Is there really no way to export PDFs as separate pages?

Guest
Dec 20, 2011 Dec 20, 2011

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When delivering pdfs for print most of the time they want every page as a separate document.

I know that I can export the entire document as one pdf and then use Acrobat to split the document into separate pages.

But I just can't wrap my head around the fact that InDesign by the end of 2011 still won't let me achieve the same result without having to go through Acrobat (or some other app).

Can this really be the case? Or is there some way to achieve this?

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correct answers 1 Correct Answer

Adobe Community Professional , Dec 21, 2011 Dec 21, 2011
I work for an offset printer as a prepress operator, and i'd NEVER ask for single page/file PDFs unless i wanted to preflight dozens/hundreds/thousands of individual files at a time (e.g. 64pp book comes in, i can either check 1x64pp file; or 64x1pp files... know what i'd rather do!). I completely agree with John Hawkinson and Bob Levine that it's counter productive.Similarly, in the 15 years that i've been in prepress here and overseas, i've only ever had one client supply files as single file/...

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Mentor ,
Dec 20, 2011 Dec 20, 2011

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hi,

I personally use Quick Export to PDF script by Dimitry Lapaev, works flawlessly (WinXP SP3, CS5.5, ID7.5.2).

Afaik, works on Mac too.

At a moment I have at hand link to russian web page only, but it shouldn't be a problem...

Script has interface in Russian, Ukrainian, and English.

Here you can find that one and a couple more:

http://adobeindesign.ru/2010/02/19/custom-pdf-export-scripts/

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Mentor ,
Dec 20, 2011 Dec 20, 2011

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m.kellerman wrote:

When delivering pdfs for print most of the time they want every page as a separate document.

Not any vendor I deal with. If you gave me 100 seperate pdf's, there would be a problem, albeit a short one.

2 minutes looking finds a script to achieve your need, I expect you can find an equivilant if this does not suffice. This topic is discussed once a month. Search the forum.

http://indesignsecrets.com/page-exporter-utility-peu-5-script-updated-for-cs3.php

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Mentor ,
Dec 20, 2011 Dec 20, 2011

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Daniel Flavin wrote:

Not any vendor I deal with.

Some of them want, really. They say, it's easier to catch a problem, if occures.

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Dec 20, 2011 Dec 20, 2011

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The fact it requesting single pages is not a standard workflow. I’ve never had a printer ask for such a thing.

Bob

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Dec 20, 2011 Dec 20, 2011

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I've had plenty of printers ask for single pages. However, it's been eleven years since I was last been asked for this. (I know because this client's printer's homebrew OS 8.5 imposition app broke because of... the Y2K bug. True story.)

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 19, 2013 Jun 19, 2013

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Bob Levine wrote:

The fact it requesting single pages is not a standard workflow. I’ve never had a printer ask for such a thing.

 

Bob

Wow, really?

Was standard practice where I worked for 10 years.

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Jun 19, 2013 Jun 19, 2013

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Yes, really.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 19, 2013 Jun 19, 2013

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I'm with Bob - been working in prepress for 15 years and never asked for single PDFs for each page. Then again, I have always been working for mid-size places though that have dedicated imposition software such as XMF, Fiery SeeQuence or AGFA Apogee. For smaller places, it might be different.

Anyhow... there IS a couple of ways to do single record to single page PDFs (or many page PDFs) but they require scripts. See the links at the end of this post: http://forums.adobe.com/message/5387109#5387109

Colly

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 19, 2013 Jun 19, 2013

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So you're in prepress on the printer side of things. I was in prepress on the designer side of things. Each to their own hey..

I can think of a bunch of reasons as to why.. not that it really matters for this topic, we're not solving world hunger here.

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Engaged ,
Dec 20, 2011 Dec 20, 2011

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Another good script is Page Expoerter Utility 5 there is a tick box that tells the script if to send the file as one document or seperate pages it has many other uses and is very editable.

http://indesignsecrets.com/page-exporter-utility-peu-5-script-updated-for-cs3.php

Have not used it in CS5 CS5.5 use it all the time in CS4 hope it works for you.

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Dec 20, 2011 Dec 20, 2011

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Why go through all this when it’s so easy to do in Acrobat. A couple of mouse clicks and it’s done.

Actually…why go through it at all? I don’t trust any printer that makes these kinds of requests.

Bob

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Mentor ,
Dec 20, 2011 Dec 20, 2011

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Bob, it's not always so straightforward...

Bob Levine wrote:

Why go through all this when it’s so easy to do in Acrobat.

when you export nearly 200 p. cataloque, something may go wrong on certain page. If you are exporting separate pages directly, you know where to look for the problem. If not, you just get the message "export failed". Where?!

ok, you exported files and uploaded to printer's ftp server... and get client's last-second call: "ups, oh, uh, there's wrong price on page 99!"

no problema, you re-export just that single page and overwrite (update) appropriate pdf file in printer's folder. No hassle about integrating it to all-in-one pdf.

