Use Adobe PDF options to export to PDF in InDesign

Adobe PDF options

  1. InDesign User Guide
  2. Get to know InDesign
    1. Introduction to InDesign
      1. What's New in InDesign
      2. System requirements
      3. Common questions
      4. Use Creative Cloud libraries
    2. Workspace
      1. Workspace basics
      2. Toolbox
      3. Set preferences
      4. Touch workspace
      5. Default keyboard shortcuts
      6. Document recovery and undo
  3. Create and lay out documents
    1. Documents and pages
      1. Create documents
      2. Work with master pages
      3. Work with document pages
      4. Set page size, margins, and bleed
      5. Work with files and templates
      6. Create book files
      7. Add basic page numbering
      8. Number pages, chapters, and sections
      9. Convert QuarkXPress and PageMaker documents
      10. Share content
      11. Understand a basic managed-file workflow
      12. Save documents
    2. Grids
      1. Grids
      2. Format grids
    3. Layout aids
      1. Rulers
  4. Add content
    1. Text
      1. Add text to frames
      2. Threading text
      3. Arabic and Hebrew features in InDesign
      4. Create type on a path
      5. Bullets and numbering
      6. Glyphs and special characters
      7. Text composition
      8. Text variables
      9. Generate QR codes
      10. Edit text
      11. Align text
      12. Wrap text around objects
      13. Anchored objects
      14. Linked content
      15. Format paragraphs
      16. Format characters
      17. Find/Change
      18. Spell check and language dictionaries
    2. Typography
      1. Using fonts in InDesign
      2. Kerning and tracking
    3. Format text
      1. Format text
      2. Tabs and indents
    4. Review text
      1. Track and review changes
      2. Add editorial notes in InDesign
      3. Import PDF comments
    5. Add references
      1. Create a table of contents
      2. Footnotes
      3. Create an index
      4. Endnotes
      5. Captions
    6. Styles
      1. Paragraph and character styles
      2. Object styles
      3. Drop caps and nested styles
      4. Work with styles
      5. Leading
    7. Tables
      1. Format tables
      2. Create tables
      3. Table and Cell styles
      4. Select and edit tables
      5. Table strokes and fills
    8. Interactivity
      1. Hyperlinks
      2. Dynamic PDF documents
      4. Buttons
      5. Forms
      6. Animation
      7. Cross-references
      8. Structure PDFs
      9. Page transitions
      10. Movies and sounds
      11. Forms
    9. Graphics
      1. Understand paths and shapes
      2. Draw with the Pencil tool
      3. Draw with the Pen tool
      4. Apply line (stroke) settings 
      5. Compound paths and shapes
      6. Edit paths
      7. Clipping paths
      8. Change corner appearance
      9. Align and distribute objects
      10. Linked and embedded graphics
      11. Integrate AEM assets
    10. Color and transparency
      1. Apply color
      2. Use colors from imported graphics
      3. Work with swatches
      4. Mix inks
      5. Tints
      6. Undertand spot and process colors
      7. Blend colors
      8. Gradients
      9. Flatten transparent artwork
      10. Add transparency effects
  5. Share
    1. Share and collaborate        
    2. Share for Review
    3. Review a shared InDesign document
    4. Manage feedback 
  6. Publish
    1. Export and publish
      1. Publish Online
      2. Export content for EPUB
      3. Adobe PDF options
      4. Export content to HTML
      5. Export to Adobe PDF
      6. Export to JPEG format
      7. Export HTML
      8. DPS and AEM Mobile overview
    2. Printing
      1. Print booklets
      2. Printer's marks and bleeds
      3. Print documents
      4. Inks, separation, and screen frequency
      5. Overprinting
      6. Create PostScript and EPS files
      7. Preflight files before handoff
      8. Print thumbnails and oversized documents
      9. Prepare PDFs for service providers
      10. Prepare to print separations
  7. Extend InDesign
    1. Automation
      1. Data merge
      2. Plug-ins
      3. Scripting

Adobe PDF option categories

You can set PDF options when you export to PDF or when you create or edit PDF presets. Adobe PDF options are divided into categories. The categories are listed on the left side of the Export Adobe PDF dialog box, with the exception of the Standard and Compatibility options, which are at the top of the dialog box. When you’re exporting to PDF, changing any of the options causes “modified” to appear at the end of the preset name.


