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How to Create PDF/X Files?

PDF/X is a focused subset of PDF designed specifically for reliable prepress/print-oriented data exchange. It defines both the file format and the way the files should be processed. Here are 2 methods for you to create PDF/X files. If you already have some standard PDF files and want to convert them to PDF/X, you can read this article: How to Convert PDFs to PDF/X or PDF/A with Acrobat 8?

Create PDF/X files from Adobe Creative Suite 3
Creating PDF/X files from InDesign CS3, Illustrator CS3, and Photoshop CS3 is straightforward because they share a common user interface. These CS3 components can convert RGB images to
CMYK or make other necessary conversions to create a valid PDF/X file.

To create a PDF/X file from InDesign CS3, Photoshop CS3, or Illustrator CS3:
1. Choose an option, depending on the component:
In InDesign, choose File > Export, and then choose Adobe PDF from the Format menu.
In Illustrator, choose File > Save As, and then choose Adobe PDF from the Format menu.
In Photoshop, choose File > Save As, and then choose Photoshop PDF from the Format menu. Photoshop PDF files meet all the requirements for general Adobe PDF files, and retain editability in Photoshop.

2. Name the file, and specify a location. Then click Save. The Export Adobe PDF (InDesign) or Save Adobe PDF (Photoshop and Illustrator) dialog box opens.

Create PDF/X Files
Photoshop CS3 Save Adobe PDF dialog box, similar to that in Illustrator CS3 and the InDesign CS3 Export

3. Choose a PDF/X preset from the Adobe PDF Preset menu. By default, Adobe Creative Suite 3 installs PDF/X-1a:2001, PDF/X-3:2002, and PDF/X-4:2007 presets, which use settings that conform to the PDF/X standards. You can also create your own presets, or your printer or publisher may provide you with one to use.

Use Acrobat Distiller to create PDF/X files
Using Distiller to create a PDF/X file is a simple matter of selecting a PDF/X-1 or PDF/X-3 preset in Distiller, and then in your application, selecting the Adobe PDF printer, which uses the Distiller settings, to print the PDF/X directly. The Adobe PDF printer is included with Adobe Creative Suite 3.

Note: For best results, CS3 users should create a PDF/X file the native (direct) way by exporting or saving the file as PDF/X, rather than use the Adobe PDF printer. Distiller cannot create PDF/X-4 files, which can contain transparency, because it creates PostScript files, which do not support live transparency.

To create a valid PDF/X file from non-CS3 software, you can print to the Adobe PDF Printer using an Acrobat Distiller PDF/X preset, or you can print an Adobe PostScript file from any application and then distill it into a PDF/X file in Acrobat Distiller 8.0.