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Quick Tip: An Introduction to Live Preflight with InDesign CS5

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Traditionally designers would check their layouts manually for errors by using a host of different menus or panels. Commonly known as Preflight, this process has now been turned on its head by the introduction of Live Preflight to InDesign. This feature checks for errors as you work displaying errors in real time, enabling the designer to fix problems throughout the design process. The following tut will serve as an introduction to Live Preflight and detail how to set up and save a Profile for future use.

Step 1

There are two common ways to access the Preflight panel. The first and quickest way is to double click on the Preflight display near the bottom of the document.

Secondly you can access it by going to Window > Output > Preflight.

Step 2

The preflight panel should now be visible. Depending on what document you have open the panel shouldn't be displaying any errors. To the top of the panel there is a drop down menu, by default the Basic profile will be selected.

Step 3

Click and open the fly out menu from the top right hand corner of the panel and select Define Profiles.

The Basic profile will be highlighted on the left side and a list of profile options will be visible.

Step 4

Click on the profile triangle button to the left of a filled box and a list of conditions will collapse into view.

Step 5

These conditions can be turned on and off to suit the user. Feel free to explore these conditions within the Basic Profile.

Step 6

Ok let's create a profile of our own and add a few conditions to cover some important errors. Click once on the New preflight profile button located near the bottom left hand corner of the panel.

A new profile will appear in the profile list. You can choose to rename it by typing new text within Profile Name space at the top of the panel.

Note, that your new profile will mimic the Basic profile's conditions and add them to your new profile.

Step 7

Within the Color option I am going to activate 'Color Spaces and Modes not allowed' with the following condition:

Once finished I am going to collapse the triangle button to keep the panel clutter free.

Step 8

As my design contains a number of color images I am also going to activate the Image Resolution condition with the following settings:

Step 9

Finally I am going to go into the Text conditions and use the following settings:

Step 10

Once you have activated all the conditions you need, press OK to save the changes to the Profile.

Step 11

Now from the drop down menu, select the Profile you just created.

Step 12

After selecting my profile I have noticed that an error has been listed within the panel. To view the details click on the drop down triangle buttons until there is no more.

Click once on the error at the bottom of the list, circled below.

Step 13

The info box at the bottom of the panel will detail the error and even offer a solution to fix it. In this case Live Preflight has found that the Type is too small.

Click on the hyperlink to right of the description and if possible Live Preflight will take you to the error.

With the Preflight panel still open I have increased the point size. The Preflight panel picked up on my amendments and in real time took the error away from the panel.


Take some time to note down some errors that you keep experiencing within your work and use them to build a Live Preflight profile that will automatically spot problems on future layouts.

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