Specifies a PDF/X format for the file.


Specifies a PDF version for the file.


Specifies basic file options.


Specifies if artwork should be compressed and downsampled, and if so, which method and settings to use.

Marks and Bleeds

Specifies printer’s marks and the bleed and slug areas. Although the options are the same as in the Print dialog box, the calculations are subtly different because a PDF is not output to a known page size.


Controls how colors and PDF/X output intent profiles are saved in the PDF file.


Controls how fonts, OPI specifications, transparency flattening, and JDF instructions are saved in the PDF file.


Adds security to the PDF file. Security options are not available when you create or edit a PDF preset.


Displays a summary of the current PDF settings. You can click the arrow next to a category (for example, General) to view individual settings. To save the summary as an ASCII text file, click Save Summary. A warning icon  appears with explanatory text if a setting in the selected preset cannot be honored and must be remapped. For example, if a preset specifies source profiles that don’t match the current color settings file, then the profiles specified by the color settings file will be used.

About PDF/X standards

PDF/X standards are defined by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). PDF/X standards apply to graphic content exchange. During PDF conversion, the file that is being processed is checked against the specified standard. If the PDF will not meet the selected ISO standard, a message appears, asking you to choose between canceling the conversion or going ahead with the creation of a non-compliant file. A widely used standards for a print publishing workflow is the PDF/X format such as PDF/X‑1a.

The PDF/X-4 format is reliable for live transparency and color management. This format is optimal for RIP processing, digital printers that use the Adobe PDF Print Engine, and any PDF file to be printed in Acrobat.


For more information on PDF/X, see the ISO website and the Adobe website.

PDF compatibility levels

When you create PDFs, you need to decide which PDF version to use. You can change the PDF version by switching to a different preset or choosing a compatibility option when you save as PDF or edit a PDF preset.

Generally speaking, unless there’s a specific need for backward compatibility, you should use the most recent version (in this case version 1.7). The latest version will include all the newest features and functionality. However, if you’re creating documents that will be distributed widely, consider choosing Acrobat 5.0 (PDF 1.4) or Acrobat 6.0 (PDF 1.5) to ensure that all users can view and print the document.

The following table compares some of the functionality in PDFs created using the different compatibility settings.


Acrobat 8.0 and 9.0 also use PDF 1.7.

Acrobat 3.0 (PDF 1.3)

Acrobat 5.0 (PDF 1.4)

Acrobat 6.0 (PDF 1.5)

Acrobat 7.0 (PDF 1.6) and Acrobat X (PDF 1.7)

PDFs can be opened with Acrobat 3.0 and Acrobat Reader 3.0 and later.

PDFs can be opened with Acrobat 3.0 and Acrobat Reader 3.0 and later. However, features specific to later versions may be lost or not viewable.

Most PDFs can be opened with Acrobat 4.0 and Acrobat Reader 4.0 and later. However, features specific to later versions may be lost or not viewable.

Most PDFs can be opened with Acrobat 4.0 and Acrobat Reader 4.0 and later. However, features specific to later versions may be lost or not viewable.

Cannot contain artwork that uses live transparency effects. Any transparency must be flattened prior to converting to PDF 1.3.

Supports the use of live transparency in artwork. (The Acrobat Distiller feature flattens transparency.)

Supports the use of live transparency in artwork. (The Acrobat Distiller feature flattens transparency.)

Supports the use of live transparency in artwork. (The Acrobat Distiller feature flattens transparency.)

Layers are not supported.

Layers are not supported.

Preserves layers when creating PDFs from applications that support the generation of layered PDF documents, such as Illustrator CS and later or InDesign CS and later.

Preserves layers when creating PDFs from applications that support the generation of layered PDF documents, such as Illustrator CS and later or InDesign CS and later.

DeviceN color space with 8 colorants is supported.

DeviceN color space with 8 colorants is supported.

DeviceN color space with up to 31 colorants is supported.

DeviceN color space with up to 31 colorants is supported.

Multibyte fonts can be embedded. (Distiller converts the fonts when embedding.)

Multibyte fonts can be embedded.

Multibyte fonts can be embedded.