Bob Levine wrote:

Actually…why go through it at all? I don’t trust any printer that makes these kinds of requests.

well, sometimes client or agency has some other reasons why to choose this printer and not that. The final decision is not always up to designer... If such workflow is possible, I must be ready for it.

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LEGEND ,
Dec 20, 2011 Dec 20, 2011

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no problema, you re-export just that single page and overwrite (update) appropriate pdf file in printer's folder. No hassle about integrating it to all-in-one pdf.

Typically your printer will have to aggregate all 200 single PDFs into a monolithic PDF anyhow. You're not saving him any time.

As for your own time, well, just send along the revised p.196 and ask your printer to integrate it into his monolithic PDF. It'll be no harder for than if you had sent the other 199 pages as individual PDFs.

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Dec 21, 2011 Dec 21, 2011

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In a case like that, troubleshooting would certainly be necessary and having a script to handle it a page at a time would be great.

As for the change, any printer worth anything would be able to replace a single page in a PDF.

But again, any printer that requires this is raising a very big red flag for me.

Sorry, but I’m not sold on either of those explanations for doing this as a matter of course.

Bob

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Guest
Dec 20, 2011 Dec 20, 2011

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I'm sorry if I wasn't clear enough. When I wrote "or some other app", I should maybe have written "or some other external or third-party solution (including plug-ins and scripts)". I am looking for a function in InDesign that achieves the result.

Sometimes there are “hidden treasures” in apps, like holding the option key to change buttons and options, or “terminal hacks” or something, and the fact that I personally haven't been able to find this function in InDesign doesn't mean it isn't in fact hidden away somewhere in there. So I just wanted to check if anyone here knew anything about this or if it's in the works or something.

But I take it this is not the case in this case, so I'll close the subject.

I believe even InDesign 1.0 had the "Spreads" checkbox that combines spreads to single pages in the export, but like eleven years later … InDesign 7.5 still doesn't have a "Separate pages" checkbox is what I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around. It's such a simple little thing, that clearly many users would welcome, and since all the hard stuff is already in there it should be such an easy thing to fix.

It's good that there are scripts that can help those who don't have access to, or prefer not running, Acrobat (or some other app that does the trick). And maybe some of those scripts also offer other useful functions not provided elsewhere, but I'm really just looking for ways to simplify my work further, and adding more external software (even if it's just scripts) isn't what I'm looking for – seeing as I still need Acrobat installed for other reasons as well, I might as well keep using Acrobat to split up documents too. Until there's a native function in InDesign that does the job faster and easier, that is.

Not only are there plenty of printers that still ask for single pages, but a lot of them even want all spots as separate documents with the spots converted to K. Backward, bordering on retarded, you say?* Yeah, no kidding. But while I totally agree that this often acts as a warning signal, as a designer it's my job to deliver the design according to the printers' specifications, and I very rarely have control over where the product gets printed. Most clients/companies I've worked for have negotiated extensive deals with certain printers in order to keep costs down, and those that haven't are more often than not also just looking for the cheapest available printers, rather than the best possible ones. Unfortunately very few clients are inclined to pick more expense printers simply because they're usually better to work with (or even because they produce better results/prints), and since the clients are in the business of making money it's hard to even argue that they should. And to be honest, I'd rather see them pay me more than see them pay the printers more – something I'm sure many designers would agree with.

* Disclaimer: Even very talented and progressive printers I've worked with sometimes request separate pages, simply because they have fully or semi automatic workflows set up in a way that requires this. And sure they can, of course, handle multi-page pdfs, but those sometimes will cause further delays or even further costs as they require some level of manual handling on the printers part.

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LEGEND ,
Dec 20, 2011 Dec 20, 2011

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InDesign 7.5 still doesn't have a "Separate pages" checkbox is what I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around. It's such a simple little thing, that clearly many users would welcome,

Why do you say that?

Why do you think it is clear?

If there's one thing this discussion has shown, it is that the experienced InDesign users here in fact do not see a use for or need for such a feature.  (In fact, nobody has said it, but some of us might lobby against such a feature -- because it might encourage users to use it and printers to ask for it, and that's actually undesirable -- it would promote bad workflows.)

Now, I'm not saying it isn't clear that "many users would welcome" it. But you haven't established that it is (and neither has winterm, who apparently also favors such a feature).

So, please, before suggesting that many users would welcome it, please show us the reasoning, the evidence, etc. Be it empirical, or logical, or what-have-you. Or are you just saying that because you (and winterm) would welcome it, that "many" would?

