Adobe PDF settings

The Adobe PDF Settings dialog box in Acrobat Distiller contains panels of options that you can select to customize your PDF output.

General panel options

Use this panel to select a version of Acrobat for file compatibility and other file and device settings.

Sets the compatibility level of the PDF. Use the most recent version (in this case, version 1.7) to include all the latest features and functionality. If you’re creating PDFs that will be distributed widely, choose an earlier level, to ensure that all users can view and print the document.

Object Level Compression
Compresses structural information (such as bookmarks, accessibility, and noncompressible objects), making this information neither visible or usable in Acrobat 5.0 or Reader 5.0. Tags Only compresses structural information; Off applies no compression.

Auto-Rotate Pages
Automatically rotates pages according to the direction of text.
Collectively By File
Rotates all pages to match the orientation of the majority of text in the document.

Rotates each page based on the orientation of the text on that page.

Prevents pages from rotating.

Note: If Process DSC Comments is selected in the Advanced panel and if %%Viewing Orientation comments are included, these comments take precedence in determining page orientation.

Specifies whether to display a PDF with left side or right side binding. The Binding setting affects the appearance of pages in the Two-Up Continuous view and the appearance of thumbnails side by side.

Use for PostScript files to emulate resolutions based on the printer they are printing to. Permitted values range from 72 to 4000. Use the default setting unless you plan to print the PDF on a specific printer while emulating the resolution defined in the original PostScript file.
Note: Increasing the resolution setting increases file size and may slightly increase the time required to process some files.

Specifies which pages to convert to PDF.

Embed Thumbnails
Embeds a thumbnail preview for each page in the PDF, increasing the file size. Deselect this setting when users of Acrobat 5.0 and later will view and print the PDF; these versions generate thumbnails dynamically each time you click the Pages panel of a PDF.

Optimize For Fast Web View
Restructures the file for faster access (page-at-a-time downloading, or byte serving) from web servers. This option compresses text and line art, overriding compression selections on the Images panel.

Default Page Size
Specifies the page size to use when one is not specified in the original file. EPS files give a bounding box size, not a page size.

Images panel options

The options in the Images panel specify compression and resampling for color, grayscale, and monochrome images. You may want to experiment with these options to find an appropriate balance between file size and image quality.

The resolution setting for color and grayscale images should be 1.5 to 2 times the line screen ruling at which the file will be printed. The resolution for monochrome images should be the same as the output device, but be aware that saving a monochrome image at a resolution higher than 1500 dpi increases the file size without noticeably improving image quality. Images that will be magnified, such as maps, may require higher resolutions.

Note: Resampling monochrome images can have unexpected viewing results, such as no image display. If this happens, turn off resampling and convert the file again. This problem is most likely to occur with subsampling, and least likely with bicubic downsampling.

The following table shows common types of printers and their resolution measured in dpi, their default screen ruling measured in lines per inch (lpi), and a resampling resolution for images measured in pixels per inch (ppi). For example, if you were printing to a 600-dpi laser printer, you would enter 170 for the resolution at which to resample images.

Printer resolution

Default line screen

Image resolution

300 dpi (laser printer)

60 lpi

120 ppi

600 dpi (laser printer)

85 lpi

170 ppi

1200 dpi (imagesetter)

120 lpi

240 ppi

2400 dpi (imagesetter)

150 lpi

300 ppi

Downsample (Off)
Reduces image resolutions that exceed the For Images Above value to the resolution of the output device by combining pixels in a sample area of the image to make one larger pixel.

Average Downsampling To
Averages the pixels in a sample area and replaces the entire area with the average pixel color at the specified resolution.

Subsampling To
Replaces an entire area with a pixel selected from that sample area, at the specified resolution. Causes faster conversion time than downsampling, but resulting images are less smooth and continuous.

Bicubic Downsampling To
Uses a weighted average, instead of a simple average (as in downsampling) to determine pixel color. This method is slowest but produces the smoothest tonal gradations.

Compression/Image Quality
Applies compression to color, grayscale, and monochrome images. For color and grayscale images, also sets the image quality.

Anti-Alias To Gray
Smooths jagged edges in monochrome images. Choose 2 bit, 4 bit, or 8 bit to specify 4, 16, or 256 levels of gray. (Anti-aliasing may cause small type or thin lines to look blurry.)
Note: Compression of text and line art is always on. To turn it off, set the appropriate Distiller parameter. For details, see the SDK information on the Acrobat Developer Center at (PDF, English only).

