InDesign CC 2021 fails to export interactive PDF from CMYK document, sometimes

Explorer ,
Jan 25, 2021 Jan 25, 2021

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Is anyone experiencing failures in exporting interactive PDF with InDesign CC 2021?

I have a series of related documents set up as CMYK for print purposes. I have a years-old PDF Export custom preset to create an interactive PDF for posting online. The preset worked flawlessly with all updates through InD CC 2020. With InD 2021 the preset quit working, at first, so I stayed with 2020. After 3 or 4 months, I tested InD 2021 with several of the documents in the series and the custom preset worked. Now, with at least one document, the export fails after about 15% progress with no indication as to why.

 

I'm looking for ideas / thoughts for how to troubleshoot this with this document. My desire is to move to InDesign 2021 but this prevents that if not all documents will work. Thanks in advance for feedback.

 

The document is CMYK and the transparency blend space is set to CMYK. There has been no conflict in the past. I don't wish to change the document color profile and blend space to RGB just to export to PDF; that would cause other potential conflicts and extra steps to make the document available for printing. 

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Import and export, Performance

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Explorer , Mar 18, 2021 Mar 18, 2021
UPDATE TO ORIGINAL QUESTION:After working with an Adobe Support person to narrow down PDF output issues to specific pages of documents, I discovered that the issue (for me) has been with text frames with graphic effects applied. Either InDesign 2021 did not adequately translate all data when updating from a previous version file OR Acrobat does not properly process the details when generating a PDF.  This should be noted as a bug since it happens regularly with documents converted from a previou...

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 29, 2021 Jan 29, 2021

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Possibly the export options and presents for PRINT have been changed with 2021. The PDF ISO Committee that sets the international standards has been updating the standards, but frankly I don't know if they are formally published at this point.

 

2021 in general has had problems making any kind of PDF. We seem to have this bug in InDesign's export utility for the first few months after a new release every October; happened with 2019 and 2020, and now with 2021. Drop back to 2020, but keep testing 2021 every now and again to see if your PDF export has been resolved.

 

Your question leads me to ask: why one PDF for both print and interactive?

 

PRINT is now generally used for PDFs destined to commercial professional print shops, and it uses the PDF/X standard which requires CMYK and other press-related requirements. (Use the most recent PDF/X standards for best results.)

 

Don't try to add interactive features to print PDF: both require mutually exclusive features! No commercial print shop wants a PDF with the interactive features in it; they wreak havoc during prepress. And the PDFs are unnecessarily bloated for print use.

 

But if you want a printable PDF for the average user to print to their desktop/office printer, interactive with RGB color is fine. Today's laser/toner and inkjet printers do a very good job of converting RGB to nice looking CMYK on personal printers. The CLUTs (color look-up tables used to convert between RGB and CMYK) have greatly improved in the past few years. And the higher the quality of the printer, the better the color, especially if the printer has a PostScript driver.

 

This is just food for thought. I'm sure you have your reasons for aiming for a single PDF with multiple purposes.

 

 

Bevi Chagnon | Designer & Technologist for Accessible InDesign + PDFs |
Books & Classes | PubCom

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 30, 2021 Jan 30, 2021

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Is anyone experiencing failures in exporting interactive PDF with InDesign CC 2021?

 

If you are exporting via Adobe PDF (Interactive)—not Adobe PDF (Print)—all color gets converted to profiled sRGB. With Interactive PDFs, CMYK colors and RGB colors with different profiles all get converted to sRGB.

 

InDesign documents don’t have a document color space—you can mix RGB, Lab, and CMYK color swatches on the same page. If there is transparency on the page, the Transparency Blend Space is used for flattening transparency into a uniform color space, but it is only used when there are transparent objects.

 

If the export is failing it is usually because of a corrupt object somewhere in the document. The easiest way to find the problem is to Export the first half and then the second half, and then continue to divide until you find the problem page.

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Explorer ,
Mar 18, 2021 Mar 18, 2021

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UPDATE TO ORIGINAL QUESTION:

After working with an Adobe Support person to narrow down PDF output issues to specific pages of documents, I discovered that the issue (for me) has been with text frames with graphic effects applied. Either InDesign 2021 did not adequately translate all data when updating from a previous version file OR Acrobat does not properly process the details when generating a PDF.  This should be noted as a bug since it happens regularly with documents converted from a previous version of InDesign, even if the previous document was saved as IDML first.

 

DETAILS: InDesign allows a text frame to have graphic effects applied -- for example, fills, strokes, shadows, multiple columns, etc. When InDesign 2020 documents are converted to 2021 files everything looks fine in InDesign. However, exporting to PDF would fail. Adobe Support advised to attempt PDF export of individual pages to see if the problem was isolated to one or a few pages and not the entire document. So far, every document that had a PDF export issue had an issue with only one page. I further isolated the issue by moving all page items to the pasteboard and adding them back to the page, one-by-one and producing a PDF after each item was added to the page. In each instance the PDF export failure related to just one item on the page, which was a text frame with extra formatting or graphics effects added. In one instance, I had to create a new layer where the white background, border stroke and shadowing was added to a graphics frame. Then the text frame was overlayed on a separate layer with the text frame having a transparent background and no other effects applied. (This is how background graphics had to be added to text in PageMaker and early InDesign versions.) The PDF Preset worked fine after that. --NOTE: The PDF exported correctly, but when using a 3rd-party program to convert the PDF to an html5 flip book, tranparency issues show up (which has not happened since about InDesign CC 4 or 5). So, trancparencies have to be re-flattened/re-processed in Adobe Acrobat, page by page, to obtain the same results I was getting with one click with InDesign 2020.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 18, 2021 Mar 18, 2021

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Adobe Support advised to attempt PDF export of individual pages to see if the problem was isolated to one or a few pages and not the entire document.

 

Yes, that’s what I suggested in my last post. Failed PDF exports often are a result of a corrupted page item. Sometimes a Save As to IDML can also help.

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Explorer ,
Mar 18, 2021 Mar 18, 2021

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True and helpful, except for my situation just finding the problem page was not sufficient because that would require rebuilding entire pages in 2021, which still didn't identify the precise issue. (Exporting to IDML did not help.) With more than a dozen multi-page documents to be dealt with immediately, and potentially many more in the near future, rebuilding pages was not efficient if it could be avoided. At least, now I can focus on complex text frames at the start and save much time overall by focusing on a smaller universe from the start. Also, I believe the extra steps I took identify that the "corrupted page item" became that way during the conversion process to version 2021, which makes it something Adobe should fix as opposed to thinking that every file somehow randomly became corrupted independently. -- Thanks for the feedback.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 18, 2021 Mar 18, 2021

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Can you share the problem page via Dropbox or your CC account?

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Explorer ,
Mar 18, 2021 Mar 18, 2021

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I'll try to do that in the next few days, if possible. The next day or two are not good for getting time for that.

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