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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
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      4. Use Creative Cloud libraries
    2. Workspace
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      3. Toolbox
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      5. Properties panel
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    3. Generative AI
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  3. Create and layout documents
    1. Documents and pages
      1. Create documents
      2. Work with parent pages
      3. Work with document pages
      4. Set page size, margins, and bleed
      5. Work with files and templates
      6. Convert PDFs to InDesign files in InDesign (Beta)
      7. Create book files
      8. Add basic page numbering
      9. Number pages, chapters, and sections
      10. Convert QuarkXPress and PageMaker documents
      11. Share content
      12. Understand a basic managed-file workflow
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    2. Grids
      1. Grids
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      1. Rulers
      2. Align and distribute objects using rulers
      3. Measure objects using the Measure tool
  4. Add content
    1. Text
      1. Add text to frames
      2. Threading text
      3. South-East Asian Scripts
      4. Arabic and Hebrew features in InDesign
      5. Create type on a path
      6. Bullets and numbering
      7. Glyphs and special characters
      8. Text composition
      9. Text variables
      10. Generate QR codes
      11. Edit text
      12. Align text
      13. Wrap text around objects
      14. Anchored objects
      15. Linked content
      16. Format paragraphs
      17. Format characters
    2. Typography
      1. Using fonts in InDesign
      2. Kerning and tracking
      3. Scale and skew type
      4. Apply color effects to type
    3. Format text
      1. Format text
      2. Auto Style text
      3. Work with Style Packs
      4. Tabs and indents
    4. Review text
      1. Track and review changes
      2. Add editorial notes in InDesign
      3. Import PDF comments
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      1. Check spelling, autocorrect, and dynamic spelling
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      3. Change dictionary preferences
      4. Duden dictionary
    6. Add references
      1. Create a table of contents
      2. Footnotes
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      4. Endnotes
      5. Captions
    7. Styles
      1. Paragraph and character styles
      2. Map, export, and manage styles
      3. Object styles
      4. Drop caps and nested styles
      5. Work with styles
      6. Leading
    8. Tables
      1. Format tables
      2. Create tables
      3. Table and Cell styles
      4. Select and edit tables
      5. Table strokes and fills
    9. 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
    10. 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. Frames and objects
      10. Align and distribute objects
      11. Linked and embedded graphics
      12. Integrate AEM assets
    11. Color and transparency
      1. Apply color
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      3. Work with swatches
      4. Mix inks
      5. Tints
      6. Understand spot and process colors
      7. Blend colors
      8. Gradients
      9. Flatten transparent artwork
      10. Add transparency effects
  5. Find and replace
    1. Find and replace text
    2. Find and replace fonts
    3. Find and replace glyphs
    4. Find and replace using GREP expressions and queries
    5. Find and replace objects
    6. Find and replace colors
    7. Search options to find and replace
  6. Share
    1. Save and access cloud documents
    2. Organize, manage, and share cloud documents
    3. View and manage versions in cloud documents
    4. Common questions about InDesign cloud documents
    5. Share and collaborate        
    6. Share for Review
    7. Review a shared InDesign document
    8. Manage feedback 
  7. Publish
    1. Place, export, and publish
      1. Publish online
      2. Publish online dashboard
      3. Copy, insert graphics
      4. Export content for EPUB
      5. Adobe PDF options
      6. Export content to HTML
      7. Export to Adobe PDF
      8. Export to JPEG format
      9. Export HTML
      10. DPS and AEM Mobile overview
      11. Supported File Formats
      12. Export and import User Settings
    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
  8. Extend InDesign
    1. Automation
      1. Data merge
      2. Plug-ins
      3. Capture extension in InDesign
      4. Scripting
  9. Troubleshooting
    1. Fixed issues
    2. Known issues
    3. Crash on launch
    4. Preference folder read-only issue
    5. Troubleshoot file issues
    6. Unable to export InDesign file to PDF
    7. InDesign document recovery

Learn about the various option categories of Adobe PDF.

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. 

Adobe PDF option 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.

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 select the arrow next to a category (for example, General) to view individual settings. To save the summary as an ASCII text file, select 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 does not meet the selected ISO standard, a message appears, asking you to choose between canceling the conversion or creating a non-compliant file. A widely used standard 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.

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

Select 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.



  • Select All to export all pages in the current document or book.
  • Select Range to specify the range of pages to export in the current document. You can type a range using a hyphen and separate multiple pages or ranges using commas. This option is unavailable when you’re exporting books or creating presets.

Export As

Indicates whether you want to export the document as pages or spreads. Don't select Spreads for commercial printing, as the service provider cannot impose the pages in this format.

Create Separate PDF Files

Select this option to create separate PDFs for each page or spread.


Add a file name suffix like Incremental Numbers (^#), Page Number (^P), Page Size (^S), or a customized name for identification.


To ensure that files can be shared smoothly between macOS and Windows, we recommend neither the use of illegal or reserved characters in file/folder names nor in dynamic strings. InDesign has taken a superset of these characters “ \ / : * ? " < > |  “ (Windows and macOS), and they will be skipped in PNG, JPEG, and PDF export.



Show the initial view settings of the PDF when it’s opened. This drop-down is enabled only if you select the PDF Standard: None.


Show the initial layout of the PDF when it’s opened. When you select Acrobat 4 (PDF 1.3) or Acrobat 5 (PDF 1.4) Compatibility drop-down menu, then the following options in the Layout drop-down list are disabled:

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

Open in Full Screen Mode

Select this to display the PDF in Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader without menus or panels displayed. 

View PDF after Exporting

Select this to open the newly created PDF file in the default PDF viewing application.