Opens the Image Policy dialog box, where you can set processing options for Color, Grayscale, and Monochrome images that are less than the resolutions you specify. For each type of image, enter a resolution value, and then choose Ignore, Warn And Continue, or Cancel Job.

Fonts panel options

The Fonts options specify which fonts to embed in a PDF, and whether to embed a subset of characters used in the PDF. You can embed OpenType®, TrueType, and PostScript fonts. Fonts that have license restrictions are listed with a lock icon . If you select a font that has a license restriction, the nature of the restriction is described in the Adobe PDF Options dialog box.

Note: When you combine PDF files that have the same font subset, Acrobat attempts to combine the font subsets.
Embed All Fonts
Embeds all fonts used in the file. Font embedding is required for PDF/X compliance.

Embed OpenType Fonts
Embeds all OpenType fonts used in the file, and maintains OpenType font information for advanced line layout. This option is available only if either Acrobat 7.0 (PDF 1.6) or Acrobat 8 (PDF 1.7) is selected from the Compatibility menu in the General panel.

Subset Embedded Fonts When Percent Of Characters Used Is Less Than
Specifies a threshold percentage if you want to embed only a subset of the fonts. For example, if the threshold is 35, and fewer than 35% of the characters are used, Distiller embeds only those characters.

When Embedding Fails
Specifies how Distiller responds if it cannot find a font to embed when processing a file.

Always Embed
To embed only certain fonts, move them into the Always Embed list. Make sure that Embed All Fonts is not selected.

Never Embed
Move fonts that you do not want to embed to this list. If necessary, choose a different font folder from the pop-up menu to display the font in the font list.
Note: Fonts that have license restrictions are listed with a lock icon. If you select a font with a license restriction, the nature of the restriction is described in the Adobe PDF Options dialog box.

Add Name
If the font you want is not in a font folder, click Add Name. Enter the name of the font, select Always Embed List (or Never Embed List), and click Add.
Note: A TrueType font can contain a setting added by the font designer that prevents the font from being embedded in PDF files.

Removes a font from the Always Embed or Never Embed list. This action doesn’t remove the font from your system; it removes the reference to the font from the list.
Note: Acrobat does not include the Times, Helvetica, and ZapfDingbats fonts. If you want PDF recipients to view and print these fonts in PDFs that you create, embed the fonts.

Color panel options

Whether you’re using color management information in the PostScript file, using Distiller CSFs, or defining custom settings, you set all color management information for Distiller on the Color panel of the Adobe PDF Settings dialog box.

Settings File
Lists color settings, including those used in graphics applications. The None setting lets you edit the Color Management Policies and Working Spaces settings.

Color Management Policies
Specifies how Distiller converts unmanaged color in a PostScript file when you don’t use a Distiller color settings file. This menu is available when None is selected in the Settings File menu.
Note: Color Management Policies values may affect a PDF differently depending on the compatibility setting you choose in the General panel.
Leave Color Unchanged
Leaves device-dependent colors unchanged and preserves device-independent colors as the nearest possible equivalent. This is a useful option for print shops that have calibrated their devices, have used that information to specify color in the file, and are only outputting to those devices.

Tag (Or Convert) Everything For Color Management
Tags color objects with an ICC profile and calibrates colors, making them device-independent in PDFs compatible with Acrobat 4.0 (PDF 1.3) and later. Converts device-dependent color spaces in images (RGB, Grayscale, and CMYK) to device-independent color spaces (CalRGB, CalGray, and Cie L*a*b) in Acrobat 3.0 (PDF 1.2) compatible PDFs.

Tag (Or Convert) Only Images For Color Management
Tags ICC profiles in images only (not text or vector objects), which prevents black text from undergoing any color shift when distilling Acrobat 4.0 (PDF 1.3) compatible PDFs. Converts device-dependent color spaces in images (RGB, Grayscale, and CMYK) to device-independent color spaces (CalRGB, CalGray, and Lab) in Acrobat 3.0 (PDF 1.2) compatible PDFs.

