22 Replies Latest reply on Jul 10, 2016 9:56 PM by Barbara Ash

    PDF error - only when making compatible with Acrobat >5

    myDavey Level 1

      I have an InDesign document which I prepared

      In short: Exporting for compatibility Acrobat 4 - everything is fine. But exporting to Acrobat 5 - 9, I get this error:

       

      Details:

      This book gets printed in 3 sizes, I export a PDF from the main doc, then I import that pdf into a new InDesign document and scale it

      The PDF which was exported from the main document is perfect

      However, the other 2 InDesign documents are not, that contain that perfect PDF are NOT!

      When I export them in compatibility with any version higher than Acrobat 4, I get the above error.

      (It is caused by one graphic in the document that I made)

       

      Does anyone have any clue??

      Thanks,

      David

       

       

      I made a sample file so anyone who wants can test and see

      The following is a link to a zip file (on mega.nz) - in the ziip there is an InDesign doc together with some pdfs (test files that I made)

      The InDesign doc has 2 pages:

      • page 1 is the graphic causing the problem.
      • Page 2 is a placed pdf of page 1 (I.e., I exported page 1, and then placed it into page 2

       

      Try opening any of the "Page 1" pdfs in Acrobat, you won't get any issues

      However, opening the "ALL pages" pdfs, Acrobat 4 will be fine, all others will cause error when scrolling to page 2

       

      Further info:

      I am using latest version of InDesign CC and Acrobat Pro CC

      Windows 10 pro 64bit

        • 1. Re: PDF error - only when making compatible with Acrobat >5
          Barbara Ash Adobe Community Professional

          Using your sample file, the problem you describe occurred.

          Then I

          1. Opened your ID file, deleted page 2
          2. Exported page 1 to PDF with compatibility version 8/9.
          3. Created a new page 2 in ID, and placed the exported PDF of page 1 onto page 2.
          4. Exported the two-page ID file to PDF with compatibility version 8/9.

          No problems occurred with the recreated PDF.

          Give it another try. Perhaps the error is just a fluke.

          • 2. Re: PDF error - only when making compatible with Acrobat >5
            myDavey Level 1

            Hi Barbara, thanks so much for testing!

            I just did exactly what you did - I mean exactly:

            1. Opened the ID file - deleted page 2
            2. Exported page 1 with compatibility to Acrobat 8/9
            3. Created a new page 2 and placed that new pdf to page 2
            4. Exported the 2 page pdf with the same settings as before

            I got the same problem!

            What could it be?? Could it be a different setting?

             

            Thanks,

            David

            • 3. Re: PDF error - only when making compatible with Acrobat >5
              Barbara Ash Adobe Community Professional

              These are the export settings I used -- all settings the default [High Quality Print], with the only exception that I choose Acrobart 8/9 compatibility. My software is InDesign CC 2015, Acrobat DC, and operating system is Windows 7 64 bit.

              Untitled-1.jpg

              • 4. Re: PDF error - only when making compatible with Acrobat >5
                myDavey Level 1

                @Barbara, you're right! With your settings it works perfect

                After some troubleshooting, I figured out which setting I was using that caused this problem

                I was converting colors on output to Dot Gain 30%

                 

                Please try this by you - use your same exact settings, just on the output tab, choose "convert colors to destination", and choose Dot Gain 30% (or maybe any - not sure)

                 

                Please let me know what happens by you

                Thanks,

                David

                • 5. Re: PDF error - only when making compatible with Acrobat >5
                  Barbara Ash Adobe Community Professional

                  I got the error message when using 30% dot gain on your sample file.

                  Then I put a different graphic on page 1, exported to PDF, placed the exported PDF on the second page (instead of the one that was on your sample), exported to PDF using 30% dot gain. No error message.

                  I hope this is helpful. At least it gives you another data point.

                  1 person found this helpful
                  • 6. Re: PDF error - only when making compatible with Acrobat >5
                    Willi Adelberger Most Valuable Participant

                    If you import a PDF into InDesign it should always be a PDF/X-4 file. Never use X-3 for placing content.

                    1 person found this helpful
                    • 7. Re: PDF error - only when making compatible with Acrobat >5
                      Barbara Ash Adobe Community Professional

                      Will, interesting point. Is it documented anywhere that imported PDFs should be PDF/X-4?