Multibyte fonts can be embedded.

40-bit RC4 security supported.

128-bit RC4 security supported.

128-bit RC4 security supported.

128-bit RC4 and 128-bit AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) security supported.

General options for PDFs

Click the General category in the Export Adobe PDF dialog box to set the following options:


Displays the description from the selected preset, and provides a place for you to edit the description. You can paste a description from the Clipboard.



Exports all pages in the current document or book.


Specifies the range of pages to export in the current document. You can type a range by using a hyphen, and separate multiple pages or ranges by using commas. This option is unavailable when you’re exporting books or creating presets.


Exports pages together as if they were printed on the same sheet.



Do not select Spreads for commercial printing; if you do, the service provider cannot impose the pages.



Initial view settings of the PDF when it’s opened.

This drop-down is enabled only if you select the PDF Standard - None.


Initial layout of the PDF when it’s opened.

If in the Compatibility drop-down, Acrobat 4 (PDF 1.3) or Acrobat 5 (PDF 1.4) is selected, then the following options in the Layout drop-down list are disabled:

  • Two-Up (Facing)
  • Two-Up (Cover Page)


Embed Page Thumbnails

Embeds a thumbnail preview for each page in the PDF, increasing the file size. Deselect this setting when users of Acrobat 5.0 and later will view and print the PDF; these versions generate thumbnails dynamically each time you click the Pages panel of a PDF.

Optimize For Fast Web View

Reduces PDF file size, and optimizes the PDF file for faster viewing in a web browser by restructuring the file for page-at-a-time downloading (byte serving). This option compresses text and line art, regardless of the settings you have selected in the Compression category of the Export Adobe PDF dialog box.


If Compatibility is set to Acrobat 6 (PDF 1.5) or later, tags are compressed for smaller file size. If the PDF is then opened in Acrobat 4.0 or Acrobat 5.0, the tags will not be visible because those versions of Acrobat cannot decompress tags.

Create Tagged PDF

During export, automatically tags elements in the story based on a subset of the Acrobat tags that InDesign supports. This includes recognition of paragraphs, basic text formatting, lists, and tables. (You can also insert and adjust tags in the document before exporting to PDF. See Adding structure to PDFs.)

View PDF After Exporting

Opens the newly-created PDF file in the default PDF viewing application.

Create Acrobat Layers

Saves each InDesign layer as an Acrobat layer within the PDF. Also exports any printer’s marks you’ve included to a separate marks and bleeds layer. The layers are fully navigable, which allows users of Acrobat 6.0 and later to generate multiple versions of the file from a single PDF. For example, if a document will be published in multiple languages, you can place the text for each language in a different layer. A prepress service provider can then show and hide the layers to generate different versions of the document.

If you select the Create Acrobat Layers option when you export a book to PDF, identically named layers are merged by default.


Create Acrobat Layers is available only when Compatibility is set to Acrobat 6 (PDF 1.5) or later.

Export Layers

Determines whether visible layers and nonprinting layers are included in the PDF. You can use the Layer Options settings to determine whether each layer is hidden or set as nonprinting. When exporting to PDF, choose whether you want to export All Layers (including hidden and nonprinting layers), Visible Layers (including nonprinting layers), or Visible & Printable Layers.



Creates bookmarks for table of contents entries, preserving the TOC levels. Bookmarks are created from the information specified in the Bookmarks panel.


Creates PDF hyperlink annotations for InDesign hyperlinks, table of contents entries, and index entries.

Visible Guides And Grids

Exports margin guides, ruler guides, column guides, and baseline grids currently visible in the document. Grids and guides export in the same color used in the document.

Non-Printing Objects

Exports objects to which you have applied the Nonprinting option in the Attributes panel.

Interactive Elements

Choose Include Appearance to include items such as buttons and movie posters in the PDF. To create a PDF with interactive elements, choose the Adobe PDF (Interactive) option instead of the Adobe PDF (Print) option. See Export to interactive PDF options.

Compression and downsampling options for PDFs

When exporting documents to Adobe PDF, you can compress text and line art, and compress and downsample bitmap images. Depending on the settings you choose, compression and downsampling can significantly reduce the size of a PDF file with little or no loss of detail and precision.

