How to Save an InDesign File as a PDF

PDF is an excellent format for sharing ideas with colleagues and friends, and it also preserves image quality at a reasonable file size, so it's truly the best of all worlds. Most users with minimal tech knowledge already have a PDF reader like Adobe Acrobat installed on their computers, but even if they don't, it's free to download online.In this walkthrough, we've shared how to save an InDesign file as a PDF, so the average person can view your graphic design project without having to download extra software. 

1. First, open your Adobe InDesign project and choose "File" > "Export" from the top menu. Select a name and location for your exported file, and then choose "Adobe PDF (Print)" from the "Save as type" section. Then, click Save. 

2. An Export Adobe PDF dialog box will appear, with a variety of settings that determine the file's quality, security, and more. The easiest way to optimize these settings is by choosing an option from the "Adobe PDF Preset" section, depending on your PDF needs. Here are three main presets:

  • Smallest File Size: Ideal for sharing via email, social networks, and other platforms where size is more important than quality. Not appropriate for commercial printing work. 
  • High Quality Print: Ideal for printing on consumer printers. This will significantly increase the file size.
  • Press Quality: The highest quality setting, which is intended for professional printing operations.

3. In the same dialog box, make sure the "All" option is selected in the Pages section, so that your entire project is converted to a single PDF file. If you only want to export one page at a time, so that each has a dedicated PDF file, select the "Range" option and then choose which page number you'd like to export. 

4. When you're happy with the preset and page settings, check the box for "View PDF After Exporting", so that the PDF opens automatically when exporting is complete. Then, click on the Summary tab on the left side of the dialog box, double-check your export options, and then click the "Export" button. 

5. Now, the exported InDesign file will open in your default PDF viewer. Take a moment and look it over, just to make sure the conversion went smoothly, and then send it out into the world. 

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