"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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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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Adobe Employee ,
Sep 11, 2018 Sep 11, 2018

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Hi there,

We are sorry about this frustrating experience. There are multiple factors both internal and external to InDesign application that can lead to document corruption. However, we can take a look and see if the file can be repaired. Please email your InDesign file to corrupt_indesign_docs@adobe.com and we will take a look at the document.

If the file is larger than 10 Mb, you can zip (and password protect) the file and upload to Creative Cloud account (or Dropbox) and send us the document link.

Regards,

Srishti

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Community Beginner ,
Sep 12, 2018 Sep 12, 2018

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Hello Srishti,

It's a book so I am not sure if the writers would be happy for me to send it over.

Can we try something else? I am so sorry.

Thanks,

Love

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 12, 2018 Sep 12, 2018

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Assuming you have a subscription to InDesign why haven't you upgraded to a more recent version; version 9 is four years old and there could be issues with this version and your OS.

Regarding PDFs, you need to check with your printer for the spec they want, normally PDF/X-4 is recommended.

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Adobe Employee ,
Sep 17, 2018 Sep 17, 2018

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Hi Love,

It's perfectly alright if you can not share it with us. Please try these steps one by one and check if that helps:

  • Save the file as IDML
  • Move all the pages to New Document(Manage pages and spreads in InDesign )
  • If it is reaching 50 - 70% then you may try this approach:
  • Export first half of the file and then try next half of the file. For example: If it is a book with 10 pages then First Export 1-5 Pages and then Export 6-10 Pages. If 1-5 Pages gets exported to PDF and 6-10 failed then keep 1-5 aside there is no corruption on that part. Again divide 6-10 into two parts 6-7 and 8-10, try to export both the parts and whichever exports fine, keep it aside and divide another one further into 2 parts and so on. At last the only page which does not export you can recreate it.

Regards,

Srishti

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New Here ,
Mar 03, 2019 Mar 03, 2019

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I am having the same issue. My file is not large it is 31 MB and about 40 pages.

I updated to InDesign CC 14 and running on MacOS High Sierra Version 10.13.6

I disabled downsampling it failed

I tried exporting a few pages at a time it failed

I exported as IDML then export that as PDF and it failed

I tried exporting as Interactive PDF and it failed

I opened the IDML and saved as a new indesign file and exported that as PDF and it failed

I dont know what else to do. Any tips are greatly appreciated

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 04, 2019 Mar 04, 2019

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Try export the first 20 pages, and if that is ok then try the remaining 20 pages.

Which ever side fails, keep splitting the exports in half until  you find the page.

Once you find the page, then remove items one at a time and keep exporting until you find the rogue item.

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Explorer ,
Mar 04, 2019 Mar 04, 2019

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There is only one page...

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Adobe Employee ,
Mar 04, 2019 Mar 04, 2019

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Hi there,

Sorry about this issue. If it is happening with this particular file, please email your InDesign file with a small description to corrupt_indesign_docs@adobe.com and we will take a look at the document. If the file is larger than 10 Mb, you can zip (and password protect) the file and upload to Creative Cloud account (or Dropbox) and send us the document link.

Regards,

Srishti

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 04, 2019 Mar 04, 2019

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Try creating a new document - with same size and page margins.

In InDesign troubled file, go to the pages panel, select the page, and go to Move Page - select your new document as the destination.

Manage pages and spreads in InDesign

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Explorer ,
Mar 04, 2019 Mar 04, 2019

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Eugene and Srishti,

I have tried both or your methods and still no luck. It's happening with other large format projects too.

these are my steps for exporting:

1. file

2. adobe presets : PDF X-4 or hi quality print

3. include bleed

4. attempt to save

5. rejection

i have recreated the file from scratch

i have asked a different person to save the file > no luck

i had our IT guy try to "downsample"... it only worked when we scaled it half way and then weird stuff happened

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New Here ,
Jan 14, 2020 Jan 14, 2020

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Hi there

 

I am having this same issue - all of a sudden now today!

It is a group of documents and nothing is wrong with them - they have all been exporting fine as High Quality Prints and now all of a sudden, they will only export as Interactive PDFs.

 

What is the best resolution for this?

 

Thanks,

Kirsten

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Community Beginner ,
Apr 23, 2019 Apr 23, 2019

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This was very helpful in diagnosing the issue. I am working in InDesign CC 2019 14.0.2, Mac OS 10.14.4.

I am putting together a 700+ page catalog for a construction equipment distribution company and have been working on it for months. It is divided into seperate sections. I have dropped linked pdf files into frames on certain pages. I added content within one particular section and tried to export that section to a pdf and it had the same failed to export message as everyone is seeing.

I was able to export seperate group of pages based on the above recommendation and I found that the one pdf page that I had inserted into the InDesign file was corrupted. I created a new pdf file using cut and past with the same elements of the original file and it still didn't work.

So I opened the newly created file, that was still reading as "corrupted," and linked to my InDesign document. I clicked on "Enhance Scans", in the edit features of Adobe Acrobat Pro DC. I then saved the document after scanning.

My link updated in the InDesign file and when I exported it worked fine.

I am assuming that the pdf file that I had linked originally had some sort of corrupted jpg file within the pdf that InDesign did not like.

