PDF made from book file ruins Illustrator graphics

Advisor ,
Oct 07, 2021 Oct 07, 2021

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I've been working on a 300 page report with dozens of placed Illustrator files. The report is made up of 19 separate .indd files. If I open one of the component Indesign files outside of the book and Export to PDF (Press), I get decent graphics. But if I open the Indesign book file, highlight all the files, and Export the whole thing to PDF, the Illustrator graphics come out in some sort of low-res version. My .ai files are almost exclusively pure vector, so there's no reason they should look pixellated. And they look just fine if I Export to PDF outside of the book.

 

Indesign is at v16.4 x64. Illustrator is at 25.4.1 (64-bit), latest versions, I think.

 

This is the very last step. Wrong time to have these very dependable programs fail on me.

 

Any ideas?

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Advisor , Dec 02, 2021 Dec 02, 2021
So what resolved this problem was uninstalling newer versions and then reinstalling them. I didn't uninstall ID 2019 because it was working (and got me through this with two very large books). For reasons I don't understand, ID 2020 is not available to me to reinstall (I started with my CC subscription summer of 2019, and it's been kept current since, so I really should be able to reinstall ID 2020, but whatever). In any case, I don't need 2020. But I will keep ID 2019 around just in case this n...

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Advisor ,
Oct 08, 2021 Oct 08, 2021

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FWIW, I did not have this problem with the same book last year, when I was using ID 2020.

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Advisor ,
Oct 08, 2021 Oct 08, 2021

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I can replicate the problem. I can't share the files. I would have to make something generic to share; perhaps by the end of the weekend.

 

I've actually got two NGO reports going. I discovered this bug with a report I was finishing, but the other report is still just a bunch of figures, while the editors are working on the text. There are four chapters files (.indd) of figures, 67 total. I put all four chapters in a book and exported them to PDF. Everything was good until the 24th page. In the other report, things didn't start going wrong until the 33rd page, but that report had plenty of text. This one is just figures (because I don't have the text yet), with live text on the page in ID for the title, source, notes, and some comments (basically revision control) at the bottom of the page.

 

Screenshots below show the 23rd page (good) with figure number and title (live in ID) followed by the figure (vector .ai file) and the 24th page (not good) with figure number and title (live in ID) followed by the figure (another pure vector .ai file). And as with the previous report, if I export PDF outside of the book (that's all I've been doing up to now), everything looks great.

 

It's like Indesign runs out of juice at some point with book files, give up and starts dumping bitmaps instead of vectors.

Acrobat_2021-10-08_21-57-37.png

Acrobat_2021-10-08_21-57-56.png

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Advisor ,
Oct 08, 2021 Oct 08, 2021

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Further into testing: I took the four .indd files of figures and saved each one to IDML. Opened each one in ID 2019 (ID 2020 won't open for some reason) and saved them to a subfolder. Made a book, added all four .indd files, exported to PDF, and got 67 pages of perfect vectors.

 

This is a problem with ID 2021. ID 2019 (14.03 x64) performs perfectly.

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Advisor ,
Oct 08, 2021 Oct 08, 2021

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Next question: How can I get rid of ID 2021? And when did Adobe add endnote support (I've been using them, but I have a feeling there were no endnotes in 2019.)

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Advisor ,
Oct 08, 2021 Oct 08, 2021

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It would be great if someone could follow that bug report link, read up on how to duplicate this, and then actually duplicate it, let me know I'm not crazy.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 09, 2021 Oct 09, 2021

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I see from the start of the conversation that this was a previous book file. 

 

Can I ask if you have created a New Book file - and add all your files to this does it make a difference?

 

I'm only asking because I think I had a case of weirdness using a book file from a previous version of inDesign in a new version of InDesign.

My answer was to create a brand new book file.

 

With InDesign documents when opened from old version to new version is they get a (Converted) added to the title. 

However, you don't see this with the actual Book file.

 

As an experiment to figure out if older version of INDB are not compatible with the newer version of InDesign.

 

A solution for now might be to create a brand new INDB in your new version of InDesign.

 

Be interesting to know if it made a difference.

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Advisor ,
Oct 09, 2021 Oct 09, 2021

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Thanks, Eugene, that was a good idea. I'm not actually sure whether I Saved As from last year's book file or just made a new one. I know the chapter files (.indd) were Saved As from last year's files, but there's not a lot of payoff for reusing an old .indb file. Because I've renamed the .indd files, it's about the same amount of work to make a new one.

 

But since I wasn't sure, I deleted the old one and made a new one, added all the chapters, fixed up the numbering, and exported to PDF. I got the same problem (some, but not all, of my vectors were output as low-res bitmaps), but this time the problem started earlier in the PDF. As with earlier experiments, though, after the first bitmap, all drawings were bitmaps.

