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Generating Print-Ready PDFs

It is easy to create Print-Ready PDFs that Fine Line can RIP, Trap and Impose directly to plate. If generated correctly, Print-Ready PDFs can speed your project through Prepress. Read below for details on how to create Print-Ready PDFs.

PDF Editing is Limited

Your document must be complete. Although minor text changes are possible, major changes to a PDF document are not. If you provide a Print-Ready PDF, it needs to be ready-to-RIP.

Here are some "gotchas" that will prevent a PDF from working correctly:

  • Using Acrobat PDFWriter (instead of Distiller).
  • Failing to use the correct Distiller output option (use "PDF/X-3:2002").
  • Forgetting to embed all fonts and graphics.
  • Including graphics with less than 300ppi minimum resolution.
  • Failing to enlarge your paper size for bleeds.


The following software must be installed on your computer to successfully generate Print-Ready PDFs.

Generating PDFs

You can generate Print-Ready PDFs from any application, by installing Adobe Acrobat (not Reader) version 5 or higher. Ignore the "Save as PDF" options available in some applications. Of the major design programs, only InDesign creates reliable Print-Ready PDFs using the "Save as PDF" option.

Rather than exporting a PDF directly, print to a PostScript file. Make sure you set your paper size to one-inch larger than your image size, to compensate for bleeds. Then, use Acrobat Distiller to create a PDF from the PostScript file.

Below are application-specific instructions: