25 Replies Latest reply on Jul 3, 2013 8:05 AM by Peter Spier

    PDF file creation drops out


      Creating a PDF file from a large document (230 pages, over 1000 images) in InDesign 5. Goes fine till about 93% finished then drops out without an error message. Help please.

        • 1. Re: PDF file creation drops out
          Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

          Can you export it as two 115 page files?

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: PDF file creation drops out
            Eugene Tyson Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            Export page 1-115 and see if that works ok


            Then export page 116 to 230 see if that's ok


            If it works then you can combine both in acrobat.



            If it doesn't work - you can continue halving the book on export until you find the problematic page(s).



            Export 1-70 then 71-115

            Then 116-170 and then 171-230



            See what section produces the crash - track down the page.



            Once you've tracked down the page you can move half the objects to the Pasteboard


            Export again


            If it crashes then move the items back in place and move the other half off the page.



            Narrow down which item is causing the problem.



            Once you have narrowed it down - the recreate the item in question - don't copy and paste it, but redo it from scratch - i.e., use File Place and place a new photograph into a new image frame.

            1 person found this helpful
            • 3. Re: PDF file creation drops out
              Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

              There are a number of issues that can cause the failure you experienced.


              One is obviously some type of dodgy content. Peter and Eugene have given you pointers to how to track such an issue down.


              However, it is possible that at least with the 32-bit versions of InDesign (CS6 and earlier), you are simply running out of address space for InDesign and its core technology components to complete the PDF export. I have personally experienced this problem with long and complex documents. (This has nothing to do with how much actual memory you have installed!) The workaround I found for exporting PDF from such long and/or complex documents is that after I am done editing, I save the file and close InDesign. I then restart InDesign and open the document. I immediately invoke the export function and don't attempt any other operations before the export finishes! Do not page through the document. That uses up valuable address space and memory used by internal components.


              If that doesn't work, ascertain that you have enough work space on your disk. PDF export can use significant amounts of temp space. (Under Windows, make sure the disk volume that has the TEMP directory has plenty of spare capacity!)


                        - Dov

              2 people found this helpful
              • 4. Re: PDF file creation drops out
                Eugene Tyson Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                I too have found this to be true on occassions.


                Sometimes I will reboot my computer (not sure if it helps?) and restart InDesign and immediately export/print the document.


                It works sometimes too.

                • 5. Re: PDF file creation drops out
                  Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

                  In theory (famous last words), simply restarting InDesign and not transversing the document should suffice. Memory usage and memory leaks within an application don't require reboots either in MacOS or Windows.


                            - Dov

                  • 6. Re: PDF file creation drops out
                    AFUNEVT Level 1

                    Thank you for your help, gentlemen.


                    I had no problems exporting the document in two halves to create two PDF files. But it won't do the whole document. I did everything imaginable to reduce memory use, ran InDesign "cold" with nothing else running after disabling antivirus background tasks. I even switched from high quality display to fast display.


                    So it would appear that I can combine the two smaller PDF files in Acrobat? Trouble is, I don't own Acrobat. I'd rather not get it just for this workaround. I don't know whether there's a 30-day free trial, but I want a permanent solution, as I intend to add to this document and republish in the future.


                    I don't suppose you know of any free third-party software that simply concatenates PDF files?

                    • 7. Re: PDF file creation drops out
                      Eugene Tyson Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                      I wouldn't recommend any 3rd party PDF readers/editors simply because I don't think they can read all of the modules associated with PDFs that acrobat constructs.


                      Did you find a problematic page with the ways I've decscribed to find the problem - I even went on to write a FAQ for the forum for this type of problem.




                      Peter Spier wrote another tip to fixing problematic files.



                      You really do need to track down "why" it's crashing and on what page and what object on the page(s) to fix the issue.

                      • 8. Re: PDF file creation drops out
                        Eugene Tyson Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                        I've had moments where simply restarting InDesign didn't fix the problem at all. Rebooting seems to help  on occassion. However, they're ususally my first port of calls when a PDF won't export or a file won't Print, Restart InDesign and if that doesn't work - then Reboot - before I go trampling over IDML or pulling the document apart.

                        • 9. Re: PDF file creation drops out
                          Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                          If you're still needing help combining the two files, send me a Private Message (click my name to go to my profile) and I'll see waht I can do to help.

                          • 10. Re: PDF file creation drops out
                            AFUNEVT Level 1

                            Eugene, I don't think there is any dodgy content in the file. When I export sections of the document to PDF it's fine. And it always seems to drop out when it's almost finished (around 93 to 98%), so it would appear that it's only a tiny bit too large for InDesign to handle. (I'd planned to add to the document in the future, and this would make matters worse.) I checked disc space and tried immediately after a reboot, to no avail. I currently have two PDF files, one comprising the first 170 pages and the other the last 60, and they're both perfectly functional files.


                            I've never used Acrobat but if, as you say, it will concatenate the smaller PDF files then in future I'll just have to find someone locally who has Acrobat who I can pay to do so for me. I'll follow your advice and steer clear of freeware.

                            • 11. Re: PDF file creation drops out
                              Eugene Tyson Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                              The thing is there is something inherently wrong with your file that it won't make the whole PDF. That's not normal behaviour.


                              Can I suggest that you try to export pages













                              If it fails with any of them, for example fails on 1-210


                              Then can you try 1-209, 1-208 etc.




                              I urge you to find the fault before the file becomes unusable due to some sort of weird corruption.


                              Note: I doubt it will but it can happen

                              • 12. Re: PDF file creation drops out
                                AFUNEVT Level 1

                                Eugene, it takes around two hours to export the whole document to PDF, so what you've suggested will take me days. Before I go down that path, let me provide some further information. I haven't done so till now because I didn't think it relevant (and it probably isn't).


                                A few weeks ago I created a PDF file from the whole document and uploaded it to Blurb (the online self publishers). The first couple of times it failed and I didn't know why, but the third time was successful. The resulting book is at http://www.blurb.com/b/4378549-peregrinations


                                There are a couple of small typos that I've since corrected, and I've also outlined the text at one spot to get around a problem of an incorrectly printing fraction that I've experienced before: http://forums.adobe.com/message/4586386#4586386


                                There was another fraction where I'd already done this, but I'd missed one.


                                These are the only changes I made. I saved the file again and attempted to export to PDF. I still have the earlier .indd file as a backup. They are both 559 Mb.


                                When InDesign opens the document it is clear that it is a large one, as "Opening linked file 5 of 5" (or something like that) appears briefly. Most of the image files are on an outboard drive and are very large (mostly 120 Mb TIFFs) and I'm exporting to 300 dpi, but I've never had a problem with the drive. Finding them all and copying them to the internal C: drive would take me the best part of a week, and I really dont think it would achieve anything.


                                I doubt that there's anything in the above that will help, but I thought I'd give you a more complete picture, in case you think of something.

                                • 13. Re: PDF file creation drops out
                                  Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                  Two hours to export is a LONG time, but you did say 1000 images, and if they're all that big, well...


                                  You could just export the problem pages and swap them, IF you had acrobat....

                                  • 14. Re: PDF file creation drops out
                                    Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

                                    Wow, your book is amazing! Congratulations! It looks beautiful!


                                    Having said that, with all that imagery, it is definitely complex, especially with the edge-to-edge pattern background on each page and a number of drop shadows throughout.


                                    I don't think you mentioned this yet in this thread, but exactly what export options (.joboptions) did you use for the PDF export? Given the document's complexity, if you used any joboption that required color conversions and/or transparency flattening, you are setting yourself up for possible resource problems. If you haven't tried this already, try export the PDF using the PDF/X-4 settings as-is immediately after opening the InDesign document. Let us know if that more reliably creates your PDF file.


                                              - Dov

                                    • 15. Re: PDF file creation drops out
                                      Eugene Tyson Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                      Yeh the book looks amazing.

                                      Can I ask how you put the background image on the pages? Did you place that on each page or did you use master pages?


                                      Is there any way you could package the file and also include an IDML from File>Export or File>Save As along with the files?


                                      You can zip them - and I can PM you my email address. Be interested to take a look at how it was put together, and maybe give you some pointers to help you overcome the issues you're experiencing.

                                      • 16. Re: PDF file creation drops out
                                        AFUNEVT Level 1

                                        Thanks for the compliments, gentlemen. I took the two PDF files in to a local business today. They used Acrobat to combine them, and the resulting file looks fine. I'll find out in due course whether Blurb's website accepts it.


                                        I'm most grateful to you all for you offers of help, but my internet speeds are rather slow, and particularly slow for another week as I've exceeded my gigabyte allowance for the month and my service has been reduced to dial-up speed.


                                        Blurb issues its own Adobe PDF preset, PDF/X-3:2002, and its website refuses to accept anything else. When I started using them three years ago I had a few issues, and they assisted with colour spaces, transparency flattening and things. All the books I've made since (and I've made about forty) have been fine. I'm fast reaching the far outer edges of my limited knowledge of these matters, so I'm very reluctant to fiddle with settings that have served me well.


                                        In answer to your specific question, Eugene: the brown parchment image used for each page is on the master pages. It's been deleted from pages where images would completely cover it. I've never heard of IDML, and just looked up what it is!

                                        If Blurb accepts my big file, then I guess I have an acceptable workaround to my issues. I know that their website is very particular, so I'm not out of the woods yet. For example I observe that the keywords (Properties>Description>Keywords) have gone from the two original PDF files, and these may be necessary to specify book size, etc.


                                        I'm still tossing up whether I'll try to upload the book again next week, as the errors in the original are extremely trivial. I may wait until I've done a few more trips and add a few chapters in the next year or two. Whichever I decide, if there's a problem, and if Blurb can't shed any light, I may re-open this thread or PM one or two of you. In that event, as my internet connection is not terribly reliable for very large files, it might be better to mail you files on a DVD rather than trying to zip and email them.


                                        But whatever happens, I thank you again for your interest and your willingness to help.

