Using Adobe PDF Presets

Adobe PDF (Portable Document Format) has been hailed as a way to solve the problem of exchanging files with people who don't have the same software that you do. As PDF has matured, Adobe has extended the format to meet more of the specifications required to send a file quickly over the Internet and to print a file reliably on a presstwo opposing goals. Ironically, although PDF was invented to simplify document exchange, there are so many possible ways to set up a PDF that you can easily create a PDF that's wrong for its intended use. You can make a PDF that's too big for the Web, yet lacks necessary information for a press. To help keep PDF simple, Adobe developed presets for exporting PDF files and have standardized those presets across the Adobe Creative Suite, which includes Photoshop.

To see the Adobe PDF presets, choose Edit > Adobe PDF Presets.

You only need to pay attention to Adobe PDF presets if you save a Photoshop file in Photoshop PDF format (Figure 4.24). Photoshop PDF is an option in the Format pop-up menu in the Save As dialog box when you choose File > Save As, or when you use the PDF Presentation command to convert multiple image files into a multiple-page document or a PDF presentation. If you usually save images in Photoshop (PSD), TIFF, or JPEG (JPG) formats, you probably won't need to deal with PDF presets very often. If you're not sure if you need to use the Photoshop PDF format, see the section "Saving Flexible Files" in Chapter 15.

Figure 4.24. The Photoshop PDF format option is available in the Save As dialog box.

About the Built-In Adobe PDF Presets

When you use Photoshop PDF format, chances are you'll simply be able to use one of the built-in presets. Adobe carefully designed presets that would work well for their intended uses. Note, however, that these presets are designed primarily for output from page-layout programs where documents include lots of text and graphics; these presets are included in Photoshop mostly for consistency with other Adobe Creative Suite products. Here's a brief overview of the built-in Adobe PDF presets:

  • High Quality Print. This preset is intended for desktop printing, proofing, or review. It isn't intended for color press outputdon't confuse this preset with the Press Quality preset. It can be good for PDF presentations if you need better image quality than you'd get from the Smallest File Size preset.

  • PDF/X-1a:2001. Don't be intimidated by the cryptic name. PDF/X-1a is an ISO (International Standards Organization) standard for CMYK press output. Some media organizations now specify PDF/X-1a as the standard format for submissions such as ads. If you aren't familiar with PDF/X-1a, just think of it this way: If your clients aren't asking for it, you don't need to worry about it; if your clients are asking for it, all you need to do is save a copy of your Photoshop file with this preset selected and it will conform to the standard.

  • PDF/X-3:2002. This preset exists for the same reasons as PDF/X-1a, but where PDF/X-1a is a pure, traditional CMYK standard, PDF/X-3 allows RGB and color-managed files. Again, you only need to pay attention to this preset if you're required to submit files in the PDF/X-3 format, and all you need to do to comply is save a copy of your Photoshop file with this preset selected.

  • Press Quality. If you're producing a Photoshop PDF file that's going straight to press for CMYK output, select this preset. Note, however, that in many workflows, Photoshop files are saved as Photoshop or TIFF files and placed into a page-layout document (such as those you create with Adobe InDesign) before output to press. Chances are you don't need to use this preset unless you really are preparing a Photoshop PDF file that will be output to press separations without being included in a page-layout document.

  • Smallest File Size. This preset may be useful if you're saving a Photoshop PDF document in order to send it over the Internet for a PDF-based draft review. (Photoshop PDF files work well in review cycles that use the collaborative review features of Adobe Acrobat.) To reach a small file size, this preset drastically compresses images, reducing them to draft quality. Never use the Smallest File Size preset for final high-resolution color output.

Creating Custom Adobe PDF Presets

If your workgroup uses Photoshop PDF extensively, you may decide that you'd like to customize an Adobe PDF preset. Before you do, though, check the built-in presets carefully to see if any of them is already suitable for your needs. Adobe tried to cover the most common print and online uses of PDF when it created the built-in presets. Also, if you have a reason to save Photoshop PDF files instead of in the more typical Photoshop or TIFF formats, chances are it's because your recipient requires certain Adobe PDF settings. Find out which Adobe PDF preset your recipient wants you to specify, or if they've created their own Adobe PDF preset that you need to load. For example, you may be sending a PDF ad to one of the many major magazines that requires ads to be submitted in the PDF/X-1a standard, and because Photoshop already includes a built-in preset for that standard, you won't need to create your own preset.

In the event that you do need to create your own Adobe PDF preset, I'll quickly walk you through the panels.

To examine Adobe PDF presets:


Choose Edit > Adobe PDF Presets.


Select a preset in the Presets list (Figure 4.25).

Figure 4.25. The Adobe PDF Presets in the Adobe PDF Presets dialog box are already tuned and tested for common types of output.


Read the Preset Description and Preset Settings Summary.

To create an Adobe PDF preset:


In the Adobe PDF Presets dialog box, examine the existing presets and select the one that's closest to the preset you want to create.


Click New.


In the Preset field, enter a preset name.


If the preset must conform to a specific PDF standard, choose it from the Standard pop-up menu. To maintain compatibility with the standard you choose, changing the standard may change which options are available in the Edit PDF Preset dialog box.


Select each panel in turn, specify options, and click OK when you're done. For an overview of the options, see the topic "Options in the Edit PDF Preset Dialog Box."

