35 Replies Latest reply on Sep 2, 2015 2:45 AM by colddrake

    Creating PDF/A compliant pdfs from InDesignCS6 files

    colddrake

      I apologise if this appears twice; I thought I'd posted it about 45 minutes ago, but can't see it. I've been asked to generate PDF/A (1a or 1b) compliant files for an accessible archive from my InDesign CS6 v8 files. PDFs exported directly from Indd fail conversion in Acrobat Pro 10.1.4 due to lack of structure tree root and other things I don't have time to become expert on (I have other work!). I'm currently printing to .ps from Indd and running those files through Distiller 10.1.4. The results fail compliance due to one thing after another; currently CMYK images rather than RGB. I'm now running the Distiller-generated PDFs through Acrobat's conversion with my fingers crossed.

      Is there a better, easier, faster, more effective way to do this? Please? 

        • 1. Re: Creating PDF/A compliant pdfs from InDesignCS6 files
          Willi Adelberger Most Valuable Participant

          With InDesign, Illustrator or Photoshop you should NEVER use PostScript or Distiller, no EPS, no DF via Printing.

          In InDesign you should always place RGB images, also for print projects.

           

          PDF/A can only be made from PDFs in Acrobat Pro.

          • 2. Re: Creating PDF/A compliant pdfs from InDesignCS6 files
            colddrake Level 1

            I'm not sure you understand my problem, or perhaps I don't understand your answer.

            I typeset the original document in InDesign to be printed on paper (images are CMYK for this reason).

            In addition to the files for printing on paper, the client has asked me to produce a PDF/A-1a or -1b version of the document for an online archive.

            Acrobat Pro will not convert the PDFs produced by InDesign to PDF/A compliance: the process fails because the InDesign PDFs lack structure tree roots (and other things).

             

            If I print to .ps from InDesign, Distiller produces a PDF that still fails compliance (for CMYK images and probably other things), but is better than the InDesign version. Acrobat Pro seems to be able to create a PDF/A-1b compliant file from the Distilled PDFs.

            I have now heard from the archiving service, which says the PDF/A -1b produced by Acrobat Pro from the Distilled file is not perfect, but useable.


            I was hoping someone could point to a magic setting in the InDesign PDF export options that would produce PDF/A-1b, or something that Acrobat Pro could convert to a PDF/A-1b compliant file.

            • 3. Re: Creating PDF/A compliant pdfs from InDesignCS6 files
              Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

              It sounds like you are saying the CMYK images are the the main hangup. If that's the case, and you have the original RGB versions, place the RGB in the InDesign file. You can convert to CMYK for print during the export process or, better, leave the images as RGB and the printer can convert in the RIP for the best color match.

              • 4. Re: Creating PDF/A compliant pdfs from InDesignCS6 files
                colddrake Level 1

                Thank you, but sadly I'm not sure the CMYK images are the main hangup, I think they may just be the next in line :-/

                In most cases there are no RGB originals, as the EPS files were generated for print; there are between 50 and 100 images per volume and I've got 5 volumes to deal with (plus set up a workflow for future volumes).

                 

                I am slightly puzzled; are you suggesting that RGB is now the standard format for pre-press images? I'm accustomed to checking CMYK percentages in Pshop for accuracy, rather than relying on the RIP conversion.

                • 5. Re: Creating PDF/A compliant pdfs from InDesignCS6 files
                  Willi Adelberger Most Valuable Participant

                  Never use CMYK IMAGES, use RGB in InDesign. Also for Print. That is the recommended wokflow since14 Years.

                  Export PDF. You will ge PDFs with the needed information. Create tagged PDFs.

                  I don’t understand why you are using ps and distiller.

                   

                   

                  Am 01.09.2015 um 12:39 schrieb colddrake <forums_noreply@adobe.com>:

                   

                   

                  Creating PDF/A compliant pdfs from InDesignCS6 files

                  created by colddrake in InDesign - View the full discussion

                  I'm not sure you understand my problem, or perhaps I don't understand your answer.

                   

                  I typeset the original document in InDesign to be printed on paper (images are CMYK for this reason).

                   

                  In addition to the files for printing on paper, the client has asked me to produce a PDF/A-1a or -1b version of the document for an online archive.

                   

                  Acrobat Pro will not convert the PDFs produced by InDesign to PDF/A compliance: the process fails because the InDesign PDFs lack structure tree roots (and other things).