Embed Page Thumbnails

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

Optimize for Fast Web View

Select this to reduce PDF file size and optimize 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've selected in the Compression category of the Export Adobe PDF dialog box.

Create Tagged PDF

Select this to automatically tag elements in the story based on a subset of the Acrobat tags that InDesign supports during export. 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.

Create Acrobat Layers

Select this to save each layer as an Acrobat layer in the PDF and any printer's marks on a separate mark and bleeds layer. This enables Acrobat 6.0 and later users to create multiple file versions from one PDF with full navigation.

Export Layers

Determines whether visible layers and nonprinting layers are included in the PDF. Use this 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.

Include Hidden Spreads

Select this option if you want to export the hidden spreads along with the other spreads of the documents.


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.



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.

Non-Printing Objects

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

Visible Guides and Baseline 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.

Interactive Elements

  • Select Include Appearance to include items such as buttons and movie posters in the PDF. 
  • Select the Adobe PDF (Interactive) option instead of the Adobe PDF (Print) option to create a PDF with interactive elements.

Compression and downsampling options for PDFs

When exporting to Adobe PDF, you can efficiently reduce file size without sacrificing quality by compressing text, line art, and downsampling images. The Export Adobe PDF dialog box has three sections for adjusting compression and resampling options for color, grayscale, or monochrome images. If the PDF will be used online, consider downsampling for higher compression, but consult your print service provider for optimal settings if planning high-resolution printing.

You should consider user needs for page magnification, especially in cases like map PDFs, where higher image resolution allows zooming.

Downsampling refers to decreasing the number of pixels in an image. Pick an interpolation method, set the desired resolution in pixels per inch, and specify a threshold in the for images above box to downsample images exceeding that resolution.

The interpolation method you select 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

Selects 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 less smooth and continuous images.

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.


Automatic (JPEG)

Select this to automatically determine the best color and grayscale image quality. For most files, this option produces satisfactory results.


Select this for grayscale or color images. JPEG compression eliminates data, so it can achieve much smaller file sizes than ZIP compression.



Select this for 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

It 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)

Select this to automatically determine 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.


It is 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. 

  • CCITT Group 3, used by most fax machines, compresses monochrome bitmaps one row at a time. 
  • CCITT Group 4 is a general-purpose method that produces good compression for most monochrome images.

Run Length

It is only available for monochrome bitmap images. Select this to produce the best results for images that contain large areas of solid black or white.

Image Quality

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

Tile Size

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


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.

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

Reduces file size by exporting only image data that falls within the visible portion of the frame. Deselect this option if postprocessors require 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 the printing bounding box or 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've 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 isn't 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. 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. 
  • 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 to 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 selected, spot colors are changed to their process equivalents, and overlapping colors display and output correctly without Overprint Preview selected in Acrobat.

Ink Manager

Controls whether spot colors are converted to process equivalents and specifies other ink settings. Any changes made to your document using the Ink Manager (for example, if you change all spot colors to their process equivalents) reflect in the exported file and in the saved document, but the settings aren't 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.

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. 

Registry Name

Indicates the web address for more information on the registry. The URL is automatically entered for ICC registry names.


Output Condition Identifier and Registry Name are not available when using the PDF/X‑3 presets or standards, as it would result in non-compliant files when inspected by Acrobat 7.0 Professional and later's Preflight feature or the Enfocus PitStop plugin for Acrobat 6.0.

Advanced options for PDFs

You can set the Font, OPI, and flattening options in the Advanced tab 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.

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. 


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.  

Add security to PDF files

When saving as a PDF, you can add password protection and security restrictions, limiting who can open the file, copy or extract contents, print the document, and more.

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


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. 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).

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.

Use a password to restrict printing, editing, and other tasks

Select this option to restrict 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 to change the file’s Security and Permissions settings. If the file is opened in Illustrator, Photoshop, or InDesign, the user must enter the Permissions Password since it isn't 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

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

  • Select None to prevent users from printing the document.
  • Select Low Resolution (150 dpi) to let users print at no higher than 150 dpi resolution. Printing may be slower because each page is printed as a bitmap image.
  • Select High Resolution to let users print at any resolution, directing high-quality vector output to PostScript and other printers that support advanced high-quality printing features.

Changes Allowed

Defines which editing actions are allowed in the PDF document.

  • Select None to prevent 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.
  • Select Inserting, deleting and rotating pages to let users insert, delete, and rotate pages and create bookmarks and thumbnails. This option is only available for high (128‑bit RC4 or AES) encryption.
  • Select Filling in form fields and signing to let users fill in forms and add digital signatures. This option doesn’t allow them to add comments or create form fields and is only available for high (128‑bit RC4 or AES) encryption.
  • Select Commenting, filling in form fields, and signing to let users add comments and digital signatures and fill in forms. This option doesn’t allow users to move page objects or create form fields.
  • Select Page layout, filling in form fields and signing to let users insert, rotate, or delete pages, 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.
  • Select Any except extracting pages to let 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.

Enable plaintext metadata

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

  • Anyone using an earlier version of Acrobat cannot open a PDF document with a higher compatibility setting.
  • 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.

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 electronically distributing and viewing documents 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 Preview option selected.  

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Adobe MAX 2024

Adobe MAX
The Creativity Conference

Oct 14–16 Miami Beach and online

Adobe MAX

The Creativity Conference

Oct 14–16 Miami Beach and online

Adobe MAX 2024

Adobe MAX
The Creativity Conference

Oct 14–16 Miami Beach and online

Adobe MAX

The Creativity Conference

Oct 14–16 Miami Beach and online