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Advisor ,
Oct 09, 2021 Oct 09, 2021

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My next step, I think, is to revert to Indesign 2019. I already ran a test, saving four files back to IDML in 2021, then opening in 2019 and saving back to INDD, then making a book file in 2019. This solved the problem.

 

I've got a lot of files made in Indesign 2021, and I work with other people who use CC, so I wonder what problems this will cause. What new features are in 2021 that weren't in 2019? I'm going to have to save all my files back through IDML, which means I can't uninstall 2021 until everything has been converted back.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 09, 2021 Oct 09, 2021

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The bug report you linked to above is from 2019—InDesign 14.02 (CC2019) on OSX 10.14.6

 

https://indesign.uservoice.com/forums/601180-adobe-indesign-bugs/suggestions/38404108-placed-vector-...

 

 

 

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Advisor ,
Oct 09, 2021 Oct 09, 2021

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Yes, my Indesign 2019 is 14.03, so maybe they fixed it and then it crept back into later versions.

 

I'd like to test this in Indesign 2020, but my copy won't open (I've got 2021, 2020, 2019, and CS6 on this machine). What happens if I uninstall 2020? Can I reinstall it, or is it gone forever?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 09, 2021 Oct 09, 2021

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Just tested my book example on CC2021 16.4, which I have installed on a testing volume and the placed AI file exported correctly, so it must be something specific to your files or some other hardware/software interaction.

 

If you turn on Show Older Apps in your Creative Cloud app Prefs, you should be able to install the previous version CC2020

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Advisor ,
Oct 10, 2021 Oct 10, 2021

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Thanks, Rob

I've saved the three books I'm working on back to ID 2019. The only feature I seem to have lost is SVG support.

I'm entirely willing to believe this is a problem on my installation or my files. Very few other people seem to have run into this. And making generic test files is going to take some time I don't have right now, so I think I'm just going to wait for ID 2022 and see if it fixes the problem. 

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Advisor ,
Dec 02, 2021 Dec 02, 2021

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I worked around this problem by going back to Indesign 2019. The report is published, and my client gave me permission to post one chapter from the book. Here's a link to a packaged Indesign file: https://www.dropbox.com/s/zid1pccxu4e4ieb/lo-res-vectors.zip?dl=0

 

This is saved in Indesign 2022, and a PDF is included in the package. In order to test this, unzip the package, install the fonts (if necessary), and open the Indesign book file in Indesign 2022. Export to print PDF at Press settings. The expected result is that all of the placed AI files will appear as low-res bitmaps in the PDF.

 

Now close the Indesign book file and open the second (larger, labeled 1b) Indesign file independently from the book. Export to print PDF at Press settings. The expected result is that all of the placed AI files will appear as pure vectors.

 

I would be most grateful if a few people could test this so I understand definitively whether this is a problem with my particular installation (of both Indesign 2021 and Indesign 2022) or whether this is a bug.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 02, 2021 Dec 02, 2021

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Hello, i've test with Id 2021 on an Mac pro with MacOs Monterey and all pdf exports was good. 
PDF/X4 - PDF/X4 Acrobat 8/9 (PDF1.7)

PDF/X3

PDF/X1a

 

i'm thinking something who can be great fot you. Instead doing Ai files you can use the Chartwell font : https://www.myfonts.com/search/chartwell/

A real time saving with many possibilities.

 

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Advisor ,
Dec 02, 2021 Dec 02, 2021

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Thanks, Alexandre

I will look into Chartwell. For a lot of the graphs I make I've stopped using Illustrator's graphing tool. It's just too primitive. The last big book I did I copied graphs from Excel and pasted them into Illustrator, where I reformatted them to a common style. This was time-consuming, and not updatable (with new data), but even if I use Illustrator's graphing tool, I invariably end up ungrouping the graph so I can change something. Even simply sizing a graph is a problem. Everything else in Illustrator can be selected and resized using numbers. But not graphs.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 02, 2021 Dec 02, 2021

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Also is ok for me out of CC2020 on OSX Mojave—although the file I tested was converted and added to a new book.

 

I did notice the hidden top layer of GTCI 2021 1b Portulans is a masterpage text frame with no fill and transparency applied. Does the conversion to bitmap happen if you delete the transparent masterpage text frame?

