Adobe InDesign CS4 — How to set up Adobe InDesign CS4 files for a commercial printing company.

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This page has information on how to create a file for a commercial printing company when using Adobe InDesign CS4.

What appears is a brief description on how to prepare your Adobe InDesign CS4 file for printing.

 

Create a New Document in Adobe InDesign CS4

Adobe InDesign CS4 is one of Adobe InDesign's newer programs, and it is very 'user-friendly'.

To create a file using InDesign CS4, click on File, then click New (File > New). These steps can be seen in the below image.

 

You will then be presented with one of two dialogue boxes.

If the dialogue box is the same as the one below, then click More Options.

 

Your dialogue box should look like the one below.

You need to fill in the details, and those details are:

  1. The number of pages.
    • If your document is going to be single sheet of paper, and printing will be on one side only, then place the number "1" inside the box.
    • If your document is going to be single sheet of paper, and printing will be on both sides, then place the number "2" inside the box.
    • If your document is going to be a booklet, then the number entered in the 'number of pages' box should equal the number of pages that you have in your booklet.
  2. The size of the page, and select either the "Landscape" or "Portrait" format button.
    The standard sizes of our products are:
    • A3 — twice the size of a standard business letter — 420mm x 297mm.
    • A4 — size of a standard business letter — 297mm x 210mm
    • A5 — ½ the size of a standard business letter — 210mm x 148mm
    • DL — 1/3rd the size of a standard business letter — 210mm x 99mm
    • A6 — ¼ the size of a standard business letter — 148mm x105mm
    • A7 — 1/8th the size of a standard business letter — 105mm x 74mm
    • Appointment cards — 54mm x 89mm
    • Business cards — 54mm x 89mm
  3. The number of columns. Almost all products will have "1" column.
  4. The saftey margin line.
    • If you are creating a small product, like a business or appointment card, or a small fridge magnet, then set the saftey margin at 5mm.
    • If your product is anything bigger than a business card, then set the margin at 7mm.
  5. The bleed line. This should always be set at 3mm.

Once the details are entered, click the blue OK button.

 

You will now have a new blank document like the below image.

  1. The inner magenta-coloured box is the safety margin line.
  2. The black box is where your job will be trimmed to size — this is the size of your job.
  3. The outer red box is the bleed box.

Sart creating your design. However, please make sure that you follow the two simple rules set out below.

  1. Keep all important text and images inside the inner magenta-coloured box. The reason for this rule is simple to understand if you imagine the following:
    • Imagine if the file is 0.5mm out-of-scew when the file is processed by the computer.
    • Imagine if the printing plates are 0.5mm out-of-scew when the plates are created.
    • Imagine if the printing plates are 0.5mm out-of-scew when the plates are placed onto the printing press.
    • Imagine if the paper is 0.5mm out-of-scew when the paper is run through the printing press.
    • Imagine if the paper is 0.5mm out-of-scew when the paper is trimmed down to the correct size.
       
      If ALL of the above happened, then you would have a collector's item.
      However, if just one or two of the above happened, then your card might look unbalanced (i.e.: the text would appear to be closer to one side of the page than it was on the other.
      By keeping all vital text and images inside the safety margin, we ensure that the page will always look balanced, even if there is a 1mm or 1.5mm movement on the file.
        
      So, keep all important text and images inside the inner magenta-coloured box.
      If you have a look at the below image, you will see that the text and the company logo have been kept inside the saftey margin line.
       
       
  2. If you are going to have any background colours or background images that will print right to the very edge of the page, then please continue all background colours or background images all the way to the red bleed line. The reason for this rule is the same as the reason for the safety margin rule. If we are just a fraction out when we process the file, or create the plate, or place the plate onto the press, or run the paper through the press, or trim the page down to the correct size, then you might end up with a white strip down one side (or across the top or bottom).
      
    The below image shows the background colours continuing to the bleed lines, and all of the vital text and images remaining inside the safety margin line.

 

You can now send your file off to your commercial printing company.
However, we suggest you attend to two more simple matters so that your file will proceed through the printing process without any problems.

  1. The first matter is outlining text.
  2. The second matter is converting your Adobe InDesign CS4 file into a press-ready PDF.

 

Outlining Text

Outlining text before you send a file to your commercial printer solves all "font" issues, and outlining text in InDesign CS4 files is easy.

 

First, highlight the text that you want outlined (put your mouse over the text box that you want outlined, and "double click").

The screen shot below has the "Printing-Online.com.au" text box outlined — you can see the little white boxes at each corner and each edge of the text box.

 

Next, choose: "Type" > "Create Outlines" — the below image shows where the "Type" and "Create Outlines" options are found on an Apple Mac.

 

The text is now outlined, and this can be seen in the below screen shot, where the text box is outlined in 'dotted' form, and all the text itself is outlined with a blue pixillated line.

 

You then highlight the other text boxes, and create outlines in those boxes.

 

You can easily determine whether the text has been outlined by looking to see if the text itself has an outline.
In the below image, the "Printing-Online.com.au" text has a blue line around each letter. This means the text has been outlined. The other text boxes, however, do NOT have any blue lines around them, so their text has NOT been outlined.

 

Once ALL the text has been outlined, you then 'Save' your file.
When you 'Save' the file, please give the file a new name (e.g.: "Leslie Bus Card" could become "Leslie Bus Card Outlined").
The reason for the new name is simple — you might want to alter the text at some stage inthe future, and it is easier to alter text than it is to alter 'outlined text'.

 

Converting InDesign CS4 files to PDFs

Choose "File", then choose "Export" from the drop-down menu.

 

You will then be presented with a Export dialogue box. Two things must be done on this dialogue box:

  1. Name the file. Please make sure that the name:
    • Identifies what the product is (in this examaple it is a business card); and
    • Identifies who the product is for ("Leslie" in this example).
  2. Make sure that the Format drop-down menu is set at either "PDF" or "Adobe PDF".
     
    Once those details are entered, click on the blue "Save" button.

 

You will now be presented with the "Export Adobe PDF" dialogue box (see below).

  1. Ensure that the Adobe PDF Preset drop-down menu is set at "Press quality".
  2. Make sure that the "All" pages radio button is highlighted.
  3. Click on the "Compression" tag (it is just under the blue "General" tag).

 

The dialogue box will change to the below image:

 

  1. Ensure that the "Colour Images" is set at "Bicubic Downsizing" to" "300" and "450" pixels per inch;
  2. Ensure that the "Greyscale Images" is set at " Bicubic Downsizing" to" "300" and "450" pixels per inch;
  3. Ensure that the "Monochrome Images" is set at "Bicubic Downsizing" to" "1200" and "1800" pixels per inch; and then,
  4. Click on the "Marks and Bleeds" tab (it is just below the "Compression" tab).

 

The "Export Adobe PDF" dialogue box will change to the "Marks and Bleeds" page.

  1. Make sure that the "Crop Marks" box is ticked (and ensure that NO OTHER PRINTERS MARKS ARE TICKED — ONLY THE CROP MARKS SHOULD HAVE A TICK).
  2. Ensure that the "Bleeds" are set at 3mm (and ensure that ALL the bleed boxes are set at 3mm).
  3. Click the "Export" button.

 

You now have a file that can be sent to your printing company and, given the text has been outlined and the file is in a PDF format, you can be confident that your file will be processed quickly.