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Try turning off "enhance thin lines" in the Acrobat prefs.
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Never, never use Distiller. Distiller uses an outdated technology.
Choose File > Export > PDF (Print) or PDF (Interactive) depending on your output. For PDF (Print) choose a setting which doesn't flatten transparency (Acrobat 5 or higher).
Never use postscript: That means, no EPS from Illustrator, use AI or PDF/X-4 instead, no making PDF via printing and/or Distiller, use Export instead.
- InDesign can place native Illustrator files (which are an enriched version of PDF files). So use the native Illustrator files. Do not use other file formats like PDF or EPS. As they may work, they may cause some issues.
- Use the Export feature of InDesign to create PDF files.
- For print use PDF X/4. This standard keeps transparency and does delegate the flattening to the RIP. The problem by using a lower version of PDF 1.4 is that transparency needs to be flattened. This is done by converting parts of your artwork into an image. This is only a workaround and will cause problems. Your screenshot suggests to me, that the upper left corner of your frame has been converted into a pixel picture.
- For vector art, there is no difference between a print quality file and a screen quality file, but for pictures there is. You need for pictures finding a tradeoff between quality and size of the file.
On behalf of Adobe Systems, this is not correct advice with regards to placing Illustrator content into InDesign documents!!!
Actually, InDesign really doesn't place Illustrator files; it places the PDF content of an Illustrator file that is saved with the option of including PDF. InDesign doesn't place .AI files that are not saved with the PDF compatibility option and quite frankly, .AI files saved with that option are absolutely not optimal for placing into InDesign. And strictly speaking, Illustrator files are not an “enriched version of PDF files!!"
The most reliable means of placing Illustrator content into an InDesign document is via saving the Illustrator artwork as PDF/X-4 (maintaining full color management and live transparency as well as embedding any fonts used) and then placing the resultant file into your InDesign document.
In terms of printing InDesign content or production of PDF from InDesign, there is no question that PDF/X-4 export will produce the most reliable output. For printing, we recommend PDF/X-4 export and subsequent printing from Acrobat as opposed to printing directly from InDesign.
As others have advised, stay away from either EPS or PostScript for any purpose other than final printing of a PDF file from Acrobat. PostScript was great for 1980s and 1990s workflows, but PostScript technology does not support live transparency or ICC color management.
PS: Unfortunately, there is no guaranteed method of losslessly importing Illustrator content into InDesign as editable content since there are features of Illustrator's graphics model for which there is no corollary in InDesign
Thanks for the insight. If I understand right, Illustrator embeds a PDF copy of the art work. Confusion came by looking at the file headers showing the PDF header or the EPS header .
Now if X/4 is the optimal format for placing Illustrator art InDesign, Adobe should consider embedding the Illustrator artwork as X/4 and not the "Create a PDF compatible file"-format. Why not adding a "Maximize InDesign compatibility" button?
And if PDF X/4 is the ideal format for InDesign, Adobe should refrain of such messages, as this is highly confusing and contra-productive:
A feature I love really with InDesign is to be able to edit the pictures (Photoshop) and art work (Illustrator) with "Edit Original" from inside InDesign. That will go away with the "PDF X/4" solution.
BTW: Either I'm not using all the finest features of Illustrator (and for sure that's the case), but I never had an issue placing Illustrator files. I neither had issues with EPS but then I didn't use transparency. EPS was effectively my format of choice in my early days of graphic art with Freelance and Corel Draw.
As for the PS: I never had the need to import Illustrator data as editable files, except for being able to correct typos in the graphics. To be honest, I'm happy that Adobe did not follow the way of Microsoft with OLE and similar.
This was the answer, Peter. Thanks so much. (Also interesting that in Mac's Preview app, there is no problem, I'm assuming because that app doesn't have the thin lines enhanced to start with.)
Thanks very much for all the information about file format, PDF-export, and the ways Illustrator interacts (and doesn't) with InDesign.
Regarding the word "distill," I was just using the wrong word, picked up decades ago and never shed. I use InDesign's PDF export presets.