Create Adobe PDF files

  1. Illustrator User Guide
  2. Get to know Illustrator
    1. Introduction to Illustrator
      1. What's new in Illustrator
      2. Common questions
      3. Illustrator system requirements
      4. Illustrator for Apple silicon
    2. Workspace
      1. Workspace basics
      2. Create documents
      3. ToolsDefault keyboard shortcuts | Illustrator
      4. Customize keyboard shortcuts
      5. Artboards
      6. Customize the workspace
      7. Properties panel
      8. Tool galleries
      9. Set preferences
      10. Touch Workspace
      11. Microsoft Surface Dial support in Illustrator
      12. Recovery, undo, and automation
      13. Rotate view
      14. Rulers, grids, and guides
      15. Accessibility in Illustrator
      16. Safe Mode
      17. View artwork
      18. Use the Touch Bar with Illustrator
      19. Files and templates
      20. Synchronize settings using Adobe Creative Cloud
  3. Illustrator on the iPad
    1. Introduction to Illustrator on the iPad
      1. Illustrator on the iPad overview
      2. Illustrator on the iPad FAQs
      3. System requirements | Illustrator on the iPad
      4. What you can or cannot do on Illustrator on the iPad
    2. Workspace
      1. Illustrator on the iPad workspace
      2. Touch shortcuts and gestures
      3. Keyboard shortcuts for Illustrator on the iPad
      4. Manage your app settings
    3. Documents
      1. Work with documents in Illustrator on the iPad
      2. Import Photoshop and Fresco documents
    4. Select and arrange objects
      1. Create repeat objects
    5. Drawing
      1. Draw and edit paths
      2. Draw and edit shapes
    6. Type
      1. Work with type and fonts
      2. Create text designs along a path
      3. Add your own fonts
    7. Work with images
      1. Work with images
    8. Color
      1. Apply colors and gradients
  4. Cloud documents
    1. Basics
      1. Work with Illustrator cloud documents
      2. Share and collaborate on Illustrator cloud documents
      3. Upgrade cloud storage for Adobe Illustrator
      4. Illustrator cloud documents | Common questions
    2. Troubleshooting
      1. Troubleshoot create or save issues for Illustrator cloud documents
      2. Troubleshoot Illustrator cloud documents issues
  5. Add and edit content
    1. Drawing
      1. Drawing basics
      2. Edit paths
      3. Draw pixel-perfect art
      4. Draw with the Pen, Curvature, or Pencil tool
      5. Draw simple lines and shapes
      6. Image Trace
      7. Simplify a path
      8. Define perspective grids
      9. Create 3D objects
      10. Symbolism tools and symbol sets
      11. Adjust path segments
      12. Design a flower in 5 easy steps
      13. Perspective drawing
      14. Symbols
      15. Draw pixel-aligned paths for web workflows
    2. Color
      1. About color
      2. Select colors
      3. Use and create swatches
      4. Adjust colors
      5. Use the Adobe Color Themes panel
      6. Color groups (harmonies)
      7. Color Themes panel
      8. Recolor your artwork
    3. Painting
      1. About painting
      2. Paint with fills and strokes
      3. Live Paint groups
      4. Gradients
      5. Brushes
      6. Transparency and blending modes
      7. Apply stroke on an object
      8. Create and edit patterns
      9. Meshes
      10. Patterns
    4. Select and arrange objects
      1. Select objects
      2. Layers
      3. Group and expand objects
      4. Move, align, and distribute objects
      5. Stack objects    
      6. Lock, hide, and delete objects
      7. Duplicate objects