The Compression area of the Export Adobe PDF dialog box is divided into three sections. Each section provides the following options for compressing and resampling color, grayscale, or monochrome images in your artwork.

If you plan to use the PDF file on the web, use downsampling to allow for higher compression. If you plan to print the PDF file at high resolution, check with your prepress service provider before setting compression and downsampling options.

You should also consider whether users need to magnify a page. For example, if you are creating a PDF document of a map, consider using a higher image resolution so that users can zoom in on the map.

Downsampling refers to decreasing the number of pixels in an image. To downsample color, grayscale, or monochrome images, choose an interpolation method—average downsampling, bicubic downsampling, or subsampling—and enter the desired resolution (in pixels per inch). Then enter a resolution in the For Images Above text box. All images with resolution above this threshold will be downsampled.

The interpolation method you choose determines how pixels are deleted:

Average Downsampling To

Averages the pixels in a sample area and replaces the entire area with the average pixel color at the specified resolution.

Subsampling To

Chooses a pixel in the center of the sample area and replaces the entire area with that pixel color. Subsampling significantly reduces the conversion time compared with downsampling but results in images that are less smooth and continuous.

Bicubic Downsampling To

Uses a weighted average to determine pixel color, which usually yields better results than the simple averaging method of downsampling. Bicubic is the slowest but most precise method, resulting in the smoothest tonal gradations.


Determines the type of compression that is used:

Automatic (JPEG)

Determines automatically the best quality for color and grayscale images. For most files, this option produces satisfactory results.


Is suitable for grayscale or color images. JPEG compression is lossy, which means that it removes image data and may reduce image quality; however, it attempts to reduce file size with a minimal loss of information. Because JPEG compression eliminates data, it can achieve much smaller files sizes than ZIP compression.


Works well on images with large areas of single colors or repeating patterns, and for black-and-white images that contain repeating patterns. ZIP compression can be lossless or lossy, depending on the Image Quality setting.

JPEG 2000

Is the international standard for the compression and packaging of image data. Like JPEG compression, JPEG 2000 compression is suitable for grayscale or color images. It also provides additional advantages, such as progressive display. The JPEG 2000 option is only available when Compatibility is set to Acrobat 6 (PDF 1.5) or later.

Automatic (JPEG 2000)

Determines automatically the best quality for color and grayscale images. The Automatic (JPEG 2000) option is only available when Compatibility is set to Acrobat 6 (PDF 1.5) or later.

CCITT And Run Length

Are only available for monochrome bitmap images. CCITT (Consultative Committee on International Telegraphy and Telephony) compression is appropriate for black-and-white images and any images scanned with an image depth of 1 bit. Group 4 is a general-purpose method that produces good compression for most monochrome images. Group 3, used by most fax machines, compresses monochrome bitmaps one row at a time. Run Length compression produces the best results for images that contain large areas of solid black or white.


Grayscale images that have been colorized in InDesign are subject to the compression settings for Color Images. However, grayscale images colorized with a spot color (and [None] applied to their frames) use the compression settings for grayscale.

Image Quality

Determines the  amount of compression that is applied. For JPEG or JPEG 2000 compression, you can choose Minimum, Low, Medium, High, or Maximum quality. For ZIP compression, only 8‑bit is available. Because InDesign uses the lossless ZIP method, data is not removed to reduce file size, so image quality is not affected.

Tile Size

Determines the size of the tiles for progressive display. This option is only available when Compatibility is set to Acrobat 6 (1.5) and later, and Compression is set to JPEG 2000.

Compress Text And Line Art

Applies Flate compression (which is similar to ZIP compression for images) to all text and line art in the document, without loss of detail or quality.

Crop Image Data To Frames

May reduce file size by exporting only image data that falls within the visible portion of the frame. Do not select this option if postprocessors might require the additional information (for repositioning or bleeding an image, for example).

Marks and Bleeds options for PDFs

Bleed is the amount of artwork that falls outside of the printing bounding box, or outside the crop marks and trim marks. You can include bleed in your artwork as a margin of error, to ensure that the ink extends all the way to the edge of the page after the page is trimmed or to ensure that a graphic can be stripped into a keyline in a document.

You can specify the extent of the bleed and add a variety of printer’s marks to the file.