                      • 8. Re: PDF error - only when making compatible with Acrobat >5
                        Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

                        On behalf of Adobe …

                         

                        No, there is no explicit documentation with regard to placed PDF files being PDF/X-4. However, PDF/X-4 files have live transparency and full color management. As such, they tend to be much more reliable than PDF files with no profiles or pre-flattened transparency. Use of PDF files created with the High Quality Print (not the Press) settings also can work well if the settings are tweaked in include embedding of all ICC profiles.

                         

                                  - Dov

                        1 person found this helpful
                        • 9. Re: PDF error - only when making compatible with Acrobat >5
                          myDavey Level 1

                          @Barbara, thanks for that - I will check into it more

                           

                          @Willi, Wow! That's a strong statement! I've been using placed pdfs as PDF/X1a forever!

                          But actually, what exactly do you mean by X-4? I'm under the understanding that those presets are only sets of settings, and for our discussion now the main thing property would be the compatibility mode - is that what you mean?

                          If this is true, why am I getting problems only when I use this compatibility?

                           

                          Thanks,

                          David

                          • 10. Re: PDF error - only when making compatible with Acrobat >5
                            myDavey Level 1

                            Hi guys, I'm at somewhat of a loss - I dont know where to go from here!

                             

                            1. What in the world can be causing this PDF issue? It's a simple graphic with some shadow effects (transparencies)
                            2. What should I do about this book? Should I just revert back to exporting at compatibility for Acrobat 4?
                              The truth is, I'm not even sure why not!? What is the advantage of making compatible later versions of Acrobat?

                             

                            Any guidance will really be appreciated!

                            Thanks,

                            David

                            • 11. Re: PDF error - only when making compatible with Acrobat >5
                              Willi Adelberger Most Valuable Participant

                              If you use a PDF/X-4 any transparency is kept alive, no images are converted to a different color space, if you use RGB images, they remain in RGB. This allows you later to export from the InDesign file to PDF/X-4, X-3 and X-1a.

                              This is the only type which reduces the quality loss to a minimum.

                              If you use X-1a, everything is converted into CMYK, this is not a modern workflow as it would be better in the majority in the cases to use RGB for images.

                              If you use X-3 or X-1a transparency is redouced, the images got sliced. Normally is the slicing no problem, it is not visible on print. But it is a problem if you export that InDesign file with a flattened placed PDF ´(or EPS) to any RGB output, like interactive PDF, PDF for screen, EPUB or what else it would be. These lines are then frozen into the image and remain visible for anyone.

                               

                              The use of X-4 makes exports compatible to any standard available. Compatibility with flattened PDFs is somehow limited.

                              1 person found this helpful
                              • 12. Re: PDF error - only when making compatible with Acrobat >5
                                Barbara Ash Adobe Community Professional

                                I agree with everything that Will explained. PDF/X-4 is the only preset that supports true transparency, RGB, CMYK, and Spot color inks. Supporting true transparency means that the file is not 'flattened' (sliced). You can see an explanation of flattening here Transparency flattening (Adobe Acrobat Pro DC)  PDF/X-4 does not flatten the artwork. As Will mentioned, most of the time flattening works out just fine, but there are some circumstances where it doesn't.

                                Most of the printers that I've dealt with want CMYK, not RGB, for print jobs, but Will is apparently working with vendors who prefer RGB. Those printers who want RGB are doing the conversion to CMYK themselves, using conversion settings that they know work best with their color management workflow.

                                There was a big change between Acrobat version 4 and Acrobat version 5 and higher. Acrobat 4 had no support at all for transparency. Since your artwork contains transparency, that would not be a good choice. You need at least Acrobat 5.

                                1 person found this helpful
                                • 13. Re: PDF error - only when making compatible with Acrobat >5
                                  Willi Adelberger Most Valuable Participant

                                  Nope, I work with many printers who want CMYK. But if I have placed RGB and among them PDF/X-4 I am still able to export the file as PDF/X-1a and convert images to CMYK upon export from such INDD files. X-4 gives me the flexibility.

