Preflight panel overview

Before printing or handing off the document to a service provider, you can perform a quality check on the document. Preflight is the industry-standard term for this process. While you edit your document, the Preflight panel warns of problems that can prevent a document or book from printing or outputting as desired. These problems include missing files or fonts, low-resolution images, overset text, and a number of other conditions.

You can configure preflight settings to define which conditions are detected. These preflight settings are stored in preflight profiles for easy reuse. You can create your own preflight profiles or import them from your printer or another source.

To take advantage of live preflighting, create or specify a preflight profile in the early stages of creating a document. If Preflight is turned on, a red circle icon appears in the status bar when InDesign detects any problems. You can open the Preflight panel and view the Info section to get basic guidance for fixing the problems.

Preflight panel
Preflight panel

A. Selected error B. Click page number to view page item C. Info area offers suggestions for fixing the selected error D. Specify a page range to limit error checking 

Open the Preflight panel

  • Choose Window > Output > Preflight.

  • Double-click the Preflight icon at the bottom of document window. The Preflight icon is green if no errors are detected or red if errors are detected.

Define preflight profiles

By default, the [Basic] profile is applied to new and converted documents. This profile flags missing or modified links, overset text, and missing fonts. Although you cannot edit or delete the [Basic] profile, you can create and use multiple profiles. For example, you can switch between profiles when working on different documents, when using different print service providers, or when running a single document through different production phases.

Consult with your prepress provider to obtain a profile or to learn what the preflight profile settings are. 

Define a preflight profile

  1. Choose Define Profiles from the Preflight panel menu or from the Preflight menu at the bottom of the document window.
  2. Click the New Preflight Profile icon , and specify a name for the profile.
  3. In each category, specify the preflight settings. A check mark in a box indicates that all settings are included. An empty box indicates that no settings are included.


    Determine whether missing links and modified links are displayed as errors.


    Determine which transparency blending space is required and whether items such as CMY plates, colorspaces, and overprinting are allowed.

    Images and Objects

    Specify requirements for items such as image resolution, transparency, and stroke thickness.


    The Text category displays errors for items such as missing fonts and overset text.


    Specify requirements for page size and orientation, number of pages, blank pages, and bleed and slug setup.

  4. Choose Save to preserve your changes on one profile before working on another profile. Or click OK to close the dialog box and save all changes.

Embed and unembed profiles

When you embed a profile, you make the profile part of the document. Embedding profiles is especially useful when you’re sending the file to someone else. Just because a profile is embedded, it does not imply necessary use. For example, if you send a document with an embedded profile to a print service, the printer can select a different profile to use with the document.

You can embed only one profile. The [Basic] profile cannot be embedded.

  1. To embed a profile, select it in the Profile list, and then click the Embed icon  to the right of the Profile list.

    You can also embed a profile in the Define Profiles dialog box.

  2. To unembed a profile, choose Define Profiles from the Preflight panel menu, select the profile, and then choose Unembed Profile from the Preflight Profile Menu on the left side of the dialog box.

Export and load profiles

You can export a profile to make it available to others. Exported profiles are saved with a .idpp extension.


Exporting a profile is a good way to back up your profile settings. When you restore preferences, your profile information is reset. To restore preferences, you can load your exported profile.

You can also load a profile that someone else has made available to you. You can load a *.idpp file, or you can load the embedded profile in the document you specify.

  • To export a profile, choose Define Profiles from the Preflight menu. Choose Export Profile from the Preflight Profile Menu, specify the name and location, and click Save.
  • To load (import) a profile, choose Define Profiles from the Preflight menu. Choose Load Profile from the Preflight Profile Menu, select the *.idpp file or document containing an embedded profile you want to use, and click Open.

Delete a profile

  1. Choose Define Profiles from the Preflight menu.
  2. Select the profile you want to delete, and then click the Delete Preflight Profile icon .
  3. Click OK to delete the profile.

View and resolve preflight errors

In the error list, only the categories with errors are listed. You can click the arrow next to each item to expand or collapse it.

When viewing the list of errors, note the following issues:

  • In some cases, a design element such as a swatch or a paragraph style is causing the problem. The design element itself is not reported as an error. Instead, any page item to which the design element is applied appears in the error list. In such cases, make sure that you resolve the issue in the design element.

  • Errors that occur in overset text, hidden conditions, or notes are not listed. Deleted text that is still available in tracked changes is also ignored.

  • A master page item with a problem is not listed if the master is unapplied, or if no page it is applied to is in the current scope. If a master page item has an error, the Preflight panel lists it only once, even though the error is repeated on every page to which the master is applied.

  • Errors that occur in non-printing page items, in page items on the pasteboard, or in hidden or non-printing layers appear in the error list only if the appropriate options are specified in the Preflight Options dialog box.