I suppose it is a trueism that for any 1 opinion voiced there are 100 who agree with that opinion, but I'm afraid that doesn't meet my definition of "many," since it would also lead us to say, "Many InDesign users don't know how to export a PDF," etc.

* Disclaimer: Even very talented and progressive printers I've worked with sometimes request separate pages, simply because they have fully or semi automatic workflows set up in a way that requires this. And sure they can, of course, handle multi-page pdfs, but those sometimes will cause further delays or even further costs as they require some level of manual handling on the printers part.

What geographical market do you work in?

It's hard for me to fathom a printer who can't use Acrobat's feature to split the document, even if they do in fact need per-page PDFs, which they shoudn't.

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Guest
Dec 21, 2011 Dec 21, 2011

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The second reply to this thread establishes that this topic is discussed frequently, and there are several scripts and other software addressing this need. That makes it clear to me that there are users out there who would like to have this feature and whose workflows would benefit from this feature (as in: it would make things simpler for them to just check a checkbox in InDesign than using other software to achieve the same results). Are there enough of them to meet your definition of many? I don't know, and ultimately I don't even care.

The fact that there are users out there who see no need for the feature, or who'd rather see the world change than to see InDesign change, isn't reason enough not to implement this very simple feature on Adobe's end. InDesign (and other Adobe apps as well) is full of stuff that was way harder to implement on Adobe's end, yet caters only to subsets of users, so why not cater to these users as well? Clutter? Hardly. One checkbox would suffice. And because some users feel that the feature would make it harder to change the world into a better one? Well, Adobe isn't an ideological organization, if there's demand they should just cater to it. The feature has been in Adobe Acrobat for ages, so as far as software goes I see no reason not to implement it in InDesign as well.

I applaud anyone who takes a stand against bad workflows, or unsound methods of any kind, and I'm one of those who can't wait for a global all-out RGB/LAB workflow on hardware-calibrated screens with a single unified icc-RGB/LAB icc-profile for delivery of all print jobs, using one pdf per job regardless of the number or shapes of pages, inserts, spot colors and so forth, where it's then up to the printers to make sure their printing processes matches the unified icc-profile as closely as possible. There are few technological hurdles to achieve this today (though plenty of economical ones), and I'd love to live in that world … but unfortunately I don't. And until I do, I want Adobe to cater to the needs I have today.

And for you to suggest that my level of experience has anything to do with this only shows a limited understanding of how people and the world works. And that's not me taking a stab against you or ideology at large, just your suggestion that people who don't feel the same way as you are somehow lesser than you. The fact that I don't see it as my job to educate printers, and change the errors of their ways, doesn't make me inexperienced. In fact, in my experience, there are plenty of experienced designers out there who aren't willing to spend any of their time arguing with printers or struggling with changing the way printers work – many, if not most, of the designers I know tend to spend their time doing design instead.

What geographical market do you work in?

I've only worked in Europe, but I've worked all over the spectrum … sometimes with low end printers for cost effiency (and man oh man, the stories I could tell you, the horrors of their beliefs is truly astonishing), but also with huge modern highly-automized magazine plants with optical scanners automatically correcting colors in the press and automized processes for continually delivering up-to-date icc-profiles for all products, but usually I've worked somewhere in the middle. One thing that's very common over here though, which I suspect to be true all over the world too, is "pseudo-printers" – companies that negotiate lower prices with several printers by aggregating lots of clients/print jobs and then subcontracting them to these printers. It's good for the economy (except maybe for the printers, though it makes it easier for some of them to run near full-capacity which is of course good for them too), but it more often than not means catering to the weakest link – that the specifications are dumbed down to fit the worst printing plant in the mix, even though many others work in more modern ways.

It's hard for me to fathom a printer who can't use Acrobat's feature to split the document, even if they do in fact need per-page PDFs, which they shoudn't.

It's hard for me to fathom a printer who doesn't make it their job to know a hell of a lot more about catering to the needs of designers than most designers do, but rest assured there's enough of them to go around. And it's hard for me to fathom a designer who've had extensive contacts with many a printer who wouldn't also know this to be true. But maybe you've just been very lucky in who you get to work with … and I don't mean that as in “coincidence”, but that you are lucky to be able to work only with non-backwards printers. In the recent economy few companies that I've worked with are willing to pay anything extra for expertise – increasingly, everyone's just looking to save a buck.

And anyway, the issue here isn't whether the printer can  or should achieve this themselves or not, it's about Adobe not catering to users need to quickly and simply meet the printers specifications. I'm a designer. People pay me to do design for them and deliver files for print – they don't pay me to argue with printers. So I deliver files according to specifications. If this somehow makes me inexperienced, or even stupid, in your eyes, then so be it.