Thanks for the help!!

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New Here ,
Apr 12, 2021 Apr 12, 2021

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Thank you this method helped me! 🙂 

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New Here ,
Oct 19, 2018 Oct 19, 2018

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Hi all,

I'm currently running into the same problem, and it's driving me a little crazy. I have a 220+ page document with a huge amount of images and text that's throwing this error. I've tried disabling downsampling, re-saving as an IDML and reopening, merging layers, saving as an interactive pdf, removing it from the cloud, and incrementally renaming it, all without luck.

The "divide and conquer" method is really daunting, considering how long this is, and I think I've pinpointed the pages that are throwing an error [as luck would have it, they're in the first quarter of the document], BUT......I can't tell what's wrong with them. Neither of the pages of this spread have anything on them that's out of the ordinary or throwing an error. Is there some sort of diagnosing utility I can access to figure out what I need to change? I'm on a deadline and am getting a little desperate.

I'm on CC 2019 [version 14], OS High Sierra, working with an 87.2 MB file. Any guidance I can get would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks,

Caroline

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 08, 2019 Oct 08, 2019

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thx! I needed that quickly!!!

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New Here ,
May 19, 2020 May 19, 2020

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I have just had this problem, I exported batches as PDFs to find the area, then page one by one in the batch. Once I have located the page, I, unfortunately, had to remove elements one by one and export each version to find the problem! Mine ended up being a PDF which looked fine to me but InDesign obviously didn't like it.

I hope this helps!!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 20, 2018 Oct 20, 2018

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Hi see these steps in the FAQ

File Crashing on Output - printing/PDF/other

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New Here ,
Oct 20, 2018 Oct 20, 2018

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Hi Eugene; thanks for linking this. I'd already tried many of those steps, but they did give me an idea, which worked. [!!!]

For anyone else, in case this helps:

  • I had narrowed down within my 226 pages an 8-page span that was throwing an error.
  • I created a new document that consisted only of those 8 pages, first by way of making a new INDD and deleting all but those, then by way of literally copying and pasting into completely new pages. The latter exported perfectly! The former crashed, even when all the content was moved to the PB. So there was something in the metadata baggage of those 8 that I couldn't see. [As an aside, I thought it might be the master, but literally 200+ other pages in this doc were also using that master, so....who knows. I'm gonna vote for poltergeist.]
  • I ended up deleting those 8 from the original document, then inserting 8 fresh pages and copying and pasting my content in. And it worked. Whew.

I now have a fresh 226-page pdf that looks like the most perfect thing I've ever seen....but that might be my relief talking. Hopefully if this comes up for anyone else, this method can help!

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New Here ,
Feb 01, 2019 Feb 01, 2019

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Thank you for sharing your process. I've been working on this problem for hours and your process helped me narrow down the problematic files to a couple of pages and find the corrupted files. Fortunately I was able to just delete those files and I didn't have to delete the pages and reinsert the newly constructed pages.

MUCH APPRECIATED!!!

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Community Beginner ,
Mar 11, 2019 Mar 11, 2019

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I have created many documents using InDesign, and this issue has only come in my latest work, which is only a 2 page menu - but with a lot of detail and hours put into it. I am getting this same error now as OP and have no idea how to fix it. The IDML strategy does not work for me as it cannot re-open in 2019 cc. This is extremely frustrating and I am shocked this issue continues months after it was report.

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New Here ,
Apr 16, 2019 Apr 16, 2019

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I was having this issue tonight trying to export a 11 page indesign file as a high quality pdf. Tried to save from an imdl file and it didn't work. Ended up individually exporting each page to find the problem. My issue was that one of my linked elements is a pdf. So I exported the linked pdf as a png and relinked the element.

I was then able to export the entire file without Indesign CC 2019 crashing on me. Hope this helps someone! 

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Explorer ,
Apr 23, 2019 Apr 23, 2019

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Every single time i try to do export to PDF, i have the same "failed to export to pdf" error message.

EVERY single pdf i am trying to make. My only work around is to print in PDF every page at a time...

I have been looking for some solution for quite a while now and none are either working or fixing my issue.

I need help because this is getting frutrating.. i'm even debating going back to Corel because Indesign always fail to make PDF.

Edit : i just did a print to PDF and it worked.. What is happening with indesign?

This program is expensive and it is not working as intended. Can we have some explanation please?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 23, 2019 Apr 23, 2019

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Which (exact) version of InDesign and OS do you have?

Print to InDesign is not a recommended workflow, are you using the InDesign Acrobat PDF Presets?

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Explorer ,
Apr 23, 2019 Apr 23, 2019

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Hi, thanks for the reply.

My version is 14.0.2 X64 and my OS is windows 10.

I also know that print to PDF is not the right way to do it. But it must be done and i can't waste hours looking for a fix.

And yes i am using indesign preset.

My document has 83 pages. With several pdf added to the document.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 23, 2019 Apr 23, 2019

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I suggest you trash your InDesign preferences:

Close InDesign. Then hold down Cmd + Ctrl + Opt + Shift (Mac), and relaunch InDesign. Respond in the affirmative to the dialog asking if you really want to replace the preferences.

(Is the PDF issue occurring with all documents or just with this one?)

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