      8. Rotate and reflect objects
    5. Reshape objects
      1. Crop images
      2. Transform objects
      3. Combine objects
      4. Cut, divide, and trim objects
      5. Puppet Warp
      6. Scale, shear, and distort objects
      7. Blend objects
      8. Reshape using envelopes
      9. Reshape objects with effects
      10. Build new shapes with Shaper and Shape Builder tools
      11. Work with Live Corners
      12. Enhanced reshape workflows with touch support
      13. Edit clipping masks
      14. Live shapes
      15. Create shapes using the Shape Builder tool
      16. Global editing
    6. Type
      1. Create text
      2. Fonts and typography
      3. Format type
      4. Import and export text
      5. Format paragraphs
      6. Special characters
      7. Create type on a path
      8. Character and paragraph styles
      9. Tabs
      10. Text and type
      11. Find missing fonts (Typekit workflow)
      12. Update text from Illustrator 10
      13. Arabic and Hebrew type
      14. Fonts | FAQ and troubleshooting tips
      15. Create 3D text effect
      16. Creative typography designs
      17. Scale and rotate type
      18. Line and character spacing
      19. Hyphenation and line breaks
      20. Text enhancements
      21. Spelling and language dictionaries
      22. Format Asian characters
      23. Composers for Asian scripts
      24. Create text designs with blend objects
      25. Create a text poster using Image Trace
    7. Create special effects
      1. Work with effects
      2. Graphic styles
      3. Create a drop shadow
      4. Appearance attributes
      5. Create sketches and mosaics
      6. Drop shadows, glows, and feathering
      7. Summary of effects
    8. Web graphics
      1. Best practices for creating web graphics
      2. Graphs
      3. SVG
      4. Create animations
      5. Slices and image maps
  6. Import, export, and save
    1. Import
      1. Import artwork files
      2. Import bitmap images
      3. Import artwork from Photoshop
      4. Place multiple files | Illustrator CC
      5. Unembed images
      6. Import Adobe PDF files
      7. Import EPS, DCS, and AutoCAD files
      8. Links information
    2. Creative Cloud Libraries in Illustrator 
      1. Creative Cloud Libraries in Illustrator
    3. Save
      1. Save artwork
    4. Export
      1. Export artwork
      2. Collect assets and export in batches
      3. Package files
      4. Create Adobe PDF files
      5. Extract CSS | Illustrator CC
      6. Adobe PDF options
      7. File information and metadata
  7. Printing
    1. Prepare for printing
      1. Set up documents for printing
      2. Change the page size and orientation
      3. Specify crop marks for trimming or aligning
      4. Get started with large canvas
    2. Printing
      1. Overprint
      2. Print with color management
      3. PostScript printing
      4. Print presets
      5. Printer's marks and bleeds
      6. Print and save transparent artwork
      7. Trapping
      8. Print color separations
      9. Print gradients, meshes, and color blends
      10. White Overprint
  8. Automate tasks
    1. Data merge using the Variables panel
    2. Automation with scripts
    3. Automation with actions
  9. Troubleshooting 
    1. Crash on launch issues
    2. Recover files after crash
    3. File issues
    4. GPU device driver issues
    5. Wacom device issues
    6. DLL file issues
    7. Memory issues
    8. Preferences file issues
    9. Font issues
    10. Printer issues
    11. Share crash report with Adobe

