Exporting from InDesign for print: PDF, JPEG or PNG?


I have a poster I designed with Adobe InDesign (69in x 36in) and I want to go to a print place and have it printed, but I don't know which format I should give the printing guys my file. InDesign allows me to export in:

  • PDF
  • JPG
  • PNG
  • EPS

and others I don't think are meant to be printed from. What format is more convenient for the print personnel and what format will give the best results?

7/14/2015 2:51:00 AM

Accepted Answer

Ask your printing guys.

There are firms that only accept EPS, even in this day and age, because they use an outdated (and cheap!) workflow, where often somewhere along the lines "CorelDRAW" gets mentioned. There are even 'print-only' firms that only accept JPEGs.
If your guys are like these, run! and find some other printing guys.

You should be counting "PNG" as one of the formats Not Suitable For Print.

The best possible output – mixed vector and bitmaps, fonts embedded, live transparency and all proper inks (including spot colors) – can only be achieved through PDF. But since there are many ways of creating a PDF and many additional options, you should still ask your printing guys.

Specifically ask for:

  1. A PDF/X standard: not allowed, optional, or required;
  2. minimum and maximum bitmap resolutions, for color, grayscale, and black-and-white;
  3. amount of bleed and slug;
  4. minimum offset of crop marks;
  5. recommended color profile;
  6. correct use and designation of spot colors, if applicable to your job;
  7. transparency use;
  8. anything else they have experienced problems with in the past (this may include, for example, badly created DaFont fonts that make their machines crash).
7/14/2015 10:31:00 AM

PDF/X-1a is the most common format designed for print production. It is specifically designed to create a universal format that contains all the necessary information for printing. Be certain to include trim marks and bleeds.

PNG is never acceptable.

JPG can be at times, but it's not that common and there are some important considerations to be aware of - resolution, flattening, loss of vector data, etc.

EPS can also be okay at times, but needs some special attention due to the flat-file format.