  • To output only certain pages, you can limit preflight checking to a page range. Specify a page range at the bottom of the Preflight panel.

Turn on or off live preflighting

By default, preflighting is turned on for all documents.

  1. To turn on or off preflighting for the active document, select the On option in the upper-left corner of the Preflight panel, or choose Preflight Document from the Preflight menu at the bottom of the document window.

  2. To turn on or off preflighting for all documents, select Enable Preflight For All Documents from the Preflight panel menu.

Resolve errors

  1. In the error list, double-click a row or click the page number in the Page column to view the page item.

  2. Click the arrow to the left of Info to view information on the selected row.

    The Info panel includes a description of the problem and offers suggestions for fixing it.

  3. Fix the error.

Select a different profile

Using different profiles is useful in many workflows. For example, you can select different profiles for documents you’re editing at the same time, or you can select a new profile to begin a new production phase. When you select a different profile, the document is reexamined.

  1. Open the document.

  2. In the Preflight panel, select a profile from the Profile menu.

If you want to use this profile whenever you work on this document, embed the profile. Otherwise, the document opens using the default working profile.

Specify a page range for preflighting

  • At the bottom of the Preflight panel, specify the page range (such as 1-8).

The rules for specifying page ranges are the same as in the Print dialog box. Errors that appear on pages outside this page range are omitted from the error list.

Set Preflight options

  1. Choose Preflight Options from the Preflight panel menu.

  2. Specify the following options, and then click OK.

    Working Profile

    Select the profile to use as the default for new documents. If you want the working profile to be embedded in new documents, select Embed Working Profile Into New Documents. See Define preflight profiles.

    Use Embedded Profile / Use Working Profile

    When you open a document, determine whether its embedded profile or the specified working profile is used for preflighting.


    Specify whether items on all layers, visible layers, or visible and printable layers are included in preflighting. For example, if an item is on a hidden layer, you can prevent errors from being reported on that item.

    Non-Printing Objects

    Select this option to report errors on objects marked as non-printing in the Attributes panel or on master page objects on pages to which Hide Master Items has been applied.

    Objects On Pasteboard

    Select this option to report errors on objects placed on the pasteboard.

Limit the number of rows per error

You can keep your error lists more manageable by limiting the number of rows per error. For example, in a document that uses TrueType fonts, a single TrueType font used throughout the document can generate hundreds of errors. If you limited the number of rows per error to 25, only the first 25 errors appear in the list, and (25+) appears next to the error.

  • Choose Limit Number Of Rows Per Error from the Preflight panel menu, and then choose the number.

Save error report

You can generate a text-only or PDF file that lists the errors displayed in the Preflight panel. The report also includes other statistics such as time, document name, and profile name.


For a full inventory of the document that includes all fonts, inks, links, and other items used, create a report using the Package feature.

  1. Choose Save Report from the Preflight panel menu.

  2. Specify whether you want to save the file as a PDF or text file from the Save As Type (Windows) or Format (Mac OS) menu.

  3. Specify the name and location of the report, and then click Save.

Preflight books

Choosing Preflight Book from the Book panel menu causes all documents (or all selected documents) to be examined for errors. You can use the profile embedded in each document, or you can specify a profile to use. A green, red, or question mark icon indicates the preflight status of each document. Green indicates that the document has no reported errors. Red indicates errors. A question mark indicates an unknown status. For example, the document may be closed, preflighting may be turned off, or the preflight profile was changed.

Set preflight options in a book

  1. Choose Preflight Book from the book panel menu.

  2. In the Preflight Book Options dialog box, specify whether you want the preflight options to apply to the entire book or only to selected documents.

  3. Under Preflight Profile, indicate whether you want to use the profile specified in the Use Profile menu or the embedded profile of each document.

    The profile you specify is temporarily used for each document. When you close and open any of the individual documents, either the working profile or the embedded profile is used, depending on which option is specified in the Preflight Options dialog box.

  4. Under Include, determine which items are included in the error list.


    Specify whether items on all layers, visible layers, or visible and printable layers are included in preflighting. For example, if an item is on a hidden layer, you can choose not to view errors reported on that item.

    Objects On Pasteboard

    Select this option to report errors on objects placed on the pasteboard.

    Non-Printing Objects

    Select this option to report errors on objects marked as non-printing in the Attributes panel.

  5. Select Generate Report to generate a text or PDF file containing a list of errors. The generated report lists all errors in the book.

  6. Click Preflight.

Resolve preflight errors in a book

When a red dot appears to the right of a document name in the book panel, the document contains preflight errors.

  1. In the Book panel, double-click the document containing errors.

  2. Use the Preflight panel to view the errors in each document, and make the necessary changes to fix the problems.

Design elements such as styles or swatches may cause errors. In such cases, make sure that you resolve the errors in the styles or swatches of the style source document, and then synchronize the book.