About Adobe PDF

Portable Document Format (PDF) is a universal file format that preserves the fonts, images, and layout of source documents created on a wide range of applications and platforms. Adobe PDF is the standard for the secure, reliable distribution and exchange of electronic documents and forms around the world. Adobe PDF files are compact and complete, and can be shared, viewed, and printed by anyone with free Adobe Reader® software.

Adobe PDF is highly effective in print publishing workflows. By saving a composite of your artwork in Adobe PDF, you create a compact, reliable file that you or your service provider can view, edit, organize, and proof. Then, at the appropriate time in the workflow, your service provider can either output the Adobe PDF file directly, or process it using tools from various sources for such post-processing tasks as preflight checks, trapping, imposition, and color separation.

When you save in Adobe PDF, you can choose to create a PDF/X-compliant file. PDF/X (Portable Document Format Exchange) is a subset of Adobe PDF that eliminates many of the color, font, and trapping variables that lead to printing problems. PDF/X may be used wherever PDFs are exchanged as digital masters for print production—whether at the creation or output stage of the workflow, as long as the applications and output devices support PDF/X.

Adobe PDFs can solve the following problems associated with electronic documents:

Common problem

Adobe PDF solution

Recipients can't open files because they don't have the applications used to create the files.

Anyone, anywhere can open a PDF. All you need is the free Adobe Reader software.

Combined paper and electronic archives are difficult to search, take up space, and require the application in which a document was created.

PDFs are compact and fully searchable, and can be accessed at any time using Reader. Links make PDFs easy to navigate.

Documents appear incorrectly on handheld devices.

Tagged PDFs allow text to reflow for display on mobile platforms such as Palm OS®, Symbian™, and Pocket PC® devices.

Documents with complex formatting are not accessible to visually impaired readers.

Tagged PDFs contain information on content and structure, which makes them accessible on-screen readers.

Create Adobe PDF files

You can create different types of PDF files from within Illustrator. You can create multipage PDFs, layered PDFs, and PDF/x‑compliant files. Layered PDFs allow you to save one PDF with layers that can be used in different contexts. PDF/X‑compliant files ease the burden of color, font, and trapping issues.

Create an Adobe PDF

  1. Choose File > Save As or File > Save A Copy.

  2. Type a filename, and choose a location for the file.

  3. Choose Adobe PDF (*.PDF) as the file format, and click Save.

  4. Either choose a preset from the Adobe PDF Preset menu, or select a category from the list on the left of the dialog box and then customize the options.

  5. Click Save PDF.

    Note:

    To reset options to the default, hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) and click Reset.

Create a multiple-page Adobe PDF

  1. Create multiple artboards in a document.

  2. Choose File > Save As, and select Adobe PDF forSave As Type.

  3. Do one of the following:

    • To save all of the artboards to one PDF, select All.

    • To save a subset of the artboards to one PDF, select Range, and type the range of artboards.

  4. Click Save, and set additional PDF options in the Save Adobe PDF dialog box.

  5. Click Save PDF.

Create a layered Adobe PDF

Adobe InDesign and Adobe Acrobat both provide features for changing the visibility of layers in an Adobe PDF file. By saving a layered PDF file in Illustrator, you allow your illustration to be used in different contexts. For example, rather than creating multiple versions of the same illustration for a multilanguage publication, you can create one PDF file that contains text for all languages.

  1. Set up your illustration so that the adjustable elements (those you want to show and hide) are in separate top-level layers, not nested within sublayers.

    For example, if you’re creating an illustration to be repurposed for multiple languages, put the text for each language in a different top-level layer.

  2. Save the file in Adobe PDF format.

  3. In the Save Adobe PDF dialog box, choose Acrobat 8 (1.7) or Acrobat 7 (1.6) for Compatibility.

  4. Select Create Acrobat Layers from Top-Level Layers, set additional PDF options, and click Save PDF.

Create an Adobe PDF/X-compliant file

PDF/X (Portable Document Format Exchange) is an ISO standard for graphic content exchange that eliminates many of the color, font, and trapping variables that lead to printing problems. Illustrator supports PDF/X‑1a (for a CMYK workflow), PDF/X‑3 (for a color-managed workflow), and PDF/X-4 (for a color-managed workflow with added support for preserving transparency as live rather than flattened).

You can create a PDF/X‑compliant file during the process of saving a PDF file.

  1. In the Save Adobe PDF dialog box, choose a PDF/X preset, or choose a PDF/X format from the Standard menu.

  2. Click Output on the left side of the Save Adobe PDF dialog box, and set PDF/X options.

Create compact PDF documents

Illustrator provides the option to save a document in the smallest file size. To generate a compact PDF from Illustrator, do the following:

  1. Click File > Save As and select PDF.

  2. In the Save Adobe PDF dialog box, select the Smallest File Size option from Adobe PDF Preset.

    Make sure that you deselect the Preserve Illustrator Editing Capabilities check box to avoid saving the Illustrator resources along with the document.