                                   

                                  Viele Grüße

                                  Wilhelm Georg Adelberger

                                   

                                  Am 07.07.2016 um 17:08 schrieb Barbara Ash <forums_noreply@adobe.com>:

                                   

                                   

                                  Adobe Community

                                   

                                  PDF error - only when making compatible with Acrobat >5

                                  Antwort von Barbara Ash in InDesign - Komplette Diskussion anzeigen

                                   

                                  I agree with everything that Will explained. PDF/X-4 is the only preset that supports true transparency, RGB, CMYK, and Spot color inks. Supporting true transparency means that the file is not 'flattened' (sliced). You can see an explanation of flattening here Transparency flattening (Adobe Acrobat Pro DC)  PDF/X-4 does not flatten the artwork. As Will mentioned, most of the time flattening works out just fine, but there are some circumstances where it doesn't.

                                   

                                  Most of the printers that I've dealt with want CMYK, not RGB, for print jobs, but Will is apparently working with vendors who prefer RGB. Those printers who want RGB are doing the conversion to CMYK themselves, using conversion settings that they know work best with their color management workflow.

                                   

                                  There was a big change between Acrobat version 4 and Acrobat version 5 and higher. Acrobat 4 had no support at all for transparency. Since your artwork contains transparency, that would not be a good choice. You need at least Acrobat 5.

                                   

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                                  1 person found this helpful
                                  • 14. Re: PDF error - only when making compatible with Acrobat >5
                                    Barbara Ash Adobe Community Professional

                                    I opened myDavey's original sample file, deleted the image on page 2, exported page one using PDFX-4 with 30% dot gain, placed the exported PDF on page 2, exported to PDFX-4 with 30% dot gain. The error message appeared.

                                     

                                    Than I repeated the same steps, exporting page 1 of ID using PDFX-4 with 30% dot gain, placed the DPF on page 2, but this time when exporting the 2-page  ID file, I used PDFX-4 with Output setting No Color Conversion. The error message did not appear. Maybe this workflow solves the problem because the placed PDF already has a 30% dot gain compensation.

                                     

                                    Still, inquiring minds want to know -- Dov, do you know of a reason why 30% dot gain causes an error?

                                    1 person found this helpful
                                    • 15. Re: PDF error - only when making compatible with Acrobat >5
                                      Willi Adelberger Most Valuable Participant

                                      To answer the previous question and here, I will describe why I recommend only to use PDF/X-4:

                                      1. PDF/X-4 does not require any conversion. It allows to pass through all images. Conversion should be done once with the latest output.
                                      2. If PDF/X-4 is placed, you can still export an INDD to PDF/X-1a, PDF/X-3 and PDF/X-4.
                                        If a PDF/X-1a is placed or a PDF/X-3, a PDF/X-4 export is not possible and in many cases, with PDF/X-3 a PDF/X-1a export fails too.
                                      3. When it comes to PDF creation. If you get a PDF require a PDF/X-4 over a PDF with High Quality. Both are good. But PDF/X-4 export fails if not all PDF/X-4 standards are met. High Quality PDF my fail in aspect of embedded fonts but can still be produced. For me, from production perspective is PDF/X-4 the better choice.
                                      4. I would also recommend, if you plan to place a PDF/X-4 to turn off any resampling and reducing image settings. It should be done with the last PDF export.

                                       

                                      Keep in mind, every conversion or any flattening is throwing information over board. Keep them in the file, you keep flexibility alive.

                                      Of course, exceptions are always given. But this is my general strategy.

                                      1 person found this helpful
                                      • 16. Re: PDF error - only when making compatible with Acrobat >5
                                        myDavey Level 1

                                        @Barbara, nice! That's exactly what I realized myself. Seemingly it's the double conversion that's causing the error! But why!? Also, why only this graphic? I have other graphics and shadows that are not causing problems.....

                                         

                                        @Willi, thanks so much for all the clarity! I now understand what you meant all along and what your workflow is

                                        In short, we want as much flexibility as possible. The most flexibility is the actual source file. Second to that is the PDF/X-4 since it leaves everything in it's original state - no conversion, no compression - Sounds great.
                                        However:

                                        1. This seems necessary only if the source file is not going to be available always. If I have my source file - why would I need this flexibility from the pdf itself?
                                        2. In response to Barbara's question, do you mean to say that the conversion to Dot gain 30% also shouldn't be until the last output?
                                          If yes, that's ok. However, like Barbara asked - does anyone have a clue what's going on here - what would cause the issues?
                                        3. In this scenario, my doc has a large placed pdf which was created in a different program - I just realized that that pdf is compatible only for Acrobat 4 - so I guess it doesn't make too much of a difference regarding this specific book.
                                          Anyway, I had to go to print already, so I just exported it for Acrobat 4 - like I've done up until now....

