1. Design & Illustration

How to Save in InDesign as a PDF

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Trying to figure out how to save in InDesign as a PDF? In this walkthrough, I'll show you how to save an InDesign file as a PDF quickly and easily.

1. How to Export InDesign to PDF

Step 1

Let's dig right into how to save an InDesign file as a PDF. You may have noticed that the default InDesign file (INDD) does not behave like a PDF. By default, when you save in InDesign, it will save as an INDD file. We'll talk a little bit more about that later.

Go to File > Export to get started. From the resulting menu, choose Adobe PDF (Print) from the Save As Type or Format dropdown menu. Alternatively, you could choose "Adobe PDF (Interactive)" if you intend to create a PDF intended to be viewed digitally.

Choose the location on your computer where you want to save the PDF file. Enter a name for the PDF file, and then click Save to proceed to the Export Adobe PDF dialog box.

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Step 2

In the Export Adobe PDF dialog box, you can select different options depending on your specific requirements.

You'll find various presets like "High Quality Print," "Smallest File Size," or "Press Quality." Select the preset that best suits your needs, or you can customize the settings by clicking on the tabs on the left side of the dialog box.

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Step 3

There are a lot of settings here to choose from in this left dialog box. Here is an overview of what you need to know.

  • In General settings, you can change things like which pages (selected ones or all) are exported. You can also change the viewing defaults, embed thumbnails, and include hyperlinks here (for interactive PDF files).
  • In the Compression settings, you can alter the compression of the images in your PDF file. 
  • In the Marks and Bleeds settings, you can set which marks and bleeds are visible when you export your PDF.
  • Output handles color conversion, Advanced includes Font and Accessibility options, Security allows you to set a password for your PDF, and Summary includes a summary of your settings.

Once you're happy with your settings, click Export to export your PDF document.

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Step 4

After the export is complete, open the saved PDF file using a PDF reader (like Adobe Acrobat) to check that everything looks as expected. It's important to double-check your work.

In addition, keep in mind that this PDF file is not the same as your INDD file, or working InDesign file. Your INDD file is where you can freely make edits to your InDesign project. A PDF, on the other hand, is more of a final output. It won't give you the same ability to edit your work.

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Adobe InDesign Proposal Template from Envato Elements

Now You Know How to Save in InDesign as a PDF

Figuring out how to save as a PDF in InDesign isn't so tough when you know where to look. Remember, you can always turn to the export settings for presets designed for different kinds of exports. You can also turn the Summary for an overview, to see if the preset suits your needs. This process also applies to Interactive PDF files. Now that you know how to export from InDesign to PDF, what will you create?

Learn More about Adobe InDesign Today

Want to learn more about Adobe InDesign? Check out the collection of free tutorials right here on Envato Tuts+. There's so much more to see, so why not push your InDesign skills further?

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