In some print publishing workflows, documents are distributed in the format of the authoring application (called the native format). Once approved, the files are saved in PostScript or a proprietary format for prepress work and final printing. Because applications generate PostScript in many different ways, PostScript files can be arbitrarily large and complex. In addition, reliability problems such as missing fonts, corrupt files, missing graphic elements, and unsupported features can result at output time. In response, Adobe and its partners continue to create reliable, PDF-based publishing workflow solutions.

From InDesign, you can export your document to a composite PDF file called a digital master. These digital masters are compact, reliable files that you or your service provider can view, edit, organize, and proof. Then, at the appropriate time in the workflow, your service provider can either output the PDF directly, or process it using tools from various sources for post-processing tasks such as preflight checks, trapping, imposition, and color separation.

PDF files in the workflow

Many large publishers use PDFs to streamline their review and production cycles. For example, numerous magazines and newspapers have adopted PDF as the standard format for delivering advertisements to local publishing offices via satellite or ISDN lines. PDFs enable local publishers to instantly view an advertisement exactly as it was designed, make late-stage text edits, and reliably print from any computer.

PDF workflow technologies and requirements

Adobe is continually addressing the workflow needs of service providers, and recommends that you visit the Adobe website at often for the latest developments. Currently, Adobe addresses publishing workflow needs by providing an integrated system of several technologies:

  • Adobe Acrobat 9, with its support for Adobe PDF version 1.7.
  • Adobe PostScript 3 printing technology, for device-independent support, Adobe In-RIP Trapping, in-RIP color separations, and smooth blends.
  • Adobe InDesign CS4, with its high-resolution page layout capabilities and direct PDF processing.
  • PDF/X, an ISO standard for graphic content exchange that eliminates many of the color, font, and trapping variables that lead to printing problems.

A high-resolution composite PDF workflow typically includes a PostScript 3 output device whose RIP supports in-RIP separations. Therefore, if your output device uses PostScript Level 2 or does not support in-RIP separations, use a preseparated PostScript printing workflow