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Create PostScript and EPS files

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Create PostScript or EPS files

As an alternative to printing a document to a printer, you can save a PostScript-language description of the document as a .PS file for printing on remote printers—for example, by a prepress service provider. A service provider can send a .PS file directly to the imagesetter. The size of a PostScript file is usually larger than the original InDesign document, because the graphics and fonts are embedded.

You can also export a document page or spread to an EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) file and place it in other applications.

Choose the right method for creating a PostScript file

You can save your InDesign document or book in any of three types of PostScript files: device-independent, device-dependent, or device- and driver-dependent.

The following tables list recommended printer drivers and output methods for achieving the best results with post-processing applications and InDesign. If your document will be processed by an OPI server, or by an imposition, trapping, or other prepress application before it is printed by a RIP, choose PostScript® File in the Printer menu in the InDesign Print dialog box. That way, InDesign has complete control over the DSC output. For desktop printing, use any supported PostScript printer driver.

The tables use asterisks to indicate the relative suitability of each method for prepress work:


The PostScript file is fully DSC-compliant, and very suitable for use with a wide variety of post-processing applications, RIPs, and workflows. This method is the best all-round choice for applications that rely on DSC.


The PostScript file is largely DSC-compliant, and generally suitable for use with a wide variety of post-processing applications, RIPs, and workflows. Some compatibility issues may exist for certain types of applications that rely heavily on DSC.

Printer selection: PostScript® File

Operating system


Prepress suitability

All platforms





A printer driver isn’t used when the printer selection is “PostScript® File.”

Printer selection: <installed printer>

Operating system

Printer driver

Prepress suitability

Mac OS 10.2

Built‑in PS Driver for Mac OS X


Windows 2000/XP

Pscript 5


The PPD used by the selected printer appears in the PPD text box at the top of the Print dialog box.

About device- and driver-dependent PostScript files

Select a printer and a supported driver in the Printer menu. A device- and driver-dependent PostScript file has the following characteristics:

  • It is driver-dependent. The PostScript file will contain code generated by InDesign and by the driver. The InDesign code is primarily responsible for the page content, including font downloading, and for setting basic device information, such as media size, resolution, and screening. The driver is primarily responsible for setting special driver features, such as watermarks, and for enabling or controlling special device features. Since InDesign doesn’t have complete control over creating the PostScript file, the level of DSC compliance isn’t quite as high as it is with driver‑independent PostScript files. The level of DSC compliance, and therefore the PostScript file’s suitability for prepress tasks, depends on the printer driver used.

  • It is device-dependent. It contains code for enabling and controlling specific device features, making it less compatible with devices other than the target device.

  • It can be composite or separated (all of the color output methods that InDesign supports are available).

  • It can be trapped by InDesign (either by using Application Built-In or Adobe In-RIP Trapping).

  • It can be printed directly to the device, or to file.

A device- and driver-dependent PostScript file is ideally suited for proofing (by the designer) to desktop PostScript printers. It can also be used by service providers who don't plan to do any prepress tasks to the job outside of InDesign or the RIP system. In other words, if trapping is done, it happens in InDesign or at the RIP.

Create a device-independent PostScript file

Select PostScript File in the Printer menu, and select Device Independent in the PPD menu. A device-independent PostScript file has the following characteristics:

  • It is 100% DSC-compliant, making it ideal for such post-processing tasks as trapping and imposition.

  • All device and driver dependencies are removed, so that the file will print to almost any output device. However, special printer features found in PPD files, such as image exposure, available media sizes, and optimized screen frequencies, aren’t available in device-independent output.

  • The color output is always composite CMYK, but it also includes spot colors. As a result, it has to be separated in post-processing software, or at the RIP using in-RIP separations.

  • It cannot be trapped by InDesign; trapping must occur at the RIP, or in post-processing software.

  • It can only be printed to file (not directly to a device or application) from InDesign.

    A device-independent PostScript file is ideal for composite prepress workflows, where the file will be trapped and separated later in the production process, such as during imposition, trapping, or at the RIP (if the output device supports in-RIP separations).

  1. Choose File > Print.
  2. In the Print dialog box, for Printer, choose PostScript File.
  3. For PPD, choose Device Independent.
  4. View or change existing print settings. InDesign uses the current page range when creating the PostScript file.
  5. Click Save.
  6. Specify a name and location, and click Save.

Create a device-dependent PostScript file using InDesign

Select PostScript File in the Printer menu, and select a PPD. A device-dependent PostScript file has the following characteristics:

  • It is 100% DSC-compliant, making it ideal for such post-processing tasks as trapping and imposition.

  • It contains a description of everything in your document, including information about linked files, optimized screen frequencies, resolution, and available media sizes tailored to the currently selected output device.

  • All driver dependencies are removed.

  • It can be composite or separated. All of the color output methods that InDesign supports are available. (In-RIP separations are available if the PPD and output device support them.)

  • It can be trapped by InDesign (either by using Application Built-In or Adobe In-RIP Trapping).