You can't edit any of the built-in PDF presets (the presets in square brackets) If you want to create a variation on a built-in PDF preset, use a built-in preset as a starting point by selecting it before you click the New button.

Options in the Edit PDF Preset Dialog Box

The Adobe Photoshop Help file contains quite a bit of detail about the options in the Edit PDF Preset dialog box (just search for pdf presets in Photoshop Help), so in this topic I focus on how to decide which option you need. I don't cover the Summary panel because all it does is give you a one-stop overview of the settings for that PDF preset.

Don't be surprised that I don't go into a great amount of detail in this section. So many of the options involved in customizing a preset are concepts that are used in other areas of Photoshop already, such as compression and color managementthis isn't the place to discuss those concepts fully. If you want to create a preset and you don't understand all of the compression options, starting from the preset that's closest to the type of output you're targeting should set you up with reasonably appropriate compression settings.

Standard and Compatibility Pop-up Menus

The Standard and Compatibility pop-up menus at the top of the Edit PDF Preset dialog box control which options are available in the other panels of the dialog box (Figure 4.26):

  • Standard. You can select from the PDF/X standards supported by Photoshop. Remember, these standards exist to simplify prepress output. If you're sending PDF files to someone who requires a PDF/X standard, choose it; if not, it's better to choose None.

  • Compatibility. Choosing a later version of PDF can allow better support of transparency and smaller files. However, the PDF/X standards require PDF 1.3 compatibility. The differences among PDF versions are described in detail in the Photoshop Help topic "Adobe PDF Compatibility Levels."

Figure 4.26. The Standard and Compatibility pop-up menus in the Edit PDF Preset dialog box let you conform a PDF preset to the technical requirements of those receiving your PDF files.

General Panel

The options in the General panel (Figure 4.27) are those that don't fit in the other panels:

  • Preserve Photoshop Editing Capabilities. To allow a Photoshop PDF to be fully editable in Photoshop, including layers and text, enable this checkbox. If it's disabled, make sure you keep a copy of the original Photoshop file.

  • Embed Page Thumbnails. All this does is generate a preview thumbnail of the document for Open and Save dialog boxes. It doesn't affect output. If you view a Photoshop PDF in Acrobat, Acrobat can generate a page thumbnail preview too.

  • Optimize for Fast Web Preview. This doesn't affect file size or download speed of a Photoshop PDF on the Webif you enable it, a multi-page PDF displaying in a Web browser will become visible before it completely loads, so you spend less time looking at a blank window. It probably won't make any difference for a single-page Photoshop PDF, but it could make a difference if you create a PDF presentation or contact sheets for Web viewing, because those are typically multiple-page files.

Figure 4.27. The General panel in the Edit PDF Preset dialog box provides basic options for a PDF preset.

Compression Panel

You can find detailed descriptions of the settings in the Compression panel (Figure 4.28) in the Photoshop Help file (the topic is "Compression and Downsampling Options for Adobe PDF"), but frankly, you may not need to worry about them to that degree of detail. Compression settings depend on the output you want, and because Adobe already created very good built-in presets based on press, desktop printing and Internet output, you can get the settings in this panel to be close to ideal if you simply select the preset that most closely matches your output before you click the New button to create your preset. If you then want to fine-tune the settings further, you can study the detailed descriptions of each individual option in the Help file. Here are a few quick pointers on the choices:

  • In general, the choices in the Compression panel are a tradeoff between quality and file size. If you choose settings that generate higher quality, the PDF file size is larger. Test your preset to find the right balance.

  • Downsampling can save space. If you're compressing photographs, Bicubic is probably the best method. If you're compressing art with solid colors, try options other than Bicubic. Your resolution should be consistent with the type of output: 300 dpi or more for press, 150 dpi for general desktop printing, and 100 dpi or below for Web or e-mail.

  • In the Compression pop-up menu, JPEG and JPEG2000 are better for photographs, and ZIP is better for solid-color art.

  • If some options aren't available, try changing the settings in the Standard and Compatibility pop-up menus. Older versions of the PDF standard don't support options like JPEG2000.

Figure 4.28. The Compression panel in the Edit PDF Preset dialog box lets you fine-tune the balance between quality and file size.

Output Panel

Like compression, the correct settings for the Output panel (Figure 4.29) are highly dependent on the output, so once again you'll probably get close to the ideal settings if you simply base your new preset on the existing preset that's closest to the type of output for which the PDF file is ultimately headed. The options in the Color section have to do with color management, so you should change them only if you already have a good working knowledge of color management and color conversion.

Figure 4.29. The Output panel in the Edit PDF Preset dialog box provides options for specific output conditions.

The PDF/X section is available only when you've chosen a PDF/X standard from the Standard pop-up menu, and you can fill out the options in that section only in a way that conforms to the PDF/X standard you chose.

If you often use the PDF Presentation command, you might consider creating an Adobe PDF preset that has higher quality than the Smallest File Size preset but generates a smaller file size than the High Quality Print preset.

Working Smart in Adobe Photoshop CS2
Working Smart in Adobe Photoshop CS2
ISBN: 0321335392
EAN: 2147483647
Year: N/A
Pages: 161
Authors: Conrad Chavez © 2008-2017.
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