How? You already did.
Why in the world are they opening a PDF in Illustrator? Illustrator is NOT a general purpose PDF editor.
Find a printer that knows what they’re doing.
This is a donors'/sponsors' sign for a dedication of a construction project.
We aren't dealing with a printing house for this. This is a sign making shop. They commonly use Illustrator for making signs.
I don’t mean to sound cold but if they need Illy artwork then design it in Illustrator..
I will if I have to.
Is that my only option?
The reason I ask is that I arranged a table of 24 names of businesses and individuals in InDesign using its table-creation features. I don't want to throw that away. Since fonts are the issue here, I was wondering if there were some way I could take my InDesign project file (or a PDF from it) to create a vectorized "sign" image to send to them. If there were some way to bypass the font issue, and just make the "sign" into one large conglomerate vector-graphic, that might get us over the finish line.
Other than that, I was wondering if there were another option that would embed the fonts in the document.
There is no way to embed fonts in an InDesign document and even if there was, the printer would still need InDesign.
You can try opening the PDF in Ilustrator yourself but I don’t see how that helps if you don’t even know what version of Illy they’re using. And you can’t embed the fonts there, either.
Open your pdf in Illustrator. If it opens fine, outline the fonts. Ask them what version of illustrator they use and save a copy to that version.
I decided to experiment.
I created different versions of the file. I created a PDF X3A, an EPS, and an AI copy of the PDF.
I have no idea if any of these will work, but I'll giver it a try.
If all else fails, I'll experiment with common fonts. I don't know if that will help with the logos of the major sponsors, though.
I am using InDesign CC
You can use AcrobatPro to convert a PDF's fonts to outline. Choose Print Production>Preflight>PDFFixups>Convert Fonts to Outlines. You'll be asked to Save As. You can check Document Properties>Fonts to make sure the saved doc has no fonts.
I will experiment with the Acrobat option tomorrow if the need arises.
Use a custom flattening preset that outlines fonts and export as Acrobat 4 (Edit > Transparency Flattener Presets). You can select the flattener preset in the Advanced tab of the PDF Export dialogue. Text in the PDF will be converted to outlines. Now you can open the PDF in Illustrator, clean it up, and send as an Illustrator file.
The best way to clean it up would be to make a new file in Illustrator with the same dimensions, then use the Group Select tool to copy groups one at a time and paste them in place in the new document.
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On behalf of Adobe …
There are in fact oddball sign making workflows that depend on either Illustrator output via PostScript or limited subsets of PDF. And some actually depend upon CorelDraw files!
If given such information up-front, indeed Adobe InDesign is really not the right tool to create such content.
In terms of exporting PDF from InDesign and opening same in Illustrator, no matter what hackery you apply to the InDesign file either in content creation or PDF export, the simple truth is that Adobe Illustrator is not, repeat is not, repeat yet again is not a general purpose PDF (or even EPS) file editor. Adobe Illustrator, simply stated, doesn't support the full imaging model of PDF (or EPS). Color spaces may change, content may be lost, character encodings may change, text may be rasterized or outlined.
The advice to outline text, although something that we typically abhor, might be one of the few ways you can get a PDF file from InDesign to reasonably open in Illustrator, assuming that all the InDesign content is relatively simple.
Note that the hackery suggested in terms of flattening transparency during PDF export from InDesign isn't foolproof. Don't do it there!
Export with PDF/X-4 settings and then in Acrobat DC Pro, use the preflight fixup to outline text. That is 100% reliable and doesn't muck up other content.
Bottom line, though, is for future projects, if you are dealing with a sign maker (or similar artisan) that absolutely requires Illustrator files, use Illustrator to create the content or alternatively, find a professional with a workflow that can deal directly with PDF files.
I tried looking for the "Print Production" command that Rob Day mentioned in Acrobat Pro CC, but it wasn't there.
I managed to get there by experimenting. Strangely, I did not use the Tools pane to do it. Same result, though.
I created a new version of the PDF with fonts-as-outlines and sent it to the sign shop.
No word back yet.
The Acrobat Pro DC trick worked.
The file is at the shop and the staff there were able to use it.
Thanks to everyone for your suggestions, technical savvy, and for putting up with this problem.