See it at the final size… finally!

Two previous Colecandoo articles (part one and part two) discussed the inability of InDesign to control the view size and appearance of PDFs that were exported using the Adobe PDF export function from the file menu.

Since the June release of Adobe InDesign CC 2015, this is no longer an issue. As part of the PDF export dialog box, a new “viewing” portion has been added to the interface that allows for the view size and the layout.

exportpdf1It is worth noting though that the compatibility dropdown of the PDF export options must be set to Acrobat 6 (PDF 1.5) before this feature will fully display all options in the layout dropdown field. If the compatibility dropdown is set to Acrobat 5 (PDF 1.4) or lower, then two of the layout options – Two-Up (Facing) and Two-Up (Cover Page) – will be greyed out.

exportpdf2It is great that this feature has been added to the PDF export interface. Let us see if future releases of InDesign CC can also incorporate other PDF export features such as:

  • Ability to create and export PDF comments directly in an InDesign file; and
  • More support for PDF forms.

Just to find fault however, I have noticed that the Pages portion of the PDF export Dialog box has NOT incorporated a change that was made to the print dialog box, and that was the inclusion of the option for “current page”.

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See it at the final size – view size and Acrobat: Part 2

2015-07-03 NOTE: This article is now out of date since the release of Adobe InDesign CC 2015. However, I have left the article here for posterity.

A previous Colecandoo article presented a way of being able to control the view size and page presentation of PDFs used as soft-proofs for clients. The solution was to use the Actions tool in Adobe Acrobat to apply an appropriate action that contains the necessary view size/page presentation settings.

This method certainly works, but there is a far more easy method that can be done directly from Adobe InDesign, and that is to export as an interactive PDF.

As a printer that, I had created very little interactive content until recently. I felt that the “Export to Interactive PDF” was only of use for content that contained form fields or other interactive elements, so I had not considered this an option… until now. In fact, this method is much easier than the method described in the previous article. Once again though, this should only be used when a client is checking the content of the PDF only.

To do this, select File/Export (or command + e on a Mac) and from the dialog box, select Adobe PDF (Interactive) from the dropdown list and click Save.

interpic01A new dialog box will appear showing the available options for export, including the view and layout settings.

interpic02If preparing a proof that is to appear as readers spreads, be careful that it is possible to select the same view in two places in this dialog box, with some unwanted consequences.

interpic03To avoid this, use the Two-Up (Cover Page) option available from the Layout dropdown menu, rather than the Spreads option from the Pages/Spreads radio buttons.

The method still needs improvement…

One important note is that unlike the PDF export option for print, there is no way to save export presets for Interactive PDFs. Instead, the options used to last export an interactive PDF are maintained for the next export.

With this in mind, PDFs can also be exported en masse using Peter Kahrel’s batch convert script, but make sure that prior to using the script, one file is correctly exported to interactive PDF before using the script. Peter’s instructions do say this already, but it is worth writing it again.

Tracking Acrobat Revisions without miles of cursor moving

For anyone using an Acrobat markup workflow to take in client alterations, the following scenario may be familiar: Take in one client alteration, tick that it is done, scroll down to the next one, and take in that alteration… or perhaps tick that an alteration is done but not scroll down until all of the alterations that are visible have been done and then scroll down to the next set of untouched alterations.

trackalts1ccombined

For me, this falls into a category of “mildly annoying” when ticking off an alteration, then scrolling a fraction forward to put the next one to the top of the comments list. This escalates to “really annoying” when moving the cursor further to the bottom right of the screen to scroll down further, as instead of scrolling further down, the cursor will:

  • Invoke my Dock to pop up on my mac;
  • Invoke a “hot corner” action on my mac that is set to the bottom right of the screen;
  • Inadvertently open an email alert that pops up via Microsoft Outlook (alerts pop up on the bottom right of the screen).

I could always use the vertical slider to scroll only a fraction downwards, but as I near the end of the corrections, the vertical slider will still be closer to the bottom right hand of the screen.

trackalts1combined

I am unsure whether the comments list can be scrolled through vertically using the click-wheel on a mouse because I am using a stylus, but can say that the pan/scroll button on my stylus will not move vertically through the comments list.

The solution was inspired by an article from Matt Mayerchak and Kelly Vaughn that appeared in Issue 68 of InDesign Magazine titled “PDF Markup Demystified”. It is definitely worth a read if considering Acrobat markups as a workflow, or ways of improving an Acrobat workflow that may already be in use.

The first part of the solution was to do something that I did not think was possible in Adobe Acrobat – undock the comment list.

trackalts2

Doing this allows the list of comments list to appear as a panel that can start and finish at a custom size, and doesn’t limit the list to the bottom right of the screen. In this example, I have moved the comments closer to the left hand side of the artwork.

trackalts3b

The second part of the solution is eluded to in the article but not mentioned directly, and that is the ability to show only comments that are unchecked.

trackalts4 and 5b

It is worth noting that these checked/unchecked options are only available once one comment has been set from unchecked to checked.

trackalts5combined

Once this is done, the moment an alteration marked as checked, the alteration disappears and is replaced by the next unchecked alteration.

trackalts6combined

As a result of undocking the comment list and only showing unchecked alterations, it is now possible to see the current alterations being worked on without having so much cursor “travel time”. It might not seem like much, but for anyone using this workflow who may see 200-400 edits per PDF, that’s a lot of time that can be saved.

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