Exporting PDF files

PDF (short for Portable Document Format) is a cross-platform WYSIWYG file format developed by Adobe to handle documents in a device- and platform-independent manner. The format has evolved into a worldwide standard for document distribution which works equally well for online or professional electronic publishing.

The word “portable” sums up PDF’s key advantage, and is the common thread among all of the key features of PDF technology:

  • PDF preserves the publication’s original layout and font properties (including Unicode), incorporating color and greyscale/monochrome graphics and even hyperlinks along with text.

  • Anyone with the free Adobe Reader can view PDF files, either from within a web browser window or directly.

  • PDF documents are uniformly supported in the Windows, Macintosh, and UNIX® environments.

  • Since the format incorporates the standard PostScript language, PDF documents print well on nearly all printers.

  • Document content is resizable: readers can zoom in or out to view at different resolution levels.

  • Content is navigable: besides using page navigation buttons, readers can click bookmarks (see the next topic) with links to section headings and key elements. Just as in a web publication, you can add hyperlinks to web pages, email addresses, or files.

  • Annotations in the form of pop-up “sticky notes” allow comments and sidebars.

  • PDF documents are compact—one-fifth the size of comparable HTML files—for faster transmission. To further reduce file size, you can specify compression options for various kinds of graphics within the publication.

  • Security settings are available to let you add password-only access or protect certain document features.

To export your publication as a PDF file:

  1. Prepare the publication following standard print publishing guidelines, and taking the distribution method into account. (See Layout and design tips.)

  2. (Optional) Insert hyperlinks as needed, for example to link table of contents entries to pages in the document.  
    Hyperlinks can open a web page, a page in your publication, a new email message, or an external file (such as a sound or movie). Certain web-specific features other than hyperlinks—such as hotspot graphics, rollovers, Java, and HTML code—are not supported in PDF documents. Only the first frame of animated GIFs will appear.

  3. (Optional) To create pop-up annotations, insert PageHints as needed.

  4. (Optional) Once the publication is final, prepare a bookmark list (see Creating a PDF bookmark list).  
    Bookmarks appear as a separate list in a special pane when the PDF file is viewed. They can link to a specific page or to an anchor (for example, a piece of text or a graphic object) in your publication.

  5. Click PagePlus tbr std publishpdf Exporting PDF files Publish PDF on the Standard toolbar.
    – or -

    Select Publish as PDF… from the File menu.

  6. From the dialog, check your export settings.

General tab


Print Range
To export less than the whole publication, specify the range of Pages to export or just the Current Page. When printing a book, you can select Entire book to output all chapters, or Selected chapters to output just those you selected. Whichever option you’ve chosen, a drop-down list lets you export all pages in the range, or just odd or even pages.


For standalone PDFs, select a version of the standard Acrobat format. You’ll get best results by using the latest version, but if your intended audience is unlikely to have the latest Reader software, you may opt for an earlier version.
When handing off a PDF file to a professional printer, select either “PDF/X-1″ or “PDF/X-1a” as directed by your print partner. (For more on these formats, see Generating professional output.)


Set a percentage scaling which will enlarge or shrink your PDF output (both page and contents). A 100% scale factor creates a full size PDF output.

  • Scale applies to both width and height so a scale factor of 50% will create PDF output a quarter the area of one produced using a factor of


Check Impose pages to produce a page sequence suitable for a folded publication or one that uses facing pages. Unchecking this option will output pages using the same page order as in the PagePlus publication. Normally you’ll check this option for professional printing (if in doubt, double-check with your print partner).
Check or uncheck to include/exclude hyperlinks, non-printing layers, PageHints or bookmarks in the PDF file. These elements are ignored when a PDF is printed, but for professional printing output you should deselect the options in any case.
For more convenient on-screen viewing in your PDF reader/viewer, you can check Fit to complete page or Fit to page width to specify how the publication will initially appear.
Check or uncheck the Show non-visible layers to include or exclude objects on layers that are currently hidden in your publication.
Check Optimize for Fast Web View to insert code that allows PDF streaming if your file is downloaded for viewing in a web browser. This feature provides pages “on demand” for rapid visibility—so for example if the reader switches to page 99, page 99 will download next. Note: Bear in mind that you’ll see a distinct benefit from PDF streaming only if your file is to be opened from a web site. Enabling the feature will add to the time it takes to publish your file.
Check Preview PDF file to display the document in the PDF reader/viewer immediately after exporting. If unchecked, you won’t see a preview.
Check Show Warnings to show a warning dialog indicating common PDF generation problems such as low-resolution graphics, missing fonts, bleed/crop errors, and inclusion of unsupported PDF form fields. Otherwise, the dialog is not displayed.


Publish profile
Select a preset profile from the Publish profile drop-down list; each profile stores a set of PDF publishing settings for specific types of output (e.g., Press Ready). To save the current combination of PDF output settings as a custom publish profile with a unique name, click the Save As… button next to the Publish profile list. Type in a new name and click OK. In a subsequent session you can recall the profile by selecting its name from the list.