Color management and PDF/X output options for PDFs

You can set the following options in the Output area of the Export Adobe PDF dialog box. Interactions between Output options change depending on whether color management is on or off, whether the document is tagged with color profiles, and which PDF standard is selected.


For quick definitions of the options in the Output area, position the pointer over an option and read the Description text box at the bottom of the dialog box.

Color Conversion

Specifies how to represent color information in the Adobe PDF file. All spot color information is preserved during color conversion; only the process color equivalents convert to the designated color space.

No Color Conversion

Preserves color data as is. This is the default when PDF/X‑3 is selected.

Convert to Destination

Converts all colors to the profile selected for Destination. Whether the profile is included or not is determined by the Profile Inclusion Policy.

Convert to Destination (Preserve Numbers)

Converts colors to the destination profile space only if they have embedded profiles that differ from the destination profile (or if they are RGB colors, and the destination profile is CMYK, or vice versa). Untagged color objects (those without embedded profiles) and native objects (such as line art or type) are not converted. This option is not available if color management is off. Whether the profile is included or not is determined by the Profile Inclusion Policy.


Describes the gamut of the final RGB or CMYK output device, such as your monitor or a SWOP standard. Using this profile, InDesign converts the document’s color information (defined by the source profile in the Working Spaces section of the Color Settings dialog box) to the color space of the target output device.

Profile Inclusion Policy

Determines whether a color profile is included in the file. The options vary, depending on the setting in the Color Conversion menu, whether one of the PDF/X standards is selected, and whether color management is on or off.

Don’t Include Profiles

Does not create a color-managed document with embedded color profiles.

Include All Profiles

Creates a color-managed document. If the application or output device that uses the Adobe PDF file needs to translate colors into another color space, it uses the embedded color space in the profile. Before you select this option, turn on color management and set up profile information.

Include Tagged Source Profiles

Leaves device-dependent colors unchanged and preserves device-independent colors as the nearest possible equivalent in PDF. This is a useful option for print shops that have calibrated all their devices, used that information to specify color in the file, and are only outputting to those devices.

Include All RGB And Tagged Source CMYK Profiles

Includes any profiles for tagged RGB objects and tagged CMYK objects, such as placed objects with embedded profiles. This option also includes the Document RGB profile for untagged RGB objects.

Include Destination Profile

Assigns the destination profile to all objects. If Convert To Destination (Preserve Color Numbers) is selected, untagged objects in the same color space are assigned the destination profile so that color numbers don’t change.

Simulate Overprint

Simulates the appearance of printing separations by maintaining the appearance of overprinting in composite output. When Simulate Overprint is unselected, Overprint review must be selected in Acrobat to see the effects of overlapping colors. When Simulate Overprint is selected, spot colors are changed to their process equivalents, and overlapping colors display and output correctly, without Overprint Preview selected in Acrobat. With Simulate Overprint on, and Compatibility (in the General area of the dialog box) set to Acrobat 4 (PDF 1.3), you can soft-proof your document’s colors directly on the monitor before they are reproduced on a particular output device.

Ink Manager

Controls whether spot colors are converted to process equivalents and specifies other ink settings. If you make changes to your document using the Ink Manager (for example, if you change all spot colors to their process equivalents), those changes will be reflected in the exported file and in the saved document, but the settings won’t be saved with the Adobe PDF preset.

Output Intent Profile Name

Specifies the characterized printing condition for the document. An output intent profile is required for creating PDF/X-compliant files. This menu is only available if a PDF/X standard (or preset) is selected in the General area of the Export Adobe PDF dialog box. The available options depend on whether color management is on or off. For example, if color management is off, the menu lists only output profiles that match the destination profile’s color space. If color management is on, the output intent profile is the same profile selected for Destination (provided it is a CMYK output device).

Output Condition Name

Describes the intended printing condition. This entry can be useful for the intended receiver of the PDF document.

Output Condition Identifier

Indicates a pointer to more information on the intended printing condition. The identifier is automatically entered for printing conditions that are included in the ICC registry. This option is not available when using either of the PDF/X‑3 presets or standards, because the file would fail compliance when inspected by the Preflight feature in Acrobat 7.0 Professional and later, or the Enfocus PitStop application (which is a plug‑in for Acrobat 6.0).

