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Frontier Psychiatrist
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Help! INDD > PDF file appears pixelated when projected, but not on laptop

May 4, 2013 3:34 PM

Tags: #pdf #settings #export #pixelated #indesign #projector #quality #project

Hello, all,


I'm preparing an important presentation and want to ensure that my slides look great when projected at an event next week. I'm concerned because at a practice pitch a couple weeks ago, they appeared pixelated when projected, even though they looked beautiful on my laptop screen. This includes fonts and vector graphics. I had created the slides in InDesign 6 and exported to PDF. I'm posting screen shots of the file settings for each below. Should I have done something differently? Can anyone share best practices for exporting to PDF when the intent is to project the PDF from a laptop? I would really appreciate any advice.  Thanks!





Creative Cloud subcription (InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop 6 were used)

MacBook Pro, 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo

OS X 10.7.5

Waiting on technical details of projector


PDF File Info 1.png

PDF File Info 3.png

PDF File Info 2.png

INDD Doc Setup.png

  • Rob Day
    3,143 posts
    Oct 16, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 5, 2013 8:06 AM   in reply to Frontier Psychiatrist

    How far away from the screen were you sitting when you judged the projection?


    The projector's resolution capability is going to be limited:


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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 5, 2013 9:10 AM   in reply to Frontier Psychiatrist

    If you're displaying the PDF with Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader then any vector content (graphics and text) will scale perfectly; the document setup in InDesign has no bearing other than to set a 4:3 aspect ratio for the pages (PDFs don't measure in pixels). As Rob says there's no getting around the resolution of the projector.


    Given how PDFs behave there's no complex 'best practice' guide for on-screen or projected content driven by a desktop computer. You can work in any color space and use any combination of transparency, raster and vector content you wish, then just run  Export > Interactive PDF with the default options. If you're displaying via a mobile device it's a good idea to work in RGB, as some PDF-reading apps will mess up  CMYK>RGB conversion, and don't bother with any rich media (Flash/video).

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