"Failed to Export PDF"

New Here ,
Jun 12, 2018 Jun 12, 2018

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Working on a file in InDesign (13.1) and when I try to print it fails, and when I try to export it as a pdf it says "Failed to Export to pdf" with no explanation. I tried turning off downsampling, but that didn't help. Even deleted all of the photos to test doing it that way, but still no luck.

It seems to be a problem with this particular file, not with memory, because when I tested the issue by opening a different, much larger and more complex file, it exported just fine.

Tried packaging it as well, and also got the failed to create pdf error, which seems to make it not package the file, either.

Appreciate any suggestions. Thanks.

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Import and export , Performance

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Adobe Community Professional , Jun 12, 2018 Jun 12, 2018
Try removing any document corruption by saving it as an IDML document, renaming it and reopening it and exporting as a PDF/X-4.

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New Here ,
Sep 18, 2019 Sep 18, 2019

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I realize this is a year later lol but I had the same issue with a file.

I was finally able to save it using the "standard" dropdown box, which I normally don't use. For some reason that worked for me!

 

Screen Shot 2019-09-18 at 4.17.06 PM.png

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New Here ,
Nov 02, 2019 Nov 02, 2019

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Having the same problem. Indesign refuses to make a pdf file. I have a 800 book and a tight deadline. I just realized that typesetting is the worst job in the world. Its boring and highly stressful at the same time.

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Explorer ,
Dec 04, 2019 Dec 04, 2019

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Not to be contrarian, but I don't have a clue as to how I might go about locating "any document corruption" in order to remove it. Exporting to IDML reopening and reexporting throws the exact same (very unhelpful) error message: "the PDF failed to export." Well, duh, it doesn't take a PhD in programming to know that. Can Adobe not give us more explicit error messages. 

 

And for the record, a PDF/X-4 is useless when I have a very specific requirement from my printer. 

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New Here ,
Jan 10, 2020 Jan 10, 2020

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I had a 16-pg InDesign doc that I had copied from another file. I went through and re-linked all the images (where ID had red-lined my missing links). All seemed to be in order. No errors, but of the 16 pages, there were 7 that I could not export to PDF. All the others were good. Not sure if this solves other problems, but I finally went through every image on the ID doc and re-linked them to the image on my desktop (not Dropbox). It look forever, but it worked. 

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New Here ,
Jan 24, 2020 Jan 24, 2020

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WHAT WORKED FOR ME !!!!!!!
I downscaled any large images to were in document. Downscaled to minimum that images were shown in high res but not linked as large size.
I had images/psd that were over the 100mb - The moment i downscaled them - i could save them as pdf without errors

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New Here ,
May 24, 2020 May 24, 2020

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Dear Adobe Team,

in multiple projects I have similar problems like those described in this threat. I read the replies thoroughly and tried all your suggestions. Some problems could be solved after time consuming try and error approaches. However, some problems could not be tackled.

Currently my problem is that I can export the PDF uncompressed but it is not possible to export it without downscaling. Ironically, it doesn't even work when I reduce the image sizes in Photoshop below the limit for downscaling (450 dpi to 300 dpi).

Here are my system specifications:
Adobe InDesign 14.0.3
macOs Sierra 10.12.6
I usually work on a NAS but the problems are similar when saving the files to Desktop.
All my documents are complex, have more than 50 pages and contain numerous images.

The PDF-export always fails at 99%, where it usually stays for more than 5 minutes before the alert is shown.
As already mentioned, this happens in different projects that are not comparable by content or structure.

In preceiding cases, I could solve the problem by deleting Preferences and / or using the IDML Export.

Your suggestions to split the document to find the corrupted page did never lead to success:
in one case pages 1-20 and 70-112 could be exported separately but not together as 1-20,70-112.
In the same file 20-25, 25-30, 1-28, 27-30 worked but not 20-30.
You can imagine how time consuming these useless tests have been.

I don't see how this "corruption" could be caused by the user.
If yes, I would wonder why the software allows it?
As mentioned before, very often deleting the Preferences was the fix – but unfortunately not always.

As this threat is almost 2 years old but has been updated frequently eversince, I would like to know which sustainable solutions you can offer?

Please don't refer to the next version of InDesign or different Hardware, OS etc. If your products just work on brand new computers and operating systems you should mention this as the first sentence on the product website... 

As far as I am informed, Adobe CC is a tool set for professional use and you expect customers to pay significant fees. As you do not offer services without payment, I wonder why customers need to spend unpaid hours on trouble-shooting?

I hope for your understanding that it is no option to send over complex projects each time your software does not work as it should.

I would be grateful for explanations why these problems occur and / or how to avoid them.

I would like to emphasize that I don't intend to attack any of you personally. As you can guess, I am more than disappointed by the declining performance of your products. I have been a customer for years and rarely had problems. Unfortunately, this has changed.