Prepress tab



Select any required options from the “Page Marks” section, i.e.


File Information will include information such time, date, and publication name below the actual artwork (PagePlus page)


Crop marks are small markers on the printed page, marking the page dimensions of the artwork.


Registration targets serve to help the printer align subsequent press runs with the first one. Various styles are available in the Registration Style drop-down list.


A Densitometer bar is a reference strip consisting of 11 squares, with tint values ranging from 0% to 100% in 10% intervals, used to gauge output accuracy with a densitometer. When targeting CMYK separations, the strip appears as shades of gray on each separation sheet; these will appear in the respective process or spot colors when separations are printed.


A color calibration bar is a reference strip consisting of 8 squares, with 100% values for cyan, blue, magenta, red, yellow, green, process black (C+Y+M) and pure black.


To extend the printable area, check Bleed and specify a Bleed limit value.


The Set overprint for black text and black graphics boxes should be checked. Overprinting in this case prevents black elements on top from “knocking out” (eliminating) any underlying colors and ensures there won’t be any registration problems. As a general guideline, leave overprinting on—and use a light-colored background behind black text so that the overprinted black text will be easily legible. The effect may not be visible in an on-screen preview; you’ll need to print out the relevant pages of the PDF to see it.


Compression tab



If your publication is picture-intensive, and you’re prepared to trade off a bit of graphic quality for smaller file size, the Compression tab provides separate options for shrinking Color, Grayscale, and Monochrome images. As some
level of compression is always applied, be sure to inspect the result to make sure the quality meets your standards before passing the PDF to your readers!


Downsample image
Check the box (for a particular type of image) to reduce the resolution of each such image to the value specified in the list.


Select a compression method from the list to apply to downsampled images.


Where applicable for a particular compression method, select a quality level from the list.

Security tab



The Security tab lets you add password protection to keep the contents of your document away from unintended eyes. You can also lock certain capabilities to prevent unauthorized dissemination or changes. Passwords and permissions apply only to the exported document.
If you employ a password, be sure to write it down somewhere!


Require a password to open the document
Check this option to attach a password, then type the password into the field below. Each reader will need to supply this password in order to read the PDF file.


Check Master password required to change permissions and passwords (and then type one into the field) if you want to lock additional document options. The password will be invoked if someone attempts to modify your settings in a PDF editor.
Check one or more boxes below to disable document printing, content modification, content copying, and/or editing of comments and form fields.  

Advanced tab



If your publication uses TrueType or PostScript fonts that your readers are unlikely to have (and if display accuracy is important, which is usually the case), check Embed fonts to include the fonts in the PDF file. That way, the publication will appear exactly as you intended.  
Check Exclude common fonts to ensure that standard Windows fonts like Arial, Times New Roman, Symbol, or Wingdings will not be embedded. It’s safe to assume any Windows users viewing the PDF will already have these fonts—but leave the box unchecked for professional printing to ensure all font information is present.
Checking Subset fonts helps to reduce file size by ensuring that only those characters of a font actually used in the publication (i.e. a subset) are exported. Subsetting “kicks in” for a particular font if less than the Under percentage of the characters in that font is actually used. At the default setting of 100%, subsets are always used. But if you lowered the setting to 50%, and the publication used 75% of the characters in a given font, PagePlus would include the full font set rather than a subset.
If necessary (but it shouldn’t be) you can check Convert text to outlines and uncheck Embed fonts which will cause all text to be treated as graphics.


These settings enable PagePlus objects using applied semi-transparency to be rendered successfully in a PDF reader/viewer that supports transparency, e.g. Adobe Reader. Masking creates a separate monochrome bitmap defining the transparent region, while stripping outputs transparent graphics in thin “slices.” Both methods have pros and cons, with masking generally preferable. Masking and stripping features will add to the output time but may result in more satisfactory transparency.

· Check Use 8-bit alpha channel to maintain alpha-channel transparency without any flattening of graphics.

· Check Flatten and Mask, Flatten and Strip and Flatten only options only after consulting with your print partner. However, older versions of Adobe Reader and some professional RIPs (raster image processors) don’t fully support masking. For Flatten and Strip, you may need to experiment with the Strip size value to achieve the best results. Smaller values mean smoother lines, but more complex PDF files—with the worst case possibility that older versions of Adobe Reader may have difficulty opening the file.

· Set the Transparent area DPI setting as high as your print partner recommends. Otherwise, we recommend 300 dpi for desktop printer output and 96 for online viewing.


Color Management
These settings let you reproduce color accurately between your publication and various devices such as monitors and printers. 
See Managing screen and output colors for more information about Color management.