Adobe PDF presets

A PDF preset is a group of settings that affect the process of creating a PDF. These settings are designed to balance file size with quality, depending on how the PDF will be used. Most predefined presets are shared across Adobe Creative Suite components, including InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, and Acrobat. You can also create and share custom presets for your unique output requirements.

A few of the presets listed below are not available until you move them—as needed—from the Extras folder (where they are installed by default) to the Settings folder. Typically, the Extras and Settings folders are found in (Windows) ProgramData\Adobe\AdobePDF or (Mac OS) Library/Application Support/Adobe PDF. Some presets are not available in some Creative Suite components.

The custom settings are found in (Windows) Users/[username]/AppData/Roaming/Adobe/Adobe PDF/Settings or (Mac OS) Users/[username]/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Adobe PDF/Settings.

Note:

Review your PDF settings periodically. The settings do not automatically revert to the default settings. Applications and utilities that create PDFs use the last set of PDF settings defined or selected.

High Quality Print

Creates PDFs for quality printing on desktop printers and proofing devices. This preset uses PDF 1.4, downsamples color and grayscale images to 300 ppi and monochrome images to 1200 ppi, embeds subsets of all fonts, leaves color unchanged, and does not flatten transparency (for file types capable of transparency). These PDFs can be opened in Acrobat 5.0 and Acrobat Reader 5.0 and later. In InDesign, this preset also creates tagged PDFs.

Illustrator Default (Illustrator only)

Creates a PDF in which all Illustrator data is preserved. PDFs created with this preset can be reopened in Illustrator without any loss of data.

Oversized Pages (Acrobat only)

Creates PDFs suitable for viewing and printing of engineering drawings larger than 200 x 200 inches. These PDFs can be opened in Acrobat and Reader 7.0 and later.

PDF/A-1b: 2005 (CMYK and RGB) (Acrobat only)

Used for long-term preservation (archival) of electronic documents. PDF/A‑1b uses PDF 1.4 and converts all colors to either CMYK or RGB, depending on which standard you choose. These PDFs can be opened in Acrobat and Reader versions 5.0 and later.

PDF/X‑1a (2001 and 2003)

PDF/X‑1a requires all fonts to be embedded, the appropriate marks and bleeds to be specified, and color to appear as CMYK, spot colors, or both. Compliant files must contain information describing the printing condition for which they are prepared. PDF files created with PDF/X‑1a compliance can be opened in Acrobat 4.0 and Acrobat Reader 4.0 and later.

PDF/X‑1a uses PDF 1.3, downsamples color and grayscale images to 300 ppi and monochrome images to 1200 ppi, embeds subsets of all fonts, creates untagged PDFs, and flattens transparency using the High Resolution setting.

Note:

The PDF/X1‑a:2003 and PDF/X‑3 (2003) presets are placed on your computer during installation but are not available until you move them from the Extras folder to the Settings folder.

PDF/X-3

This preset creates a PDF based on the ISO standard PDF/X-3:2002. The PDF created in this setting can be opened in Acrobat 4.0 and Acrobat Reader 4.0 or later.

PDF/X‑4 (2008)

This preset creating ISO PDF/X-4:2008 files supports live transparency (transparency is not flattened) and ICC color management. PDF files exported with this preset are in PDF 1.4 format. Images are downsampled and compressed and fonts are embedded in the same manner as with the PDF/X-1a and PDF/X-3 settings. You can create PDF/X-4:2008 compliant PDF files directly from Creative Suite 4 and 5 components including Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop. Acrobat 9 Pro provides facilities to validate and preflight PDF files for PDF/X-4:2008 compliance as well as convert non-PDF/X files to PDF/X-4:2008 if possible.