Thanks a lot and best wishes.

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New Here ,
Jul 13, 2020 Jul 13, 2020

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I have trouble exporting to PDF with the 15.1.1 version. It won't let me export to anything but PDF X-4.

 

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New Here ,
Aug 17, 2020 Aug 17, 2020

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Hi Not sure if you have resolved this yet. I recently installed the most up to date version, after struggling with this for a long time I figured out that it was the image links. For some reason, Id isn't showing the missing links in the Links panel. (when saving the file to a new location) I had to relink all my images and then export them as a PDF again. It's working now. After a couple of small heart attacks. 

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New Here ,
Apr 08, 2021 Apr 08, 2021

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This fixed the issue for me too! I tried everything, including saving to IDML, print to PDF, exporting file pages separately, save as separate file, move pages to new file, and resetting ID preferences. My IT department even rebuilt my whole Adobe system on my computer. Then I came across your post and gave it a try. I had initially suspected a bad link or graphic, but I was showing "No Errors" in my files. I relinked all graphics and was able to export and package files again. 

 

I am curious to know why this happened to me all of a sudden, and why my colleagues could work in the same files without issue or having to relink. This issue first popped up when I had used CC Library for the first time, and was collaborating on the document set with 3 others. Would be curious if anyone knows why this happens. I have version 16.1 x 64.

 

Thanks for the info!!

 

 

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Explorer ,
Sep 15, 2020 Sep 15, 2020

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The only solution that has worked for me thus far has been to SAVE AS over the original file. 

Hasn't failed me yet...  

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Explorer ,
Sep 17, 2020 Sep 17, 2020

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I am so grateful that I found this. I have spent the last two days on the phone with Adobe and got nowhere. I followed your instructions and it worked beautifully. Thank you so much. This is definitley a valuable site and will continue to use instead of calling Adobe.

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Community Beginner ,
Sep 28, 2020 Sep 28, 2020

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Hi everyone, 

we're currently experiencing the "Failed to export PDF" issue too (we're Mac OS based)

As a team, we're working on testing multiple solutions : IDML saving, Mac OS Security and Privacy parameters checking, testing export on ID CC2019 and CC2020, everything with no luck so far.

One only clue: as we're Mojave-based (10.14), I upgraded to Catalina (10.15) and it seems Mac Os offers an additional "Files and Folders" parameter in Security and Privacy, that doesn't exist in 10.14.

My upgrade allowed me to achieve pending exports, but workmates using older Macs won't be allowed to go 10.15.

 

It seems Adobe teams marked the issue resolved on InDesign 15.1.2 update, but no luck for now. Any ideas if the case is still open ?

 

Regards

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New Here ,
Nov 26, 2020 Nov 26, 2020

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Hi everyone,

I just experienced the "Failed to export PDF" issue with 3 indd files which I already had used and exported from with no trouble before. My collegue opened and exported the same files easily and he has the same Mac OS, same Adobe version and same computer configuration. It's very odd.

 

Did you get any results, Paul?

I have tried all kind of solutions metioned and no-mentioned, but still get the same trouble. 

 

 

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Explorer ,
Nov 26, 2020 Nov 26, 2020

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In my particular situation with a file, it had a lot of photos and a lot of text. It was suggest to my printer that I rebuild the document. Before I did that I highlighted everything and found some corrupt files that were buried under the background so I could never see them. As time consuming as it was I did rebuild the file and it cleaned everything up. I did try exporting as an IDML file but wasn't succesful with that process. Wanted to share how I solved this issue.

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New Here ,
Feb 10, 2021 Feb 10, 2021

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Was having the same issue with a 140-page catalog file. I just turned on the include Hyperlinks option during export and it worked fine. No other setting changes or workarounds needed.

Screen Shot 2021-02-10 at 12.04.52 PM.png

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New Here ,
Mar 04, 2021 Mar 04, 2021

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It turned out that I had one image in my doc that was a bit weird, had a passcode or something and was coming up grey in my doc. Once I had got rid of that I could export

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New Here ,
Mar 10, 2021 Mar 10, 2021

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A helpful tip to identify the problem pages is to export as an interacrtive PDF. the dialog box will tell you page by page what is exporting, and when/if it fails, the page it stops one is where your issue is. 

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New Here ,
May 21, 2021 May 21, 2021

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Hi all,
I know this is an old thread but I came across this problem today within two of my files. I tried everything suggested below +more. My problem was as simple as my images were corrupt, I simply deleted them and imported them once more and fixed this problem. 

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New Here ,
Apr 14, 2022 Apr 14, 2022

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I had this same problem and none of these other solutions worked. I ended up exporting all the pages to jpg as an annoying work around but I saw that 1 of the pages with a large image on it didn't export. I resized the image and saved it in a new file format in Photoshop. Must have been a corrupt image. Exporting to pdf worked for me after that.

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