If you specified a profile for a book preflight that is not the embedded document profile, keep in mind that a different profile may be selected when you open the document again. The different profile may result in different preflight errors.

Package files

You can gather the files you’ve used, including fonts and linked graphics, for easy handoff to a service provider. When you package a file, you create a folder that contains the InDesign document (or documents in a book file), any necessary fonts, linked graphics, text files, and a customized report. This report, which is saved as a text file, includes the information in the Printing Instructions dialog box; a list of all used fonts, links, and inks required to print the document; and print settings.

InDesign performs an up-to-date preflight check. The Package Inventory dialog box indicates any detected problem areas. You can also give your service provider a composite PDF file made from your document or a PostScript file.

  1. Do one of the following to open the Package dialog box:
    • Choose File > Package. (If Package does not appear in the File menu, try choosing a different workspace, such as Window > Workspace > Advanced.)

    • In the Book panel menu, choose Package Book or Package Selected Documents, depending on whether all, some, or none of the documents are selected in the Book panel.

    An alert icon  indicates problem areas.

  2. In the Package dialog box, do one of the following:

    • If you’re notified of problems, click Cancel, and use the Preflight panel to resolve problem areas.

    • Click the problem area (such as Fonts) and then correct the problem. When you’re satisfied with the document, begin the packaging process again.

    • Click Package to begin packaging.

  3. Fill in the printing instructions. The filename you type is the name of the report that accompanies all other packaging files.
  4. Click Continue, and then specify a location in which to save all packaging files.
  5. Select the following, as needed:

    Copy Fonts

    Copies all necessary font files, not the entire typeface.

    Copy Linked Graphics

    Copies linked graphics files to package folder location.

    Update Graphic Links In Package

    Changes graphic links to the package folder location.

    Use Document Hyphenation Exceptions Only

    If this option is selected, InDesign flags this document so that it doesn’t reflow when someone else opens or edits it on a computer that has different hyphenation and dictionary settings. You can turn on this option when sending the file to a service provider.

    Include Fonts And Links From Hidden And Non-Printing Content

    Packages the objects located on hidden layers, hidden conditions, and layers for which the Print Layer option is turned off. When this option is not selected, the package includes only what is visible and printable in the document when you create the package.

    Select IDML options
    Select IDML options

    Include IDML

    Packages the IDML file with the package. This enables the InDesign document/book to be opened in previous versions of InDesign.

    Include PDF(Print)

    Select to package a pdf(print). All pdf presets currently present are available for use in packaging. Last used pdf preset is the default pdf preset in the pdf preset drop down.



    • In case of any warning during pdf creation, pdf is created successfully. But, a warning message is displayed. 
    • In case of any error during pdf/idml creation or during packaging, complete rollback takes place and nothing gets created.
    • Name of the created idml and pdf file is same as .indd document.

    View Report

    Opens the printing instructions report in a text editor immediately after packaging. To edit the printing instructions before completing the packaging process, click the Instructions button.

  6. Click Package to continue packaging.

Correct font errors

The Fonts area of the Package Inventory dialog box lists all fonts used in the document—including fonts applied to overset text or text on the pasteboard, and fonts embedded in EPS files, native Adobe Illustrator files, and placed PDF pages—and determines whether the font is installed on your computer and available. Selecting Show Problems Only shows fonts that fit into the following categories:

Missing fonts

Lists fonts that are used in the document but are not installed on the current computer or available as document installed fonts.

Incomplete fonts

Lists fonts that have a screen font on the current computer but not a corresponding printer font.

Protected fonts

Lists fonts that cannot be embedded in PDF or EPS files or used as document installed fonts due to license restrictions.

  • Do either of the following:
    • Close the Preflight dialog box and install the fonts on your computer.

    • Click Find Font in the Fonts area of the Preflight dialog box, and search for, list, and replace fonts used in your document.

Make sure that the fonts used in the document are licensed, installed, and activated either on your computer or on the output device.

The Links And Images area of the Package Inventory dialog box lists all links, embedded images, and placed InDesign files used in the document, including DCS and OPI links from linked EPS graphics. Images embedded in EPS graphics and placed InDesign files are not included as links in the preflight report. The preflight utility indicates missing or out-of-date links, and any RGB images (which may not separate properly unless color management is on and setup correctly).


The Package Inventory dialog box cannot detect RGB images embedded in placed EPS, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe PDF, FreeHand files, and placed .INDD files. For best results, verify color data for placed graphics using the Preflight panel or in their original applications.

  1. To view only problem images, select Show Problems Only in the Links And Images area of the Package Inventory dialog box.
  2. To repair a link, do one of the following:
    • Select the problem image and click either Update or Relink.

    • Click Repair All.

  3. Locate the correct image files and click Open.

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