Registry Name

Indicates the web address for more information on the registry. The URL is automatically entered for ICC registry names. This option is not available when using either of the PDF/X‑3 presets or standards, because the file would fail compliance when inspected by the Preflight feature in Acrobat 7.0 Professional and later, or the Enfocus PitStop application (which is a plug‑in for Acrobat 6.0).

Font, OPI, and flattening options for PDFs

You can set the following options in the Advanced area of the Export Adobe PDF dialog box.

Subset Fonts When Percent Of Characters Used Is Less Than

Sets the threshold for embedding complete fonts based on how many of the font’s characters are used in the document. If the percentage of characters used in the document for any given font is exceeded, then that specific font is completely embedded. Otherwise, the font is subsetted. Embedding complete fonts increases file size, but if you want to make sure you completely embed all fonts, enter 0 (zero). You can also set a threshold in the General Preferences dialog box to trigger font subsetting based on the number of glyphs a font contains.


Lets you selectively omit different imported graphics types when sending image data to a printer or file, leaving only the OPI links (comments) for later handling by an OPI server.


If Compatibility (in the General area of the dialog box) is set to Acrobat 4 (PDF 1.3), you can specify a preset (or set of options) for flattening transparency. These options are only used when exporting spreads with transparency in artwork.


Acrobat 5 (PDF 1.4) and later automatically preserve transparency in artwork. As a result, the Preset and Custom options are not available for these levels of compatibility.  

Ignore Spread Overrides

Applies the flattener settings to all spreads in a document or book, overriding the flattener preset on an individual spread.

Create JDF File Using Acrobat

Creates a Job Definition Format (JDF) file and starts Acrobat Professional for processing the JDF file. A job definition in Acrobat contains references to the files to be printed as well as instructions and information for prepress service providers at the production site. This option is only available if Acrobat 7.0 Professional or later is installed on your machine. For more information, see Acrobat Help.

Add security to PDF files

When saving as PDF, you can add password protection and security restrictions, limiting not only who can open the file, but also who can copy or extract contents, print the document, and more.

A PDF file can require passwords to open a document (document open password) and to change security settings (permissions password). If you set any security restrictions in your file, you should set both passwords; otherwise, anyone who opens the file could remove the restrictions. If a file is opened with a permissions password, the security restrictions are temporarily disabled.

The RC4 method of security from RSA Corporation is used to password-protect PDF files. Depending on the Compatibility setting (in the General category), the encryption level will be high or low.


Adobe PDF presets don’t support passwords and security settings. If you select passwords and security settings in the Export Adobe PDF dialog box, and then click Save Preset, the passwords and security settings won’t be preserved.

Security options for PDFs

You can set the following options when you create a PDF or when you apply password protection to a PDF. Options vary depending on the Compatibility setting. Security options are not available for PDF/X standards or presets.


Sets the type of encryption for opening a password-protected document. The Acrobat 4 (PDF 1.3) option uses a low encryption level (40‑bit RC4), while the other options use a high encryption level (128‑bit RC4 or AES).

Be aware that anyone using an earlier version of Acrobat cannot open a PDF document with a higher compatibility setting. For example, if you select the Acrobat 7 (PDF 1.6) option, the document cannot be opened in Acrobat 6.0 or earlier.

Require A Password To Open The Document

Select this option to require users to type the password you specify to open the document.

Document Open Password

Specify the password that users must type to open the PDF file.


If you forget a password, there is no way to recover it from the document. It’s a good idea to store passwords in a separate secure location in case you forget them.

Use A Password To Restrict Printing, Editing And Other Tasks

Restricts access to the PDF file’s security settings. If the file is opened in Adobe Acrobat, the user can view the file but must enter the specified Permissions password in order to change the file’s Security and Permissions settings. If the file is opened in Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, or Adobe InDesign, the user must enter the Permissions password, since it is not possible to open the file in a view-only mode.

Permissions Password

Specify a password that is required to change the permissions settings. This option is available only if the previous option is selected.

Printing Allowed

Specifies the level of printing that users are allowed for the PDF document.


Prevents users from printing the document.

Low Resolution (150 dpi)

Lets users print at no higher than 150-dpi resolution. Printing may be slower because each page is printed as a bitmap image. This option is available only if the Compatibility option is set to Acrobat 5 (PDF 1.4) or later.

