17 Replies Latest reply on Jan 4, 2012 4:23 AM by Peter Spier

    Problems exporting large PDF files

    gmcker

      I am trying to export a 52 page InDesign file to PDF. One or two random pages will not export properly, elements from other pages appear and other graphics which were there in InDesign have dissappeared in the exported PDF file. The most annoying thing is that when I export the offending pages separately, one at a time the export without any problems. Is it possible for Indesign to experience an "information overload" when exporting larger documents? how can I fix this?

       

      thanks,

      Geordie

        • 1. Re: Problems exporting large PDF files
          MW Design Level 4

          Combine the files in Acrobat if you have it is a work-around.

           

          But yes, PDFs can experience issues. If you have Acrobat, can you print to it versus export and have it all show up? If you don't have a PDF print driver, there are decent no-cost ones to test it with.

           

          Take care, Mike

          • 2. Re: Problems exporting large PDF files
            Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

            Unfortunately this is not an uncommon problem when dealing with either very long and/or very complex documents, especially if there are many placed graphics.

             

            From my experience, problems tend to occur in export most frequently when you have been editing such a long and/or complex document for a long time within a single execution of InDesign and have effectively touched all pages simply by paging through the document. The issue may be that of working address space in the various Adobe Core Technology libraries. I seem to be able to avoid this class of problem by doing a save as operation when done editing, terminating InDesign, re-initiating InDesign, opening the document and without paging through the document at all, directly initiating the export PDF operation.

             

            I suspect that this issue will work itself out when (someday) a 64-bit version of InDesign is released, providing a larger address space for all the necessary components. (Note that this is definitely not a product and/or feature announcement for the next major version of InDesign!!!)

             

                      - Dov

            1 person found this helpful
            • 3. Re: Problems exporting large PDF files
              John Hawkinson Level 5

              !! Wow. I am very puzzled by Dov's response, because it is not at all what I would expect. Not sure how to respond to it (so skipping it).

               

              Geordie: Are you using the latest update of InDesign, 7.0.4 or 7.5.2? Beyond Save As, have you tried Export to IDML, and reopning the IDML file? Beyond that, have you tried a non-background PDF export?

              • 4. Re: Problems exporting large PDF files
                Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

                What's there to be “puzzled” about? I am simply reporting that what I have experienced as a long-time and very experienced user of InDesign (and Adobe employee tangentially involved with the InDesign product) in exporting some really gnarly InDesign documents (long, extremely complex and graphically rich, and/or containing many graphically rich and complex placed graphics - usually PDF) to PDF.

                 

                My workaround works for me 100% of the time going back to much earlier versions of InDesign to the present.

                 

                          - Dov

                • 5. Re: Problems exporting large PDF files
                  John Hawkinson Level 5

                  Well, I didn't want to go into the weeds and be too much of a distraction, but since you asked, I guess it's puzzling because:

                   

                  • I work with long complex documents, and it doesn't happen to me.
                  • We don't see many reports of this problem on the forum [I can't remember any, honestly, but I have not dug hard].
                  • There are some similar problems, mostly relating to master page items, that have been fixed in some recent updates.
                  • I don't see how touching many or all page items or pages has much to do with "address space"; sure, it will make InDesign use more virtual memory, but that's a core function of the operating system, and if it's flaking out, there should be many more serious problems. Therefore I am probably misunderstanding your use of "working address space."
                  • If in fact there is some allocation limit that is being hit or leak or whatnot, it ought to be caught be refcounting of the resource, and the various checks in the InDesign debug build, the InDesign server 30-day uptime tests, etc., etc.
                  • The implication is that you have reproducible testcases for this problem and have been unable to get InDesign Engineering to resolve the problem, which is kind of an unfortunate situation to be in, so I slap the label of "puzzling" on it.
                  • An alternative interpretation is that you think the problem isn't easily solvable and haven't really tried to do so, which I also find puzzling.
                  • If the 64 bit InDesign fixes this, it's just papering over the problem. But since we have a 64-bit InDesign Server for Windows (right? I don't use ID Server for much), it should be easily testable today.

                   

                  So, that's basically some rough insight into the things floating around in my head that lead me to be "puzzled."

                  I don't mean to discount your problems, or your workaround; I thought it useful to offer the original poster the standard workarounds and suggestions we tend to offer for the broader category of problem, in case yours did not work (hence "Beyond that").

                  • 6. Re: Problems exporting large PDF files
                    Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                    John Hawkinson wrote:

                     

                    • We don't see many reports of this problem on the forum [I can't remember any, honestly, but I have not dug hard].

                    Had another one last night, and they pop up every month or two, but aren't on the top ten list, I would say.

                     

                    Actually, I find Dov's explanation (or workaround) to be very helpful. Often the reports tell us the export can be accomplished in pieces, just not in one step (I'm not sure it has ever happened to me, but I tend to Save AS regularly), and we mostly suggest combining the chunks in Acrobat. I've often thought it must be some sort of memory limitiation, and Dov seems to confirm this, and offers a somewhat better workaround.

                    • 7. Re: Problems exporting large PDF files
                      Eugene Tyson Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                      It's been a while since it happened for me. I find that if I have to repurpose a file I do a save as. Delete any content not wanted. Then export it as an IDML, open that up and save it from there.

                       

                      I found Dov's explanation quite good and definitely something else to try if things aren't going as well as intended.

                      • 8. Re: Problems exporting large PDF files
                        Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

                        It isn't a matter of long documents as much as graphical complexity.

