DISCLAIMER: By giving this information, I am in no way endorsing this type of behavior and don’t want to be labeled as an “enabler.” If anyone asks where you learned how to do this, just say “This guy I know in Poughkeepsie.”
The question came up again today, this time from my buddy Jimmy Hines in Houston, TX: “
No. Nope. Can’t.
You can Print and Distill a separated PDF from InDesign, however, and that’s probably what you are really asking since you NEVER could export a separated PDF from InDesign.
With Snow Leopard and CS5 some of the rules have changed. In short, the Adobe PDF Printer is no longer an option in your apps. If it is, it’s a dirty lying trick and it doesn’t work correctly.
So what do you do if your printer insists on separated PDFs? Tell them to get with the times by either buying newer equipment or learning how to use what they have correctly. The other option is to switch to a printer who doesn’t drive an AMC Matador to work while listening to 8-track tapes.
Why am I so harsh? Printers have been able to print separations from Acrobat from version…um…six (don’t quote me on that, but it’s been a long time). Which means you can give them a composite PDF and they can control the color separations on their end. So if they are still asking for separated PDFs, they are either using older versions, didn’t know they could do that or [advance to next paragraph].
Some printers have workflows where PDFs are simply dropped in a hot folder and it zips through the RIP to output. If this is the case, they must not have an output device that can handle in-RIP separations. Printers in the room, help me on this…name some RIPs that cannot separate as part of the imaging process.
“Why NOT send a separated PDF, Mr. Smarty Pants?” you might be asking me. Well, you can’t impose it, can’t edit it in Acrobat, it’s been flattened, doesn’t have metadata in the images and other good reasons not to.
AND NOW FOR A COMMERCIAL BREAK: I just finished a video titled “11 Things Every Newspapers Should Know About PDFs” and you can buy your copy here from Video2Brain.
All that aside, let’s pretend that you absolutely, positively HAVE to create a separated PDF from InDesign on Snow Leopard…you CAN!
You need to do a couple of things first.
Step One: Go get a [insert favorite beverage here, unless it's alcohol and you're driving while reading this on your smart phone]
Step Two: Download an unzip this PostScript Printer PPD, which you can do right here at this link I’ve cleverly titled: Click here to download the PostScript Printer PPD.
Step Three: In the Adobe InDesign application folder, in the Presets folder, create a folder named PPDs. Exactly that…not PPD Stuff I need, not My Cute Little PPDs not even PPDelish…just PPDs.
Step Four: Put the PPD file you just downloaded in that folder.
Step Five: Restart InDesign.
AND NOW FOR ANOTHER COMMERCIAL BREAK: I just finished a video titled “11 Things Every Newspapers Should Know About PDFs” and you can buy your copy here from Video2Brain.
Step Six: When you go to print your document, you can choose the PostScript file as your printer and choose RTI RIP-Kit v3 as your PPD. For the record, you can use any PPD for a postscript device that allows custom page sizes, this is just one I had handy. See dramatic graphic below.
Step Seven: Now you can go to the Output tab of the Print Window and change Composite CMYK to Separations and then do whatever custom settings your Printer as asked of you.
Another reason I don’t recommend separated PDFs is because of all the controls the Printer has put in Your hands. Not that you can’t handle it, but it’s YOUR responsibility to know screen angle, line screen, etc. I just think you lose flexibility when working with a printer with multiple presses, various paper types or maybe you want to send a PDF that’s going to be printed in multiple locations. If so, separated is going to be problematic.
Let me know if this helps. But remember…I’m not encouraging this type of shenanigans.
AND NOW FOR A FINAL COMMERCIAL BREAK: I just finished a video titled “11 Things Every Newspapers Should Know About PDFs” and you can buy your copy here from Video2Brain.