bleed” is or how much to set, then read this article [linkTBD] or just call us and ask. It’s no problem and we are happy to help.

Optional Tips…

Before you finish exporting your PDF, there are a couple of helpful tips we can recommend while you’re here:

  • If you have Acrobat Pro or Acrobat Reader: Jump back to the General options pane and find the box marked View PDF after Exporting… checking that option will open the exported file in Acrobat where you can review it. Additionally, when you use Acrobat to view your PDF, you can use it’s Properties option under the File menu to add your name and phone number to the Author Description metadata so we can better track your job through our system.
  • Save Preset: You can preserve all these custom options by choosing to save the current settings as it’s own preset. Just use the Save Preset button located at the lower left of the window and give this new preset a unique name like “Wirz Printing” and it will appear from now on as a choice in the Presets menu.

When you’re ready, click the Export button to finish exporting your PDF file.

Preview your results

previewing the PDF with Acrobat…

You should do a final visual check of your PDF file to insure that bleed and crop marks are included, that everything you want to print is there.

Send us your file

When you’re ready, simply send your PDF file to us. There are several ways to do this, including:

  • Through our web-upload form…
  • As an email attachment
  • Through a file-sharing service, like Dropbox
  • FTP upload to our server (you will need an account first)…
  • USB thumb drive…

Whatever method works best for you. Remember, if you need help please contact us.

Don’t forget to checkout Part 2 of this article on packaging native InDesign files for Commercial Printing.


Further Information

For more information regarding this topic: TBD. 

Did you find this article helpful? You can always call 909-825-6970 and ask us questions about printing and file preparation. Simply ask to speak with a Customer Support Specialist or any of our Graphic Support people, or email us at support@wirzco.com. We want to make your print experience with Wirz & Company Printing a satisfying and successful one.

Get Our Print Guidelines

Download a copy of our Print Guidelines in easy to read PDF format