                         

                        I have documents that are literally 1000+ pages with fairly simple page content (text and simple vector graphics) that I never have problems exporting. On the other hand, I have a 200 “slide” InDesign document on “Reliable PDF Workflows” with exceptionally complex placed graphics that routinely has problems with export if I don't print immediately after invoking InDesign and opening the document.

                         

                        Yes, this is indicative of a memory issue, not in the operating system or computer, but rather in how the Adobe Core Technology components and InDesign cache objects.

                         

                        And yes, if 64-bit resolves the problem, it is in fact masking the underlying problem.

                         

                                  - Dov

                        • 9. Re: Problems exporting large PDF files
                          gmcker Level 1

                          Thanks everyone for all the feedback. I have tried a few things and here is what I found:

                           

                          Fist I should say that I am running Windows 7 Enterprise (64 bit) but I guess InDesign itself is 32bit? Intel Core Duo Processor (2.66 GHz + 2.66 GHz)  with 4GB RAM

                           

                          Indesign is version 7.5 (CS 5.5)

                           

                          1. I tried the Save As workaround with no luck. Save file as a new file, restarted the system, opened and exported without scrolling through pages.

                           

                          2. I tried exporting to IDML with no luck. Save As, open new file, export new file to IDML, open the IDML file and export. The same pages gave me problems.

                           

                          3. I tried printing the file to PostScript and running through Distiller. This Worked!!

                           

                          The issue does seem to have to do with the complexity of the graphics. There were a lot of placed PSD files with adjustment layers ect. Flattening the PSD files and replacing them as Tiff's did reduce the number of problems (but didn't take care of all of them).

                           

                          I guess for now I will just use Distiller.

                           

                          - Geordie

                          • 10. Re: Problems exporting large PDF files
                            Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

                            Seriously, you should report this to Adobe as a bug and be willing and able to supply the files involved. Creation of PDF via distillation of PostScript is a really terrible workaround.

                             

                                      - Dov

                            • 11. Re: Problems exporting large PDF files
                              MW Design Level 4

                              Yes, it is a bug and should be reported...

                               

                              However, as horrible a work-around as it is, we (designers, service bureaus, etc.) used that process without issue for...well over a decade and a half. And it gets the job out the door. So while the software we depend on gets fixed, from my perspective it is most important to finish one job and get on with the next.

                               

                              And besides--please correct me if i am incorrect, Dov--seems to me that Acrobat PDFs are a means of viewing an on-screen rip of what is basically postscript.

                               

                              Take care, Mike

                              • 12. Re: Problems exporting large PDF files
                                Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

                                MikeWenzloff wrote:

                                 

                                ...

                                And besides--please correct me if i am incorrect, Dov--seems to me that Acrobat PDFs are a means of viewing an on-screen rip of what is basically postscript.
                                ...

                                 

                                Mike,

                                 

                                You would have been correct if this was 1997, but since Acrobat 4 (ICC color management added to PDF) and even more so since Acrobat 5 (transparency was added to the PDF imaging model), PostScript is only a subset of the full PDF imaging model. PostScript language level 3 does not support live transparency, ICC color managment, JPEG2000 or JBIG image compression, etc.

                                 

                                PDF created via distillation of PostScript is basically a fairly dumbed-down representation of a graphically-rich InDesign document. PDF created via direct export maintains the full graphical model.

                                 

                                          - Dov

                                • 13. Re: Problems exporting large PDF files
                                  gmcker Level 1

                                  OK, I managed to get the export to work finally (without having to use distiller). When I systematically converted every PSD file in the document to a flattened jpg the pdf file was exported without a hitch. I thought this had already been done but I was mistaken.

                                   

                                  So it seems that the problem was related to the large qty of complex linked PSD files (a total of about 4.4GB of linked graphics). None of the files themselves were corrupt but the large volume was just over the top.

                                   

                                  I'm not a very experienced InDesign user. Is there a script or built in function anywhere to convert all linked PSD's to flattened Tiff's or jpg's and relink?

                                   

                                  thanks,

                                  Geordie

                                  • 14. Re: Problems exporting large PDF files
                                    John Hawkinson Level 5

                                    I'm not a very experienced InDesign user. Is there a script or built in function anywhere to convert all linked PSD's to flattened Tiff's or jpg's and relink?

                                    Two steps. You can build a batch action in Photoshop to do this to an entire folder of images, and then save them with a different extension (.tiff instead of .psd).

                                     

                                    Then, you can use a script like in Batch relinking to different file type - InDesign CS4 to relink the .psd files to the .tiff files.

                                    1 person found this helpful
                                    • 15. Re: Problems exporting large PDF files
                                      gmcker Level 1

                                      Thanks, I'll do that. Maybe some time I'll write a script to do the whole works.

                                       

                                      - Geordie

                                      • 16. Re: Problems exporting large PDF files
                                        Eugene Tyson Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                        Also - flattening to a tiff would have been a better choice. Doubt it would make much difference though as long as you have "maximum" selected for the jpeg quality.

                                        • 17. Re: Problems exporting large PDF files
                                          Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                          gmcker wrote:

                                           

                                          Thanks, I'll do that. Maybe some time I'll write a script to do the whole works.

                                           

                                          - Geordie

                                          InDesign already has a built-in function to relink to a new location, and it can relink to a new file type at the same time. It's in the Links panel flyout menu: Relink to Folder...

                                           

                                          I'm not a scripter, but I imagine it would take some doing to get ID to run a batch command in Photoshop (I guess maybe applescript can do this), so I don't know how practical a single step scrip really would be, or if it's worth the time to write.