                                        • 17. Re: PDF file creation drops out
                                          Eugene Tyson Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                          I wouldn't zip or email them - there's online file transfer sites like "we transfer" and there's options like Dropbox, Skydrive, and other cloud based services - and if you're on Adobe CC you should have been allocated Cloud storage space.


                                          In regards to your book - it's very nice but I think the file size is huge.


                                          I think it's well worth taking it to an InDesign expert and having it reshaped into an InDesign Book format.


                                          That will give you a Panel in Indesign with the file broken down into individual files, which will act as chapters.


                                          This gives you greater flexibility in terms of the size of the file - and exporting single chapters at a time rather than the whole book. But you can still export the entire book.



                                          The InDesign book feature is very powerful and worth learning but it's a bit of a learning curve.

                                          • 18. Re: PDF file creation drops out
                                            Eugene Tyson Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                            In regards to InDesign Book feature, perhaps there's an InDesign expert within your area you could hire to teach you how to use the Book Feature and offer support for you?

                                            • 19. Re: PDF file creation drops out
                                              AFUNEVT Level 1

                                              Thanks Eugene, I've never used the book feature before. I'll see if I can find someone who has!


                                              Online transfer sites still depend on reliable internet connections, and I frequently have issues with my wireless broadband.


                                              I don't use Creative Cloud and I'm a little disappointed that Adobe seem to be forcing us in that direction. As I'm purely a hobbyist living on a pension, and having already forked out several thousand dollars over the years for Adobe products (they cost almost double here in Australia what they do in the US ... we must be a soft touch), I can't justify paying a monthly subscription for software I use only occasionally. (I usually only upgrade every third or fourth version.) I'll continue to use what I own, Photoshop 6 and InDesign 5, as long as possible, then look around for non-Adobe alternatives, unless they change their mind and continue to offer stand-alone products.


                                              I digress!


                                              If the Blurb website accepts my concatenated PDF file, I'll consider this issue solved. If not, I'll either give up on huge tomes in the future, or I'll get back in touch, or I'll look for someone local to help (unlikely to happen, as I live away from the major cities).


                                              For now, I'll keep my fingers crossed.

                                              • 20. Re: PDF file creation drops out
                                                Eugene Tyson Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                With the Creative Cloud you can pay a monthly subscription and stop whenever you like.


                                                I understand the pain of the money invovled, I too pay an increased price because I am not in America.


                                                However, I think if you learned the Book feature well enough you could try break your document into logical chapters - then add them to the Book file.

                                                There's lots of online tutorials.


                                                This I think will help reduce your problems you're having.

                                                • 21. Re: PDF file creation drops out
                                                  Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                                  Exporting individual chapters isn't really going to solve the problem without some way to combine those chapters again, i.e Acrobat Pro. Once you get your connection back it might be worth considering either buying a perpetual license or a single app month-to-month subscription (not sure Acrobat is availble as a single app, though, so you'd need to check). Adobe no longer does disks, so you need to download to install them. You might find a copy of Acrobat on disk still, too, at a local supplier.

                                                  • 22. Re: PDF file creation drops out
                                                    Eugene Tyson Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                    Sorry - of course the individual chapters is no use and needs Acrobat to recombine - it was more of an introduction to the Book panel and what it can do.


                                                    I think for complex documents breaking it up into individual chapters could be very useful and let it export correctly.


                                                    In saying that - if the OP wants to try File>New Book and drag his file into it (no need to do anything else)


                                                    Then use the Book Panel sub menu (top right) and Export Book as PDF.


                                                    This might do the trick? Worth a try.

                                                    • 23. Re: PDF file creation drops out
                                                      Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                                      Actually  I don't think you'd see any difference at all exporting the same content from a single file or broken down into chapters and exported as a single unit from the Book panel. Dov might know more.


                                                      The big advantage to the Book is the compartmentalization and the reduction in lag with redrawing and scrolling times that you'd get from smaller files, along with the safety factor that losing one chapter is just that, one chapter, rather than the whole book in the even of a file disaster. That said, even 300 pages isn't so terribly big for a single file, and if you use cross-references with ID's built-in cross-ref module you should avoid using Books lke the plague if you need refences that would be inter-document when broken apart.

                                                      • 24. Re: PDF file creation drops out
                                                        Eugene Tyson Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                        Good points.


                                                        But I know that the Export in Background Tasks crashing or lags have been resolved by exporting from a book.


                                                        I do publications with 1000's of pages and there's a significant difference for us when we export the 1000's of pages through a broken down chapter by chapter Indesign book - than exporting the entire book from a single file.


                                                        Just think it's worth trying putting the whole thing in the Book panel and bypass teh Background task and see if it exports properly from the Book Panel.

                                                        • 25. Re: PDF file creation drops out
                                                          Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                                          OK, that's a valid point. The book is a foreground export task where the single file is in the background. Even adding the single file to a Book would move it to the background, though. so you don't NEED to divide it to get that advantage (if tying up ID while it exports is an advantage). I haven't seen a file hang on export as a background task in quite some time, though.