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Advisor ,
Dec 02, 2021 Dec 02, 2021

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These files were inherited from another designer. I don't usually use hidden layers (at least in Indesign). But I don't think the hidden layer is the problem because I see this same problem with a completely different book that I designed myself from the ground up (can't post that one, they won't give me permission). And the hidden layer is not a problem if I simply export the single .indd file from ID 2021 or 2022. This problem only happens when I export the entire .indb from Indesign 2021 or 2022. It doesn't happen from Indesign 2019, regardless of whether I'm exporting the whole book or just one chapter.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 02, 2021 Dec 02, 2021

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I’m just wondering if there is something about the construction of the file that is triggering the bug.

 

Can you reproduce the book problem if you make new documents with just the .ai files placed, and no transparency, spot colors, or hyperlinks? There is some unusual spot color usage in the file —a spot color named PINK that appears to be in use in the ID file, but doesn’t export as a spot plate in the PDF. Also a process color, which has been duplicated, set as a spot, is in use, and does show in the PDF as an extra plate—C=91 M=61 Y=24 K=5 1

 

 

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Advisor ,
Dec 02, 2021 Dec 02, 2021

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Good thoughts, there is some messiness in these somewhat old files, but this was not the problem. Pink is a color that was used to query elements that needed to be fixed before publication. Since you're seeing the final version (at least of these two chapters) all of the pink queries were resolved and changed to the correct color. So no spot plate for pink.

 

What finally fixed it was uninstalling ID back to ID 2020, and then reinstalling back up to ID 2022.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 02, 2021 Dec 02, 2021

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Hi Ken,

Knowing you a bit I'm a little surprised you haven't just exported the chapters one by one and combined in Acrobat for the time being...

 

And have you tried opening those .idml files in 2021 or 2022 resaving and adding to a book to see if that clears up the problem?

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Advisor ,
Dec 02, 2021 Dec 02, 2021

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Hi Peter,

I thought about that option, but the final PDF has lots of internal links and bookmarks that would have to be recreated if I chopped it up and pasted it back together. Besides, that's a lot of separate files to export, I think something like 30. Here's the final published book: https://www.insead.edu/sites/default/files/assets/dept/fr/gtci/GTCI-2021-Report.pdf

 

Going back to ID 2019 seemed like the easiest solution, but at the time I figured Adobe would have this fixed by the time they got the 2022 version out.

 

Early on, I did try saving chapters to IDML, reopening them and saving them in ID 2021 (2022 wasn't out yet), and adding them to a fresh book. Same problem.

 

Probably the solution at this point is to uninstall 2022, 2021, 2020, and then reinstall them. Or just keep working on 2019, since that seems to work fine.

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Advisor ,
Dec 02, 2021 Dec 02, 2021

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So what resolved this problem was uninstalling newer versions and then reinstalling them. I didn't uninstall ID 2019 because it was working (and got me through this with two very large books). For reasons I don't understand, ID 2020 is not available to me to reinstall (I started with my CC subscription summer of 2019, and it's been kept current since, so I really should be able to reinstall ID 2020, but whatever). In any case, I don't need 2020. But I will keep ID 2019 around just in case this nastiness ever comes back.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 02, 2021 Dec 02, 2021

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Hi Ken,

the reasons are that Adobe is only supporting the last two CC versions.

And that are CC 2021 and CC 2022. You uninstalled 2020 so the Creative Cloud Desktop App will only offer 2021 and 2022 in case you unistalled them as well.

 

To get back 2020 you could contact Adobe’s Customer Care team via live online chat.

The procedure is described here:

 

How to Get the New Adobe CC 2020 Direct Download Links
December 18, 2019 Updated November 11, 2021
https://prodesigntools.com/creative-cloud-2020-direct-download-links.html

 

"Just reach out to Adobe’s Customer Care team via live online chat, and they will immediately give you temporary links to download offline installers for all the 2020 apps that you need."

 

Regards,
Uwe Laubender

( ACP )

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 02, 2021 Dec 02, 2021

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Also, be sure that your Creative Cloud app preferences are not set to remove old versions. 

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

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 27, 2022 Jan 27, 2022

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LATEST

Hi Kenneth,

we have a similar issue here at the InDesign forum of hilfdirselbst.ch:

 

Indesign PDF-Export: bei Buchdatei wird AI-Grafik als Rastergrafik ausgegeben
tpf, 26. Jan 2022, 22:49

https://www.hilfdirselbst.ch/gforum/gforum.cgi?post=582372#582372

 

Also this one:

 

Vektrorgrafiken im PDF unscharf
Wortsalat, 12. Jun 2019, 11:03
https://www.hilfdirselbst.ch/foren/Vektrorgrafiken_im_PDF_unscharf_P570671.html#570671

 

For the first one listed above we still have no solution. I tested today with the data of the OP; I had no issues at all on my machine. With the second one we had the solution to trash cache and preferences as far as I can see.

 

 

Regards,
Uwe Laubender

( ACP )

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