                   

                   

                   

                  If I print to .ps from InDesign, Distiller produces a PDF that still fails compliance (for CMYK images and probably other things), but is better than the InDesign version. Acrobat Pro seems to be able to create a PDF/A-1b compliant file from the Distilled PDFs.

                   

                  I have now heard from the archiving service, which says the PDF/A -1b produced by Acrobat Pro from the Distilled file is not perfect, but useable.

                   

                   

                   

                  I was hoping someone could point to a magic setting in the InDesign PDF export options that would produce PDF/A-1b, or something that Acrobat Pro could convert to a PDF/A-1b compliant file.

                   

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                  • 6. Re: Creating PDF/A compliant pdfs from InDesignCS6 files
                    Willi Adelberger Most Valuable Participant

                    You should update your know how. Use RGB, turn on CMYK preview in Photoshop. Never convert before PDF export. Never use EPS. Why should you do so?

                     

                    Am 01.09.2015 um 12:58 schrieb colddrake <forums_noreply@adobe.com>:

                     

                     

                    Creating PDF/A compliant pdfs from InDesignCS6 files

                    created by colddrake in InDesign - View the full discussion

                    Thank you, but sadly I'm not sure the CMYK images are the main hangup, I think they may just be the next in line

                     

                    In most cases there are no RGB originals, as the EPS files were generated for print; there are between 50 and 100 images per volume and I've got 5 volumes to deal with (plus set up a workflow for future volumes).

                     

                     

                     

                    I am slightly puzzled; are you suggesting that RGB is now the standard format for pre-press images? I'm accustomed to checking CMYK percentages in Pshop for accuracy, rather than relying on the RIP conversion.

                     

                    If the reply above answers your question, please take a moment to mark this answer as correct by visiting: https://forums.adobe.com/message/7918540#7918540 and clicking ‘Correct’ below the answer

                    Replies to this message go to everyone subscribed to this thread, not directly to the person who posted the message. To post a reply, either reply to this email or visit the message page:

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                    To unsubscribe from this thread, please visit the message page at , click "Following" at the top right, & "Stop Following"

                    Start a new discussion in InDesign by email or at Adobe Community

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                    • 7. Re: Creating PDF/A compliant pdfs from InDesignCS6 files
                      Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                      I don't know anything about the PDF/A standards, but from what you are saying it sounds like you are trying to take a years (possibly decades) old job designed using a 20th Century workflow and shoehorn it into a modern output.

                       

                      InDesign fully supports color management, and live transparency, neither of which are supported in EPS, which means your images must have been pre-converted for a particular press condition. While I continue to convert images to CMYK for color critical work that I know will only go on a particular press, using RGB images allows greater flexibility and the possibility of achieving the greatest color fidelity across multiple output scenarios including presses in the US, Europe and Asia as well as screen output, especially if you send PDF/X-4, which contains full color profile information, to a press that is equipped to handle the color conversions.

                      • 8. Re: Creating PDF/A compliant pdfs from InDesignCS6 files
                        Willi Adelberger Most Valuable Participant

                        photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign use the very same color engine. That is why you will get exactly the very same result when you convert images under the same condition.  Using RGB images allows you more flexibility.

                         

                         

                        Postscript does not support transparency nor colormanagement. That is why you should avoid EPS or printing ps.

                         

                        DIstiller does not support document structure and uses ps. You don’t need to use it from InDesign. Use export to PDF.

                        • 9. Re: Creating PDF/A compliant pdfs from InDesignCS6 files
                          colddrake Level 1

                          That's a reasonable description of the problem, but it's not all of my own making. This job does go to one particular press, which flags RGB illustrations for correction. The illustrations are supplied by a variety of illustrators working with CAD or GIS software or versions (some ancient) of Illustrator; .eps was/is the best common denominator export format. If I accept .tif or other image formats I have no control over the resolution of the images they supply; at least with .eps I can edit the illustrations and convert to an appropriate resolution for the content. Image resolution is the bugbear for this project, colour is generally (but not always) less important.

                          • 10. Re: Creating PDF/A compliant pdfs from InDesignCS6 files
                            Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                            I've asked Dov Isaacs, Adobe Principal Scientist for PDF, to drop in here.

                             

                            I've done a very little research on PDF/A and I think that some of what Willi and I are saying is off the mark -- for example transparency would be forbidden in the requested versions, but it looks to me like color management information might be desirable since this is an archive format intended to assure identical print reproduction in the future. My suspicion is that Dov is likely to suggest that PDF/X-4, which is I think a newer standard, is a better choice for long-term archiving because it supports other features of PDF that are not included in PDF/A and will allow reproduction on more devices that are likely to be used in the future.