High Resolution

Lets users print at any resolution, directing high-quality vector output to Adobe PostScript and other printers that support advanced high-quality printing features.

Changes Allowed

Defines which editing actions are allowed in the PDF document.


Prevents users from making any changes to the document that are listed in the Changes Allowed menu, such as filling in form fields and adding comments.

Inserting, Deleting, And Rotating Pages

Lets users insert, delete, and rotate pages, and create bookmarks and thumbnails. This option is only available for high (128‑bit RC4 or AES) encryption.

Filling In Form Fields And Signing

Lets users fill in forms and add digital signatures. This option doesn’t allow them to add comments or create form fields. This option is only available for high (128‑bit RC4 or AES) encryption.

Commenting, Filling In Form Fields, And Signing

Lets users add comments and digital signatures, and fill in forms. This option doesn’t allow users to move page objects or create form fields.

Page Layout, Filling in Form Fields, And Signing

Lets users insert, rotate, or delete pages and create bookmarks or thumbnail images, fill out forms, and add digital signatures. This option doesn’t allow them to create form fields. This option is only available for low (40‑bit RC4) encryption.

Any Except Extracting Pages

Lets users edit the document, create and fill in form fields, and add comments and digital signatures.

Enable Copying Of Text, Images, And Other Content

Lets users select and copy the contents of a PDF.

Enable Copying Of Content And Access For The Visually Impaired

Lets visually impaired users use screen readers to read and copy the document. This option is only available for low (40‑bit RC4) encryption.

Enable Text Access For Screen Reader Devices For The Visually Impaired

Lets visually impaired users read the document with screen readers, but doesn’t allow users to copy or extract the document’s contents. This option is available only for high (128-bit RC4 or AES) encryption.

Enable Plaintext Metadata

Allows users to copy and extract content from the PDF. This option is only available when Compatibility is set to Acrobat 6 (PDF 1.5) or later. Selecting this option allows storage/search systems and search engines to access metadata stored in the document.

Font embedding and substitution

A font can be embedded only if it contains a setting by the font vendor that permits it to be embedded. Embedding prevents font substitution when readers view or print the file, and ensures that readers see the text in its original font. Embedding increases file size only slightly, unless the document uses CID fonts, a font format commonly used for Asian languages. You can embed or substitute fonts in Acrobat or when you export an InDesign document to PDF.

You can embed the entire font, or just a subset of the characters used in the file.

When a font cannot be embedded due to the font vendor settings, and someone who opens or prints a PDF does not have access to the original font, another font is temporarily substituted. To avoid problems, print only PDF files in which fonts can be embedded.

The Multiple Master typeface can stretch or condense to fit, to ensure that line and page breaks in the original document are maintained. The substitution cannot always match the shape of the original characters, however, especially if the characters are unconventional ones, such as script typefaces.

If characters are unconventional (left), the substitution font does not match (right).

Prepare a document for onscreen viewing

With its small file sizes, platform independence, and online navigation, Adobe PDF is an ideal format for distributing documents electronically and viewing them on-screen. You can send Adobe PDF documents to other users as e-mail attachments, or you can distribute the documents on the web or on an intranet.

For information on creating accessible PDF documents, see Adobe InDesign CS4 accessibility.

The following guidelines apply to electronically distributed Adobe PDF files:

  • Before putting Adobe PDF documents on a website, check to see that the text, artwork, and layout in the documents are complete and correct.

  • Make sure that table of contents entries, hyperlinks, and bookmarks are generated correctly. Table of contents entries are generated automatically from information in the Bookmarks panel.

  • Set up passwords and other security options.

  • Use a file name of no more than eight characters, followed by an extension of up to three characters. Many networks and e-mail programs shorten long file names.

  • Make sure that the file name has a PDF extension if users will view the file on a Windows computer or on the Internet.

  • To apply predefined Adobe PDF export settings for on-screen viewing, choose Smallest File Size.


Adobe PDF files exported from InDesign documents that contain overprints or transparency effects are best viewed in Acrobat 5.0 and later, or Adobe Reader 7.0 and later, with the Overprint Previewoption selected.  

Adobe logo

Sign in to your account