  • The Output color space selects the color space in which the document’s contents will be defined when the PDF is generated. If you have set compatibility to PDF/X-1 or PDF/X-1a (on the General tab), PagePlus automatically sets output color space to “CMYK” as stipulated by the PDF/X standard. You can use other color spaces depending on the intended use. The choices are:

  • RGB: The publication is output as 24-bit RGB. Any colors present in the publication not in the RGB color space should be converted to RGB values.

  • CMYK: The publication is output as 32-bit CMYK. Any colors present in the publication not in the CMYK color space should be converted to CMYK values. The currently chosen Output intent is used (se
    e below).

  • Native: Any colors present in the publication should be output in their native color space. The resulting PDF may have a mix of RGB and CMYK colors.

  • Grayscale: All colors are converted to single channel 8-bit gray.

  • K only: All colors are converted to CMYK but data is only output  in the K channel. For RGB sources, the K value will be the same as the Grayscale value. For CMYK source, data in the C, M, and Y channels is discarded.

· Check Retain spot colors to force spot colors to be preserved in the PDF, including on recolored images. This enables your print partner to produce a separation for each spot color. If this option is unchecked, all spot colours will be redefined using the output color space you’ve selected.

· Select the Output intent for PDF/X-1a-compatible PDF output; a choice of intents are available including the popular “Coated FOGRA39 (ISO 12647-2:2004)”. Check with your print partner about which output intent should be used.


Check Render complex fills as bitmaps to export such objects as bitmapped graphics, at the expense of a larger PDF file size. Objects that use Linear, Radial, and Conical fills display rather slowly in Adobe Reader. Uncheck the box to leave the objects as vector graphics.

  1. Click OK to proceed to export.

If you checked Preview PDF file (General tab), the resulting PDF file appears in the version of Adobe Reader installed on your system.

Layout and design tips for PDF publications

  • With PDF, even if you decide to use hyperlinks and/or are working in web publishing mode, you are essentially creating a paper-based document so you don’t have to worry about most of the limitations of publishing to HTML (nonstandard fonts, special text properties, overlapping graphics, etc.).

  • While you can stick to paper-based design conventions, don’t overlook the fact that some readers may want to peruse your PDF on-screen. For example, text readability is an important consideration. Conventional wisdom states that sans-serif fonts are more legible on-screen, but run some tests and let your own eye be the judge. As a rule of thumb, increase leading somewhat and use slightly narrower line lengths for on-screen text.

  • Font accuracy is of course a big reason for using PDF in the first place… but you still need to plan ahead. If you haven’t embedded fonts or the used fonts are not available to the PDF recipient, their reader/viewer will substitute fonts for standard Windows fonts (e.g. Arial or Times New Roman families).

  • Complex fills output in vector format slow down the on-screen display of a PDF page; but if converted to bitmaps they expand the file size. So there’s no easy solution but to use them sparingly!

  • For professional printing, we suggest you set up ICC device profiles for image colors and enable color management so that images in the exported file include correct color space information. You can also specify a device profile for your desktop printer for accurate on-screen proofing of desktop-printed colors. For details, see the topic Managing screen and output colors.

Adding Media content (PDF only)

You can insert sound and movie clips into your publication which will play in your exported PDF file, whether you’ve created a PDF slideshow, PDF form or a more simple PDF document. Each type of clip can be placed in a particular position on your PagePlus document’s page, and, when exported as PDF, the clip can be clicked for playback. Media clips can be great accompaniments to your PDF-based promotional, email, or e-learning material!

Your clip can be modified at any time by right-click (select the Media Clip Properties…. option).

  • The AVI movie format is supported.

To add a sound or movie clip:

  1. Choose PagePlus tbr form soundclip Exporting PDF files Sound Clip or PagePlus tbr form movieclip Exporting PDF files  Movie Clip from PDF Media Clip>, located on the Insert menu.
    – or -

    If you’re designing a form, pick the same options from the Forms toolbar.

  2. From the dialog, navigate to the folder location of the media clip, and select the clip. Click Open.

  3. Position the cursor over a point on the page, and either:

  • To insert the clip’s thumbnail at a default size, simply click the mouse.
    – or -

  • To set the size of the inserted thumbnail, drag out a region and release the mouse button.

When the document is exported your media content is ready to be played!

To change a clip’s properties:

  1. Right-click on the clip thumbnail in your PagePlus document, and choose Media Clip Properties….

  2. From the General tab, change the clip’s Title, the Media file itself, and the Compatibility with the Adobe Reader version used by your target audience.

  3. For playback, set the playback to Loop or play Once; include playback controls alongside your placed clip (check Show Player Controls). Optionally, incl
    ude the playback control in a Floating window (if checked).

  4. Check the Locked option to prevent the clip from being altered in the PDF output.

  5. In the Appearance tab, use the Visibility option to show a media clip’s border, and set the thumbnail border’s width, style, and color.

  6. From the Poster section, select a graphic to use as a picture thumbnail instead of the standard sound or movie thumbnail.

Exporting PDF files