                            • 11. Re: Creating PDF/A compliant pdfs from InDesignCS6 files
                              Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                              colddrake wrote:

                               

                              That's a reasonable description of the problem, but it's not all of my own making. This job does go to one particular press, which flags RGB illustrations for correction. The illustrations are supplied by a variety of illustrators working with CAD or GIS software or versions (some ancient) of Illustrator; .eps was/is the best common denominator export format. If I accept .tif or other image formats I have no control over the resolution of the images they supply; at least with .eps I can edit the illustrations and convert to an appropriate resolution for the content. Image resolution is the bugbear for this project, colour is generally (but not always) less important.

                              You have my deepest sympathies. I'm not sure there's a good solution to be found here. As an aside, why convert vector EPS to raster?

                              • 12. Re: Creating PDF/A compliant pdfs from InDesignCS6 files
                                colddrake Level 1

                                Requesting that illustrations be supplied as vector .eps files means I can ensure the illustrations are at an appropriate resolution for their content.

                                Otherwise greyscale and colour illustrations containing line art (site plans and maps) are often supplied at 300dpi, regardless of the fact we specify 1000dpi in the 'Instructions to Authors'

                                 

                                WA: "DIstiller does not support document structure and uses ps. You don’t need to use it from InDesign. Use export to PDF."

                                I have just tried this again with another file.

                                I exported from InDesign CS6 v8 using the 'high quality print' settings (this allows me to set output to sRGB)

                                I specified tagged PDF, not optimised for fast web view, visible layers only, no compression of text or artwork.

                                I opened the PDF file in Acrobat Pro 10.1.4 and pre-flighted conversion to PDF/A-1b.

                                The conversion failed due to XMP property neither predefined nor defined in extension schema.

                                 

                                It's possible that the archive service will be able to correct the XMP issue if I send them the file.

                                Thank you for trying to assist me. I've been researching this online and it's clear that PDF/A conversion is a difficult matter, probably best left to specialists.

                                • 13. Re: Creating PDF/A compliant pdfs from InDesignCS6 files
                                  colddrake Level 1
                                  You have my deepest sympathies. I'm not sure there's a good solution to be found here.


                                  I'm used to the illustration problem - over the last decade I've managed to convince about half the regular contributors to pass my contact details to their illustrators so I can advise them on formats and resolution before they supply the images.


                                  As an aside, why convert vector EPS to raster?

                                  It allows me to check for peculiarities such as rich blacks that sometimes print grey rather than black when converted to mono (most pages are black plate only).

                                  • 14. Re: Creating PDF/A compliant pdfs from InDesignCS6 files
                                    colddrake Level 1

                                    Thank you!

                                     

                                    I have no control over the archive format, though. As I understand it, this journal is a new entry in an archive that was established some years ago using PDF/A-1a when possible, -1b otherwise.

                                    • 15. Re: Creating PDF/A compliant pdfs from InDesignCS6 files
                                      Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                      colddrake wrote:


                                      As an aside, why convert vector EPS to raster?

                                      It allows me to check for peculiarities such as rich blacks that sometimes print grey rather than black when converted to mono (most pages are black plate only).

                                      I would think you could check thin in Illustrator, too, without converting...

                                      • 16. Re: Creating PDF/A compliant pdfs from InDesignCS6 files
                                        colddrake Level 1

                                        I can, but frankly it's faster to do the conversion than to deal with the worst case scenario. Several hundred (or more) objects on 10 or more layers, and any one of those objects might be a slightly different rich black. I think that file must have had a very strange colour conversion history.

                                        • 17. Re: Creating PDF/A compliant pdfs from InDesignCS6 files
                                          Willi Adelberger Most Valuable Participant

                                          EPs is not the only format with vector support. AI and PDF support also vectors. For InDeseign you should use PDF/X-4.

                                          • 18. Re: Creating PDF/A compliant pdfs from InDesignCS6 files
                                            Chad Chelius Adobe Community Professional

                                            The PDF/A format is an archival format that guarantees readability in the future. I believe that the structure error you are receiving is because the content is not tagged. Tagging is something we do when creating accessible PDF files and the only way to include this information from InDesign is to EXPORT to PDF. That being said, you need to manually add the tagging information in InDesign for this to happen. I'm totally speculating here as I'm not an expert on PDF/A (archival). I will tell you that printing to postscript and distilling will definitely not produce the result that you are looking for.

