Error: "This document may contain binary EPS files" when printing in InDesign


When printing from Adobe InDesign you get the error :

"This document may contain binary EPS files, which can cause the print job to fail. If the printer produces output, then the binary data did not interfere with printing. Do you want to print this document?"



Some PostScript printing configurations include modules which will sometimes interpret certain character combinations in binary data as commands. When interpretted as a command, this may cause the job to fail, or to begin to print the binary data directly such that the printer generates many pages of single line output of a binary text string. As a precaution, InDesign gives the warning above when there is a possibility of this. This includes the following cases:

  • The job contains a placed EPS that has a %%DocumentData comment which states Binary
  • The job contains a placed EPS that has a %%DocumentData comment which is missing it's value
  • The job contains a placed EPS that has a is missing it's %%DocumentData comment
  • The job contains a placed EPS to a printer configuration who's data format cannot be certain. This tends to be common when printing from Mac OS X systems, as the downstream data pipe cannot be fully evaluated.


Do one of the following solutions:

Solution 1: Click OK to test printing of the document

If you click OK and send the print job to the printer/device, and it prints successfully, then your print configuration supports binary data and you can safely ignore the warning. If, on the other hand, you click OK and send the job to the device and get many pages of what looks like binary data printed in one line on each page, then your print stream does not support binary printing, in which case, you should use one of the solutions below.

Solution 2: Resave the graphic in a file format other than EPS

PSD, TIFF, PDF, or other formats, are not at risk for this issue. 

Solution 2: Use an EPS with no binary data.

This is sometimes possible by resaving the EPS from the source application with a different setting. However, sometimes the data is further encapsulated in that file such that it's data format cannot be changed.

Solution 3: Use an EPS from Photoshop.

InDesign treats most Photoshop EPS files in a way that it can reformat the data to match the ASCII/Binary switch set in the InDesign print dialog. Simply open the EPS into Photoshop, and choose Save As and choose another name, or same name and click yes to replace. 

Solution 4: Change the settings on your printer to support Binary printing protocols.

This is usually done through the control panel on the front of the printer. Consult your printer's user documentation for how to do this.

Additional Information

If an an EPS file  which contains binary data is placed into an Indesign document and you then print the publication with the output Data Format set to ASCII, the EPS data goes through the PostScript pass through route in the code and binary data will be produced. This is a possible cause for the print job to fail.

Currently, InDesign determines if an EPS contains binary data by checking for the existance of the %%DocumentData comment. If present, InDesign searches for  three valid parameters for this DSC comment: Clean7Bit, Clean8Bit or Binary. 

If the parameter is set to Binary, or if the %%DocumentData comment is missing from the EPS, InDesign will give a warning message and allows to cancel the print job.

InDesign will only check for this condition when printing and output data format is set to ASCII.

InDesign will not check when exporting to EPS, since the error message is designed for printing.

InDesign will not check Photoshop EPS files.