While I've more or less given up in trying to change how others work, what I occasionally do attempt, in order to make my world a little better, is to contact software makers and suggest to them ways to make my life easier through changes and additions to their software. But before I do I like to make sure I haven't just missed something. That's why I came to these forums with this. To probe whether there's really still no way to perform this simple task in InDesign, not to probe what others think of me for wanting a checkbox that would eliminate one slight annoyance from my life.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 21, 2011 Dec 21, 2011

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I work for an offset printer as a prepress operator, and i'd NEVER ask for single page/file PDFs unless i wanted to preflight dozens/hundreds/thousands of individual files at a time (e.g. 64pp book comes in, i can either check 1x64pp file; or 64x1pp files... know what i'd rather do!). I completely agree with John Hawkinson and Bob Levine that it's counter productive.

Similarly, in the 15 years that i've been in prepress here and overseas, i've only ever had one client supply files as single file/page PDFs, and it was another printer who had imposed the art first using a method similar to this method, before running out of time themselves to print the artwork and gave us the artwork to print.

However I have read the OP's post above (post no.12) and take the point that it is irrelevant which provider will or will not want single page/file PDFs; but the fact that the dialog box for making single page/file PDFs doesn't exist except through scripting or third party.

Apart from suggesting the PEU exporter from scott zanelli (many other posters here have suggested the same thing) if the OP really wants to see this feature in future versions of indesign, go to the indesign wishlist and ask for this feature.

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 19, 2012 Jun 19, 2012

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It intrigues me that M. Kellerman comes here to ask for help in finding resources to get a task done and 90% of the responses are in no way related to resolving his issue.  I was recently tasked with created a huge amount of black plate for print over some previously created collateral.  Rather than wasting time by arduously going through 350+ entries my methodology employed using Datamerge to do the huge part of the work.  I then used the script provided in this thread to export each plate to a different PDF, and finally another program to batch rename the files based off a spreadsheet.

You're likely wondering why all this was required.  Because we are sending these black plates to something like 20 different printers local to each of our holdings to be printed there.  The filenames had to be exact, the information exact... and I was not about to spend 5 hours to hand type out all that garbage.

Ideally I could have not only exported each page individually but applied a name to each from some attribute of the page other than the number... c'est la vie.

Regardless of the discussion of workflow previously, there are some quite valid uses for such a function -- none of which damage or hinder a good workflow they simply address a completely different need. 

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LEGEND ,
Jun 19, 2012 Jun 19, 2012

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Robert.Ralph wrote:

It intrigues me that M. Kellerman comes here to ask for help in finding resources to get a task done and 90% of the responses are in no way related to resolving his issue.

This shouldn't really be a surprise. Threads go off topic, and they take tangents, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.

When the answer to the question is fairly short-and-sweet ("Yes, there's really no way, short of scripting, Acrobat Pro, or third party tools"), there's really not much more to say on the topic than that.

So once that happens, there's really no point in looking at the volume or ratio of responses (your 90%). The ratio is only goign to increase in favor of non-responsive discussion.

It's a lot more interesting to discuss the apparent tangents of why the functionality is requested.

That's true for a lot of reasons.

One of them is that oftentimes there is a workflow problem when this kind of feature is asked for, and getting to the bottom of that problem is good for everyone. But that's not the only reason. It'd be silly to go and categorize the reasons why all the tangents here are of interest.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 20, 2012 Jun 20, 2012

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Regardless of the discussion of workflow previously, there are some quite valid uses for such a function -- none of which damage or hinder a good workflow they simply address a completely different need.

ID's probably has the most thorough scripting API of any app out there—there are even things you can script that aren't in the GUI. It's there for good reason—you think single page PDFs are important, I would never dream of sending out a job as single PDFs. No matter how feature rich ID gets there will be users who think the Adobe engineers are idiots for not including the items on their wishlist. There are thousands of free scripts that address unusual workflows like single page PDFs.

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New Here ,
Mar 11, 2013 Mar 11, 2013

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I have a situation now that requires single pages to be exported. I've set up an ad campaign where each indd page is a separate ad. Keeping them all in one file allows alternate layouts, etc. I'd love to be able to export the document into separate .pdfs that can be sent to publications as needed.

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Engaged ,
Mar 11, 2013 Mar 11, 2013

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The easiest way maybe is to get the script "Page Exporter Utiility" it has an option to send entire file at once or to export as seperate pages.

The seperate pages will export all your pages (short of deleting all pages not wanted then exporting the reverting) there is no way around this that I know of.

Goodluck

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Participant ,
Mar 12, 2013 Mar 12, 2013

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see response 31 — it directs you to a free script for download — and gives instructions for how to use it.

the script accesses your saved export presets — so it should integrate smoothly with whatever your current workflow is.

d.

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