                                            • 19. Re: Creating PDF/A compliant pdfs from InDesignCS6 files
                                              colddrake Level 1

                                              The people producing the illustrations are not using InDesign, they are using CAD software and older versions of Adobe Illustrator.

                                              .eps is a common denominator format.

                                               

                                              From Indesign CS6 v.8 I generated a PDF using the PDF/X-4 settings (not optimised for web, tagged, set to output ROMM-RGB).

                                              Acrobat Pro 10.1.4 failed to convert it to PDF/A-1b due to 'XMP property neither predefined nor defined in extension schema'.

                                              • 20. Re: Creating PDF/A compliant pdfs from InDesignCS6 files
                                                Steve Werner Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                I suspect that you'll have to get advice in the Acrobat forums. The vast majority of us never create PDF/A files. Try this forum:

                                                 

                                                Creating, Editing & Exporting PDFs

                                                • 21. Re: Creating PDF/A compliant pdfs from InDesignCS6 files
                                                  colddrake Level 1

                                                  Printing to postscript, distilling and passing the resulting file through Acrobat Pro has generated what Acrobat Pro thinks are PDF/A-1b compliant files (whether they actually are, I have no way of telling).

                                                  Acrobat Pro has so far been unable to generate a compliant file from any PDF exported directly from InDesign.

                                                  • 22. Re: Creating PDF/A compliant pdfs from InDesignCS6 files
                                                    Laubender Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                    Here a link to a similar question (and some answers) in the German language forum hilfdirselbst.

                                                    The thread is from 2012, but it was revived lately with some additional answers:

                                                     

                                                    Acrobat PDF/A-1a aus Indesign erstellen ... - PDF in der Druckvorstufe - HilfDirSelbst.ch - Forum

                                                     

                                                    Especially read Olav Drümmer's answer here:

                                                    Acrobat PDF/A-1a aus Indesign erstellen ... - PDF in der Druckvorstufe - HilfDirSelbst.ch - Forum

                                                     

                                                    Uwe

                                                    • 23. Re: Creating PDF/A compliant pdfs from InDesignCS6 files
                                                      Test Screen Name Most Valuable Participant

                                                      There is a universe of difference between PDF/A-1a and PDFA-1b.

                                                       

                                                      The difference is tagging. Tagging is full information about the meaning of everything on the page. What is a header? What is a footnote? What is that picture for and where does it go in the text? This is serious stuff requiring a lot of study and expertise.

                                                       

                                                      You should be exporting not using Distiller. NOT using Distiller. How specifically does an exported file file in Acrobat? Are you using Acrobat 11 at least ... PDF/A processing was deficient before.

                                                      • 24. Re: Creating PDF/A compliant pdfs from InDesignCS6 files
                                                        colddrake Level 1

                                                        Thanks, Steve. That sounds like a good idea.

                                                        • 25. Re: Creating PDF/A compliant pdfs from InDesignCS6 files
                                                          colddrake Level 1

                                                          I'm aware that there is a universe of difference between PDF/A-1a and PDF/A-1b; the archive would prefer 1a, but 1b is acceptable. I'm also aware this is all serious stuff, which is why I asked for advice: it's not my field of expertise.

                                                           

                                                          However, given that the PDFs exported from InDesign failed to convert to PDF/A-anything in Acrobat Pro, I'm very glad I had an old copy of Distiller.

                                                          The archivist has confirmed that the PDFs I produced via Distiller and Acrobat Pro are satisfactory: they validate as PDF/A.

                                                          • 26. Re: Creating PDF/A compliant pdfs from InDesignCS6 files
                                                            Test Screen Name Most Valuable Participant

                                                            given that the PDFs exported from InDesign failed to convert to PDF/A-anything in Acrobat Pro

                                                             

                                                            Yes, and I'm interested in that. If you'd like to know more, please share all the failure messages (a screen shot can be a help with that, but please don't try to email it). Use Preflight, NOT Save As, so you get the messages.

                                                            • 27. Re: Creating PDF/A compliant pdfs from InDesignCS6 files
                                                              colddrake Level 1

                                                              OK.

                                                              I exported a default 'high quality print' PDF from Indd CS6 v.8: to Acrobat 4 standard, not optimised for fast web view, tagged, export visible layers, no compression of text and line art, convert to destination colours, destination sRGBIEC61966-2.1.

