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"Failed to Export PDF"

New Here ,
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 answer by Derek_Cross | Adobe Community Professional

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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"Failed to Export PDF"

New Here ,
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.

Adobe Community Professional
Correct answer by Derek_Cross | Adobe Community Professional

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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Import and export, Performance

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New Here ,
Jun 12, 2018

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Update: I just went through the file and printed each page as a pdf, one by one. Every page worked just fine. So that's a work-around, but obviously not ideal. Perhaps this helps identify the problem, though?

Thanks.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 12, 2018

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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 ,
Aug 07, 2018

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I am having the same problem and tried this but still no luck. I can't package the file and cannot save it as a pdf. It will only save as an interactive pdf.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 07, 2018

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I'm on InDesign 12.1.0.56, and I recently had this problem with a fairly large book file. 

I was able to make it work only by shutting down my computer, opening only InDesign and Suitcase after restart, and doing nothing else but create the PDF.

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Adobe Employee ,
Aug 29, 2018

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Hi Megan/ Winton,

I would like to know if the steps suggested above worked for you, or the issue still persists.

Kindly update the discussion if you need further assistance with it.

Thanks,

Srishti

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Explorer ,
Feb 28, 2019

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Good morning, I just tried this. No luck

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 01, 2019

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What did you try? By no luck what do you mean?


You can always start a new thread in the forums and give as much information as possible.

Version of Indesign

Operating System (and computer specs)

PDF export options

What you have tried and what the results were.

Thanks - happy to help if I can.

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Community Beginner ,
May 05, 2019

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I tried exporting/saving as an IDML file, but InDesign won't open the IDML file. Waited for 63 minutes and gave up.

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Adobe Employee ,
May 07, 2019

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Hi Russel,

I understand how frustrating it could be. Looks like the file itself is damaged. If this is happening with this particular file, would you mind sharing the file with us? If not, 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 upload it to Creative Cloud and send us the download link.

I must also inform that file recovery can't be guaranteed with a 100% success. We'll try our best.

Regards,

Srishti

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Guide ,
Aug 30, 2018

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  • Are you able to share the PDF Export settings you are using when you are seeing the hanging of InDesign?
  • Also have you tried resetting InDesign's preferences?

To be honest I've spend 10+hrs on a file that had a similar problem recently. IDML didn't fix the corruption in the file.However I did eventually discover the culprit in the document. One element had corrupted, but PDF creation only failed using one particular scenario. Once things started failing though Printing, Packaging nothing would work, and InDesign would go into a complete spin.

To elaborate on what was happening in my case:

  • I needed to export the file as PDF (Interactive) with Tagged PDF option enabled (for accessibility purposes).
  • When the Tagged PDF option was enabled. the PDF creation would put InDesign into an endless loop. The application wouldn't crash... the progress bar would just hang. I even left it running over night.
  • When Tagged PDF option was disabled... the PDF created immediately.

I ended up reconstructing the file bit by bit to finally discover there was ONE grouped anchored object that had been marked up with Object Export Options that caused the issue.  Once I recreated that design element. All was OK.

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New Here ,
Aug 30, 2018

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I was able to get it to save as an Interactive PDF…just not a regular PDF.

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Adobe Employee ,
Aug 31, 2018

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Hi Megan,

Thanks for getting back to us. As per your query, you can not save the file by "Save" or "Save As" neither you can export it to "Print PDF". You can only Export it to "Interactive PDF". If yes, I would need a few more details to solve this query:

  • Is it happening with multiple files or one particular file?
  • Where the file files are saved and where you are trying to export(Local HDD/ External HDD/ Network Drive/ Google Drive/ Dropbox)?
  • Please try Exporting to IDML and check if that helps!

Regards,

Srishti

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Community Beginner ,
Sep 07, 2018

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I having the same problem - I can't export to PDF, it just fails every time. Appears to be just this document, and it was working a day or two ago. InDesign has been crashing a lot lately.

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Adobe Employee ,
Sep 10, 2018

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Hi Justin,

We are sorry to hear about this. I would request you to please try these steps and share results:

  • Export to IDML and save IDML file on Desktop.
  • Close the existing document and open IDML from Desktop.
  • Try Exporting to PDF and check what happens.

Looking forward to your response!

Regards,

Srishti

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Community Beginner ,
Sep 11, 2018

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Can somebody from ADOBE respond to this question? Do something! Fix your freaking app.

I am still having the same issues and still cant find the solution.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 11, 2018

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State your InDesign version and OS and what the issue is – we're not mind readers.

And don't be rude!

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Community Beginner ,
Sep 12, 2018

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Hi Derek,

I apologies. I am so frustrated. I've been dealing with this problem since last year when I first started this book project. I had to give the raw files to the printer last year because I couldn't make it work and don't have time to fix it myself, and now, the second book is almost done and this is now becoming an issue again. I tried everything I read from the google, watched youtube, it's working at first and then after another trial, it is failing again.

Hopefully, this will be fixed. Thanks!

Regards,

Love

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 12, 2018

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As mentioned, there can be a number of factors. Can you state your InDesign version number and OS.

In the meantime do a Save As and incrementally name your document, that will clear out the crud that builds up. You should do this on a regular basis (and keep a copy of the document externally in case of an issue with your computer).

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 11, 2018

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Shristi (message just above yours) IS Adobe Staff.

lovec54092160

Please tell us exactly what happened to you. Did you try the suggestions she made just above. What operating system? What InDesign verson? Exactly what happened?

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Community Beginner ,
Sep 12, 2018

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Hi Steve,

Please tell us exactly what happened to you. Did you try the suggestions she made just above.

What operating system? - MacOS Sierra - V10.12.6

What InDesign version? - Indesign CC Version 9

Exactly what happened? - Everytime I am trying to export as PDF (Print) - Press Quality, it is stopping at around 50 - 70% giving me Failed Notifications, I tried changing the PDF settings and also tried exporting PDF 4 - 7 or changing the compression to 300ppi... still now working.

I tried exporting as "Smalles File Size" and it worked yesterday. Before it wasnt...

So I am all confused and dont know what to do everytime.

Please let me know.

Regards,

Love Pascual

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Adobe Employee ,
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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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There is only one page...

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Adobe Employee ,
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

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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

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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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Community Beginner ,
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 ,
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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New Here ,
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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New Here ,
Oct 08, 2019

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thx! I needed that quickly!!!

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New Here ,
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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