                                         

                                         

                                        Thanks to everyone!

                                        Still looking forward to more clarity - if there is, that is!

                                         

                                        Thanks,

                                        David

                                        • 17. Re: PDF error - only when making compatible with Acrobat >5
                                          Barbara Ash Adobe Community Professional

                                          I also found that there was no error with another graphic, but that graphic didn't have transparency. Do the other graphics that don't cause an error on your end have transparency?

                                          1 person found this helpful
                                          • 18. Re: PDF error - only when making compatible with Acrobat >5
                                            myDavey Level 1

                                            Yes, sure - however, now that you mentioned it, I realized that all the other ones are placed pdfs that have transparency

                                            And I'm sure that they were exported without a color conversion and probably also for Acrobat 4 - that could be why they don't have a problem!

                                            However, one of them is a placed InDesign file that has transparency - that should be similar to having the actual graphic in this document - true?

                                             

                                            It would be interesting do some more testing here:

                                            1. try some other graphics with transparency - creating a new one - to see if it has this issue.
                                            2. try pulling apart this graphic and seeing of there is one part of it that is causing the issue
                                            3. Trying to place it into this InDesign doc by putting it in a different one and then placing that ID doc into this one (confusing... )

                                             

                                            I would love to do it now, but I'm on my way out now for the weekend...

                                            I'll be back to this maybe Sunday

                                             

                                            Thanks for all your help!

                                            Let us know if you come up with anything else.....

                                             

                                             

                                            Thanks,

                                            David

                                            • 19. Re: PDF error - only when making compatible with Acrobat >5
                                              Willi Adelberger Most Valuable Participant

                                              If you place a PDF the INDD file has no access to the original file. If you place an INDD file it is technically the same as placing a PDF/X-4 and Yes, in that case you have access to the original source. But with some networks I experienced problems when placing an INDD file in another one. That is why I have changed the workflow hier to place PDF/X-4.

                                              1 person found this helpful
                                              • 20. Re: PDF error - only when making compatible with Acrobat >5
                                                myDavey Level 1

                                                @Willi, Understood, thanks for the great info here!

                                                 

                                                Now, just an update:

                                                1. I tried pulling apart the pieces to the graphic... it proved that any part of it caused the error
                                                2. I made a new graphic with transparency - simple words with a drop shadow - had the same result! When exporting at >Acrobat 5 with color conversion, pdf had an error
                                                3. Tried placing the InDesign doc - this worked

                                                 

                                                So, it seems pretty clear what the cause of this issue is.

                                                It is obviously because of the double color conversion on transparency, and that's why:

                                                1. When we export it the first time without conversion, the second export is fine, even with color conversion
                                                2. When we place the indd file instead of the pdf, there is no error - simply because there was no color conversion
                                                3. When the first export is exported to compatibility with Acrobat 4, there is no problem because transparency is flattened.

                                                 

                                                I don't know if this is expected behavior or not, but not knowing about it definitely drove me crazy and used a bunch of my hours!

                                                I hope this analysis will be helpful to others - or maybe even cause Adobe to fix something here...

                                                 

                                                 

                                                Thanks,

                                                David

                                                • 21. Re: PDF error - only when making compatible with Acrobat >5
                                                  myDavey Level 1

                                                  Regarding marking "Answered" - I'm not sure who or what gets the answer here

                                                  Barbara and Willi brought great content and advice to the table - I am not sure

                                                  Maybe Willi's #15? or maybe my #20 since it sums everything up?

                                                   

                                                  Advice would be appreciated

                                                  Thanks,

                                                  David

                                                  • 22. Re: PDF error - only when making compatible with Acrobat >5
                                                    Barbara Ash Adobe Community Professional

                                                    From my point of view, your summary is the answer, and others 'Helpful'.

                                                    1 person found this helpful