                                                               

                                                              I opened that file in Acrobat Pro 10.1.4, preflight-exported to PDF/A-1a. This failed due to 'XMP property neither predefined nor defined in extension schema'

                                                               

                                                              Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 15.48.13.png

                                                              • 28. Re: Creating PDF/A compliant pdfs from InDesignCS6 files
                                                                Test Screen Name Most Valuable Participant

                                                                Hmm, I don't know why it won't fix that. What version of Acrobat do you have? You should certainly have XI or later to work with PDF/A. Try saving as PDF/X-4 instead, then it will have XMP (a metadata thing) and it might work. 

                                                                • 29. Re: Creating PDF/A compliant pdfs from InDesignCS6 files
                                                                  Test Screen Name Most Valuable Participant

                                                                  Sorry, I see you said you have 10.1.4. Might just work, but try my suggestion.

                                                                  • 30. Re: Creating PDF/A compliant pdfs from InDesignCS6 files
                                                                    colddrake Level 1

                                                                    Version issue makes sense, but I'd need to check that the client is willing to pay before I buy an upgrade; this is the only project that now requires it. Printing to .ps, Distilling these, then running the resultant PDFs through Acrobat Pro is generating PDF/A-1b files without any issues - including a PDF of the document that is failing below.

                                                                     

                                                                    From InDesign I exported a PDF/X-4, which defaults to Acrobat 7 (pdf 1.6); set tags on (default was off), fast web view off, visible layers only, no compression of text or artwork, destination ROMM-RGB.

                                                                     

                                                                    I went for broke and tried PDF/A-1a, which failed:

                                                                    Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 16.37.30.png

                                                                     

                                                                     

                                                                    So I wondered if I'd been unfair and tried to generate a PDF/A-1b from the same InDesign X4 pdf. This also failed, interestingly with more errors:

                                                                    Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 16.40.09.png

                                                                    • 31. Re: Creating PDF/A compliant pdfs from InDesignCS6 files
                                                                      Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

                                                                      A few notes about PDF/A.

                                                                       

                                                                      PDF/A is PDF for Archiving. PDF/A-1a and PDF/A-1b are comparable in many respects to PDF/X-1a in that they have ruined (i.e., preflattened) transparency.

                                                                       

                                                                      Newer versions of PDF/A – PDF/A-2a, PDF/A-2b, and PDF/A-2u – support live transparency and color management.

                                                                       

                                                                      Whatever organization that is requiring PDF/A should be able to take PDF/A-2b if they accept A-1b. Although you cannot directly export PDF/A-2 out of InDesign, you can export PDF/X-4. Export PDF/X-4 from InDesign with the tagging option enabled and then in Acrobat DC, apply the Preflight profile to create PDF/A-2b. That should work.

                                                                       

                                                                      FWIW, one of my proposals for the future would be for InDesign not only to support export of PDF/X-4 (and the upcoming PDF/X-6 in 2017), but also PDF/A-2 as well as PDF files tagged as both PDF/X-4 (or PDF/X-6) and PDF/A-2.

                                                                       

                                                                                   - Dov

                                                                      • 32. Re: Creating PDF/A compliant pdfs from InDesignCS6 files
                                                                        Steve Werner Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                                        Thanks for your input, Dov!

                                                                         

                                                                        Dov has probably given you the definitive answer from Adobe. He serves as Adobe's representative at many of these standards organization meetings.

                                                                        • 33. Re: Creating PDF/A compliant pdfs from InDesignCS6 files
                                                                          Laubender Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                                          Hi colddrake,

                                                                          you could also download and install a test version of "MadeToPrint" by Axaio.

                                                                          Olaf Drümmer* has mentioned this plug-in as a possible solution at hilfdirselbst.

                                                                          And offered support through the helpline of Axaio, if there are problems to figure out the right settings.

                                                                           

                                                                          *Sorry Olaf, that I got your name wrong in my post above.

                                                                          (Maybe I thought about Olav Kvern when typing away?)

                                                                           

                                                                          Uwe

                                                                          • 34. Re: Creating PDF/A compliant pdfs from InDesignCS6 files
                                                                            colddrake Level 1

                                                                            Steve, thank you for asking Dov to the forum. His comments are interesting, if not terribly helpful to me personally; it seems as though the goalposts are being moved as far as archivists are concerned. The research I've done online since starting this project has led me to believe that paper has many advantages, not the least being it will still be readable when the lights go out :-/

                                                                            • 35. Re: Creating PDF/A compliant pdfs from InDesignCS6 files
                                                                              colddrake Level 1

                                                                              Laubender, thank you for this suggestion, I've bookmarked Olaf's presentation about the software on Vimeo.