Adobe recommends PDF/X-4:2008 as the optimal PDF file format for reliable PDF print publishing workflows.

Press Quality

Creates PDF files for high-quality print production (for example, for digital printing or for separations to an imagesetter or platesetter), but does not create files that are PDF/X-compliant. In this case, the quality of the content is the highest consideration. The objective is to maintain all the information in a PDF file that a commercial printer or print service provider needs in order to print the document correctly. This set of options uses PDF 1.4, converts colors to CMYK, downsamples color and grayscale images to 300 ppi and monochrome images to 1200 ppi, embeds subsets of all fonts, and preserves transparency (for file types capable of transparency).

These PDF files can be opened in Acrobat 5.0 and Acrobat Reader 5.0 and later.

Note:

Before creating an Adobe PDF file to send to a commercial printer or print service provider, find out what the output resolution and other settings should be, or ask for a .joboptions file with the recommended settings. You might need to customize the Adobe PDF settings for a particular provider and then provide a .joboptions file of your own.

Rich Content PDF

Creates accessible PDF files that include tags, hyperlinks, bookmarks, interactive elements, and layers. This set of options uses PDF 1.5 and embeds subsets of all fonts. It also optimizes files for byte serving. These PDF files can be opened in Acrobat 6.0 and Adobe Reader 6.0 and later. (The Rich Content PDF preset is in the Extras folder.)

Note:

This preset was called eBook in earlier versions of some applications.

Smallest File Size

Creates PDF files for displaying on the web, an intranet, or for email distribution. This set of options uses compression, downsampling, and a relatively low image resolution. It converts all colors to sRGB and embeds fonts. It also optimizes files for byte serving. For best results, avoid using this preset if you intend to print the PDF file.

These PDF files can be opened in Acrobat 5.0 and Acrobat Reader 5.0 and later.

Magazine Ads 2006 (Japan)

This preset creates a PDF based on the creation rules designed by Digital Data Delivery committee.

Standard (Acrobat only)

Creates PDF files to be printed to desktop printers or digital copiers, published on a CD, or sent to a client as a publishing proof. This set of options uses compression and downsampling to keep the file size down, but also embeds subsets of all (allowed) fonts used in the file, converts all colors to sRGB, and prints to a medium resolution. Note that Windows font subsets are not embedded by default. PDF files created with this settings file can be opened in Acrobat 5.0 and Acrobat Reader 5.0 and later.

Note:

For more information about shared PDF settings for Creative Suite components, see the PDF Integration Guide on the Creative Suite DVD.

Customize PDF presets

Although the default PDF presets are based on best practices, you may discover that your workflow, or perhaps your printer’s workflow, requires specialized PDF settings that aren’t available via any of the built‑in presets. If this is the case, you or your service provider can create custom presets.

  1. Choose Edit > Adobe PDF Presets.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • To create a new preset, click New. If you want to base the new preset on an existing preset, select the preset first.

    • To edit an existing custom preset, select the preset and click Edit. (You cannot edit the default presets.)

    • To delete a preset, select it and click Delete.

    • To save a preset in a location other than the default Settings folder in the Adobe PDF folder, select it and click Save As. Specify a location and click Save.

  3. Set the PDF options, and click OK.

Alternatively, you can create a custom preset when you save a PDF file by clicking Save Preset at the bottom of the Save Adobe PDF dialog box.

Note:

If you want to share your presets with a colleague, select one or more presets and click Export. The presets are saved to a separate .joboptions file, which you can then transfer to your colleague via e‑mail or over your computer network.

Load PDF presets

Illustrator comes with supplementary PDF presets (.joboptions) files. You may also receive custom PDF presets files from service providers and colleagues.

  1. To load PDF presets into all of your Creative Suite applications, do one of the following:

    • Double-click the .joboptions file.

    • Choose Edit > Adobe PDF Presets. Click Import, and select the .joboptions file you want to load.

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