Convert All Colors To sRGB (or Convert Everything To CalRGB)
Calibrates color, making it device-independent. Converts CMYK and RGB images to sRGB in PDFs compatible with Acrobat 4.0 (PDF 1.3) or later. Converts CMYK and RGB images to calibrated RGB (CalRGB) in Acrobat 3.0 (PDF 1.2) compatible PDFs. Recommended for PDFs that will be used on-screen or with low-resolution printers.

Convert All Colors To CMYK
Converts color spaces to DeviceGray or DeviceCMYK according to the options specified in the Working Spaces menu. All Working Spaces must be specified.

Document Rendering Intent
Choose a method to map colors between color spaces. The result of any particular method depends on the profiles of the color spaces. For example, some profiles produce identical results with different methods.

Acrobat shares four rendering intents (Perceptual, Saturation, Relative Colorimetric, and Absolute Colorimetric) with other Creative Suite applications.

Acrobat also includes a rendering intent called Preserve, which indicates that the intent is specified in the output device rather than in the PDF. In many output devices, Relative Colorimetric is the default intent.

Note: In all cases, intents may be ignored or overridden by color management operations that occur subsequent to the creation of the PDF file.

Working Spaces
For all Color Management Policies values other than Leave Color Unchanged, choose a working space to specify which ICC profiles are used for defining and calibrating the grayscale, RGB, and CMYK color spaces in distilled PDFs.
Choose a profile to define the color space of all grayscale images in files. The default ICC profile for gray images is Adobe Gray - 20% Dot Gain. Choose None to prevent grayscale images from being converted.

Choose a profile to define the color space of all RGB images in files. The default, sRGB IEC61966-2.1, is recognized by many output devices. Choose None to prevent RGB images from being converted.

Choose a profile to define the color space of all CMYK images in files. The default is U.S. Web Coated (SWOP) v2. Choose None to prevent CMYK images from being converted.
Note: Choosing None for all three working spaces has the same effect as selecting the option Leave Color Unchanged.
You can add ICC profiles (such as ones provided by your print service bureau) by placing them in the ICCProfiles folder in the Common folder, the Windows\System\Color folder (Windows), or the System Folder/ColorSync folder (Mac OS).

Preserve CMYK Values For Calibrated CMYK Color Spaces
When selected, device-independent CMYK values are treated as device-dependent (DeviceCMYK) values, device-independent color spaces are discarded, and PDF/X-1a files use the Convert All Colors To CMYK value. When deselected, device-independent color spaces convert to CMYK, provided that Color Management Policies is set to Convert All Colors To CMYK.

Preserve Under Color Removal And Black Generation
Retains these settings if they exist in the PostScript file. Black generation calculates the amount of black to use when reproducing a color. Undercolor removal (UCR) reduces cyan, magenta, and yellow to compensate for black generation. Because UCR uses less ink, it’s suitable for uncoated stock.

When Transfer Functions Are Found
Specifies how to handle transfer functions in PDFs. Transfer functions are used for artistic effect and to correct for the characteristics of a specific output device.
Deletes any applied transfer functions. Applied transfer functions should be removed, unless the PDF is to be output to the same device that the source PostScript file was created for.

Retains the transfer functions traditionally used to compensate for dot gain or dot loss that may occur when an image is transferred to film. Dot gain or loss occurs when the ink dots that make up a printed image are larger or smaller than in the halftone screen.

Applies the transfer function, changing the colors in the file but doesn’t keep it. This method is useful for creating color effects in a file.

Preserve Halftone Information
Retains any halftone information in files. Halftone information is intended for use with a particular output device.

Advanced panel options

The Advanced options specify which Document Structuring Conventions (DSC) comments to keep in a PDF and how to set other options that affect the conversion from PostScript. In a PostScript file, DSC comments contain information about the file (such as the originating application, the creation date, and the page orientation) and provide structure for page descriptions in the file (such as beginning and ending statements for a prologue section). DSC comments can be useful when your document is going to print or press.

For more information, see the documents on the Adobe PDF Technology Center at (PDF, English only).

Note: The ASCII Format option has been removed from Distiller, but is still available as a Distiller parameter.
Allow PostScript File To Override Adobe PDF Settings
Uses settings stored in a PostScript file rather than the current PDF settings file. For more information about customizing PDF settings, see the SDK information on the Acrobat Developer Center at (PDF, English only).

Allow PostScript XObjects
PostScript XObjects store fragments of PostScript code to be used when a PDF is printed on a PostScript printer. