InDesign Video Tutorial: Print Ready Documents

In this 4-part video tutorial, we’ll explain how to use Adobe InDesign to prepare your print ready document for a commercial printer from start to finish. Be sure to subscribe to our Youtube channel and leave a comment if you have any questions about preparing your InDesign artwork for printing materials.

Video Transcription


Welcome to the Printwand video lesson, “Preparing your Document for Print in InDesign.” My name is Bryan Lee and I’ll be your guide as we discuss: packaging our document for output, converting fonts to outlines, embedding artwork into our files and using document templates. So sit back and enjoy these lessons, and hopefully you’ll learn a few things that can help you to be more effective at preparing your files for print with InDesign.

Packaging our document for output

Welcome to our first lesson, “Packaging our document for output,” brought to you by Printwand. Our goal here is to prepare this InDesign file so that our commercial printer, or anyone that we’re handing our file off to, has all of the information that they need when dealing with our documents. So here we have our InDesign file open and we first will want to go and head up to our “Menu Bar.” Go down to “File,” and then down to “Package,” and then “Package” again when the dialog box pops up.

Our “Printing Instructions” dialog box is any information that we want to give our printer, such as “Contact” info, “Company” info, “Address,” that sort of thing. So we can go ahead and hit “Continue”, and we’re going to want to save this package folder to a spot that will be easy to remember. In this case, we’re going to pick our desktop. So let’s go down here and click “Package,” and this will start the process. Now we’re going to get a “Font Licensing” box that comes up, and we’re just going to want to go ahead and hit “OK” again.

And that’s it. InDesign bundles everything together for us; layout, fonts and linked artwork. So, let’s go ahead and quit InDesign so that we can view our desktop and see what’s been done here. If we open up the folder that was created we can take a look at what’s inside. And again we can see here document fonts, all of our linked artwork, our InDesign layout file itself and a text document also that contains the content information that we first provided when we packaged our document.

So again, this is a great way to provide files for anyone handling our InDesign documents; in fact, it’s the preferred way to do it. Up next though, we’ll discuss an alternate way of handling our fonts in InDesign so that we don’t have to package them with your layout.

Converting fonts to outlines

Welcome to our second lesson, “Converting fonts to outlines,” brought to you by Printwand. What we’re doing here is preparing this InDesign file so that our commercial printer, or anyone that we’re handing our file off to, can work with the document and not have to worry about any potential font conflicts. This is accomplished similarly to how we would handle this in Illustrator.

So here we can see our InDesign file and we have a block of text here that has been typed in. First what we’ll want to do is take our “Pointer Tool,” this is at the top of our “Tool Bar” here on the left, and we’re just going to want to click on to this block of text in order to select it.

So after we’ve finished that, we’ll head up here to our “Menu Bar” and select “Type” and then we’ll go down and select “Create Outlines.” So what we’re doing here is we’re converting these characters from a font to an image. That way, our commercial printers don’t need the font and your type loads as though they were a piece of art that had been drawn or placed in our document. They don’t have to have the specific font files, they can use the document as is and everything is going to print correctly.

So if we go back over to our “Tool Bar” and select the “Direct Selection Tool,” and this is located just below the “Arrow Tool.” So we can see now how all of our text is highlighted and it also shows us what has been converted to artwork. Again, our printer isn’t going to need any fonts and everything will print just exactly the way you see in front of you. So this concludes our lesson about “Converting fonts to outlines.” Up next we’re going to talk about “Embedding our artwork into our files.”

Embedding artwork into our files

Welcome to our third lesson, “Embedding artwork into our files,” brought to you by Printwand. Last time we took a look at what was involved in converting our fonts to outlines, but this lesson is about learning how to embed our artwork into InDesign.

The goal here is so that between the combination of converting our fonts to outlines and embedding our artwork, we’re only having to hand off one file to whoever’s dealing with our document. That way we don’t have to give them multiple files, such as images and fonts along with our InDesign document.

So here we have our InDesign file open and we first want to our links panel. And this is found by heading up to our “Menu Bar,” going over to “Window” and then heading down to “Links.” Let’s make sure to expand the dialog box so that we can see all of our artwork. And so here we can see all of the various pieces of artwork that are in our document. Let’s go ahead and select the first piece of artwork. Now if you notice the button in the upper right hand corner of the “Links” box, let’s go ahead and select that. And then now we can move down to where it says “Embed Link” and we want to select that.

So if we go back over here and look at our “Links Panel,” we’ll notice that this symbol in the right of the layer that we’ve embedded. This is what tells us that the image has been embedded into our document and if you’ll also notice, this layer has been embedded while all of the other layers have not. So this is telling us that now this piece of artwork is part of our file instead of being a separate element.

Ok, so that is basically how you embed images into your InDesign file. And you can do this one by one, or you can select the whole group and embed everything all at once, but that’s what gives you an embedded image in InDesign. So this concludes our lesson – up next we’re going to discuss “Using document templates” in our InDesign files.

Using document templates

Welcome to our fourth and final lesson here, about “Using document templates in InDesign,” as always brought to you by Printwand. So, we’ve gotten a lot of good information in the previous three portions of our video and we’re going to end our lesson here discussing document templates in InDesign, and how we use them to put together our files, and what’s involved in them.

So here we have a sample template of a folder that we’re working on in InDesign, and we’re going to want to go ahead and head up to our “Menu Bar,” go over to “Edit,” and then we’ll go down to “Select All.” So if we look up we can see here that we have the dimensions of our template set at slightly larger than 20.25 inches by about 16.25 inches. We’ll go ahead and deselect our image, by clicking off in the area outside of our document.

First now, let’s notice these tabs on the left and right sides of our template. These are what our pockets attach to. Now, they both fold in and then the pocket at the bottom of the document will fold up, and it’s glued to the tabs, and this is what creates our pocket. But for right now, we don’t really need to worry about them at this point.

Let’s go ahead and we’ll head up, back up to our “Menu Bar,” we’ll go to “File,” and then “Document Setup.” So we notice here what comes up is a document size of 18.5 inches by 16.25 inches. So notice this is narrower than our template that we previously looked at the dimensions of, but that’s because of these tabs that we just talked about. So we’ll go ahead and we’ll hit “OK” key to exit out of our “Document Setup” view, and we’re going to continue checking out our document.

Ok, so let’s go back up to our “Menu Bar,” and this time we’ll head over to “Window,” and we’ll head down to “Layers.” So, if we look at our layers pallet we can see that we have our document template as well as our document artwork both on separate layers. This is exactly what you want. This is accomplished by going down to the bottom of the “Layers” panel and clicking here on “Add a new layer.” So, in order to work in different layers, all you have to do is click over the layer name and that places you in that layer. So, if you look just left of the layer name, you’re going to notice two boxes. One contains this little eye icon and this is what toggles the layer on and off. The other box contains a lock and this allows you to lock the layer; you can toggle that on and off too, it enables you to lock the layers so that you can’t mistakenly move something around that you don’t want to.

So let’s just go ahead make our art layer visible and we can see how our layout works in relation to our template. Now, notice here how a portion of our artwork is extending past our template lines, this is called our bleed area and this is an area that extends out at least .125″ past our document size. Ok, so let’s go ahead and head back up to our “Menu Bar” and we’re going to go to “View,” move down to “Grids & Guides,” and then over to “Show Guides.”

And now we can see this red line here, and this is what represents our document bleed area. And our artwork correctly extends out into this area, everything lines up the way we need it to. But now with our guides on, we can also see these purple lines on the inside of our template. Now, these represent our artwork live area, and they’re located .25″ inside of our document area. This is the area that we want our art and copy to stay in so that it doesn’t get cut off at the margins. We’ll head back over to our “Layers” pallet and now we’re going to toggle on our “Live area” layer. Now we don’t have to have “Live area” layer in our final document, I’m kind of just showing this to you for the purpose of seeing how things relate to each other so it’s a little more clear for you to see.

And we can see that everything is lined up and laid out correctly on our document. Everything falls within our document template and lines that are established here with our guides. So if we noticed here these groups or markings at the bottom of the template. Now these are indicators for different groupings for business card slits. There’s a number of different orientations that we can use, but you want to keep in mind with this is that after you’ve selected the area that you want to use for our business cards it’s important to not place text in that specific area. Otherwise, it’s going to get covered up by the card and we’re not going to be able to see anything that’s behind the card itself.

So here we have some tips to keep in mind and to look out for when using documents templates in making sure that your file is set up correctly in preparation for going to print in InDesign.


Well I want to thank you again for watching our video lesson on “Preparing your Document For Print In InDesign.” Hopefully, it provided you with some good knowledge for when you’re getting ready to submit files to your printers or anyone else who may be working on your documents while you’re working with InDesign. Make sure to check back often to Printwand for more video lessons as well as other articles to help you with your marketing and promotional needs.

Posted in Design Tutorials, InDesign Tips & Tutorials

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Printwand Staff
Author: Printwand Staff

Our marketing, design and printing experts are passionate about sharing their knowledge. We're eager to help make your vision a reality in print. Be sure to explore the rest of the Printwand blog for more reliable, easy-to-understand information.

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