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Best file format for images in printed book

Participant ,
Nov 12, 2022 Nov 12, 2022

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Hi all! I have a situation where I'm making Excel spreadsheets into figures for importing to InDesign. Excel doesn't seem to export to tiff, which as far as I've read is the best format for InD (if this isn't correct I'd love other opinions).

 

Anyway, I'm exporting the spreadsheets to PDF and setting them to comply to PDF/A-3b (the highest option available), and they look very nice on screen in the InD files. I'm worried about how they'll look when printed.

 

I'd very much like to know if anyone feels there's a better option than what I'm doing. 

 

Thanks!!

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Import and export , Print

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Community Expert ,
Nov 12, 2022 Nov 12, 2022

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You should be able to place linked versions of excel spreadsheets into InDesign that can then be formatted with table styles. That will keep your data as live type. There's a preference setting under file handling for spreadsheets.

 

As for image formats in InDesign, I prefer using native PSD files for any raster artwork. I avoid PNGs for print since they're primarily for web. JPEGs could have compression artifacts, depends on the quality.

 

In this case exporting to PDF should retain live type from excel, which would be better than rasterizing it.

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Advisor ,
Nov 12, 2022 Nov 12, 2022

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As already mentioned - you can link Excel with InDesign - but it looks like you don't know InDesign very well so it would be better for you to place without linking or copy&paste directly from Excel and style it in InDesign.

Unless of course your Excel data may change frequently - but then you need to be very careful what and how you are doing.

 

Can automate anything - as long as it doesn't require A.I.

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Participant ,
Nov 20, 2022 Nov 20, 2022

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Thanks, but the images need to look exactly like the Excel spreadsheets (the book is an instruction on using Excel for business, and the author is using his actual sheets), so I can't make them into tables in InDesign. I got the answer I needed re using PDFs, so I'm all set. BTW, I guess if I knew InDesign as well as you do, I wouldn't need to post a question. 😉

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Community Expert ,
Nov 21, 2022 Nov 21, 2022

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As an instruction book, presumedly, you will need to show the entire screen including the menus and ribbon area. Exports from Excel will NOT show the entire screen. For that, you will need to use screen captures. 

 

The best option for screen captures is to take them on a uHD (4K or higher) monitor. Most screen capture software saves as RGB PNGs. InDesign will use those fine--you can convert to CMYK during output from InDesign or let the printer handled it.

 

David Creamer: Community Expert, Adobe Certified Instructor, and Adobe Certified Expert (since 1995)

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Participant ,
Nov 21, 2022 Nov 21, 2022

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Thanks David, but he's not teching people how to use Excel, he's teaching them how to set up a business plan. His readers will know Excel. I appreciate your response though!

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Community Expert ,
Nov 21, 2022 Nov 21, 2022

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So the author won't be showing any functions, formatting, or layout settings from the ribbon area?

 

David Creamer: Community Expert, Adobe Certified Instructor, and Adobe Certified Expert (since 1995)

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Participant ,
Nov 21, 2022 Nov 21, 2022

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Correct. The book is about setting up a new business plan, financial info, marketing, etc., not how to use Excel. He's using a case study of a company he started for readers to follow along in the process. He describes the pictures of the spreadsheets he used, then blanks for the readers to enter information for their startup, plus actual Excel files to download so his readers can plug their numbers in as he describes in the book. So all I need is pictures for the printed and online books.

 

Is that clear as mud :)? I think from the feedback I've gotten making PDFs of the spreadsheets is the best way for importing into InD.

 

Thanks for your responses and input!

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Community Expert ,
Nov 21, 2022 Nov 21, 2022

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If you're taking a lot of screen captures, Snagit is a must-have application.

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Participant ,
Nov 21, 2022 Nov 21, 2022

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Hi Bob, I'll check out Snagit.

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Community Expert ,
Nov 21, 2022 Nov 21, 2022

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SnagIt is my go-to screen capture, but each OS has the ability to capture the screen or sections of the screen. Windows uses the Snipping Tool, but I prefer SnagIt. If you get SnagIt, I suggest you get the maintenance add-on--it's more cost-effective in the long run.

 

David Creamer: Community Expert, Adobe Certified Instructor, and Adobe Certified Expert (since 1995)

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Community Expert ,
Nov 13, 2022 Nov 13, 2022

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Hi @Susan Culligan , If you have the option to use them the PDF/X-4 and PDF/X-1a presets are designed for offset printing.They adhere to printing standards and include an Output Intent Profile.

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Participant ,
Nov 20, 2022 Nov 20, 2022

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Thanks Rob. Unfortunately Excel (I have Microsoft Office 365 so it should be the latest version) seems to stop at PDF/X3-A, but I didn't know about Output Intent Profile, which I'll check out right away.

 

Cheers!

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Community Expert ,
Nov 21, 2022 Nov 21, 2022

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If you want to import PDFs in InDesign use PDF/X-4.

Not PDF/X-A as this is not for print quality.

Not PDF/X-1a or X-3 as those have flattened transparency which can cause visible stitching lines in the final output.

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Community Expert ,
Nov 21, 2022 Nov 21, 2022

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PDFs won't work give showing the entire screen. He'll only work for the actual spreadsheet area itself.

 

David Creamer: Community Expert, Adobe Certified Instructor, and Adobe Certified Expert (since 1995)

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