  • It can only be printed to file (not directly to a device or application) from InDesign.

A device-dependent PostScript file is ideally suited to pre-separation or trapping workflows, where the file will be trapped using automatic or Adobe In-RIP Trapping features within InDesign.

  1. Choose File > Print.
  2. In the Print dialog box, for Printer, choose PostScript File.
  3. Choose the PPD for the final output device.
  4. View or change existing print settings. InDesign uses the current page range when creating the PostScript file.
  5. Click Save.
  6. Specify a name and location, and click Save.

Create a PostScript file using a PostScript printer driver (Windows)

  1. Choose File > Print.
  2. In the InDesign Print dialog box, click the Setup button at the bottom of the dialog box.
  3. In the printer driver’s dialog box, select Print to File.
  4. Click the Layout tab, and then click the Advanced button.
  5. Click Document Options, click PostScript Options, and then choose Optimize For Portability in the PostScript Output Option menu. Click OK.
  6. Click OK or Print to return to the InDesign Print dialog box.
  7. In the InDesign Print dialog box, click Print.
  8. Specify a name and location, and click Save.

Create a PostScript file using a PostScript printer driver (Mac OS)

  1. Choose File > Print.
  2. In the Print dialog box, choose PostScript File in the Printer menu, and click Save.
  3. In the Save PostScript File dialog box, specify a name and location for the PostScript file (.ps), and then click Save.

Export pages in EPS format

Use the Export command to export InDesign pages in EPS format, which you can import into another program. If you export multiple pages, each page is exported as a separate file with a number appended to the end of the filename. For example, if you export pages 3, 6, and 12, and specify the filename News.eps, InDesign will create three files named News_3.eps, News_6.eps, and News_12.eps.


If you want to open InDesign pages in Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop, export pages as PDF or EPS files.

  1. Choose File > Export.
  2. Specify a location and a filename. Be sure to include the EPS extension.
  3. For Save As Type (Windows) or Format (Mac OS), choose EPS, and click Save.
  4. Under Pages in the Export EPS dialog box, do one of the following:
    • Select All Pages to export all pages in the document.

    • Select Ranges and type a page range. You can type a range using a hyphen, and separate pages or ranges using commas.

    • Select Spreads to export facing pages as a single EPS file (one spread per EPS).

  5. Set additional options.
  6. Under Bleed, type a value between 0p0 and 36p0 to specify extra space for graphics that are positioned beyond the edge of the page or trim area.
  7. Click Export.

EPS export options

When you export to EPS, you can specify the following options:


Specifies a level of compatibility with the interpreters in PostScript output devices. Level 2 will often improve the printing speed and output quality of graphics printed only on a PostScript Level 2 or greater output device. Level 3 provides the best speed and output quality, but requires a PostScript 3 device.


Specifies how color is represented in the exported file. The options below are similar to the Color settings in the Print dialog box.

Leave Unchanged

Leaves each image in its original color space. For example, if the document contains three RGB images and four CMYK images, the resulting EPS file will contain the same RGB and CMYK images.


Creates a separable file by representing all color values using the gamut of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black process color inks.


Converts all color values to high-quality black-and-white images. The gray levels (shades) of the converted objects represent the luminosity of the original objects.


Represents all color values using the red, green, and blue color space. An EPS file with RGB color definitions is better suited for on-screen viewing.

PostScript®Color Management

Uses the document’s color data in a calibrated version of its original color space.


Determines the characteristics of the preview image that is saved in the file. The preview image is displayed in applications that cannot display EPS artwork directly. If you don’t want to create a preview image, choose None in the format menu.

Embed Fonts

Specifies how to include fonts used in the pages you export.


Includes a reference to the font in the PostScript file that tells the RIP or a post‑processor where the font should be included.


Downloads all fonts required for the document at the beginning of the print job. All glyphs and characters in a font are downloaded even if they don’t appear in the document. InDesign automatically subsets fonts that contain more than the maximum number of glyphs (characters) specified in the Preferences dialog box.


Downloads only the characters (glyphs) used in the document.

Data Format

Specifies how InDesign sends the image data from your computer to a printer: as ASCII or Binary data.


Specifies how much image data in placed bitmap images to include in the exported file.


Includes all available high-resolution image data in the exported file and requires the most disk space. Choose this option if the file will be printed on a high-resolution output device.


Includes only screen-resolution versions (72 dpi) of placed bitmap images in the exported file. Choose this option in conjunction with the OPI Image Replacement option, or if the resulting PDF file will be viewed on-screen.

OPI Image Replacement

Enables InDesign to replace low-resolution EPS proxies of graphics with high-resolution graphics at output time.

Omit For OPI

Selectively omits imported graphics when sending image data to a printer or file, leaving only the OPI links (comments) for later handling by an OPI server.

Transparency Flattener

Select a flattener preset in the Preset menu to specify how transparent objects appear in the exported file. This option is the same as the Transparency Flattener option that appears in the Advanced area of the Print dialog box.

Ink Manager

Corrects any ink options without changing the design of the document.


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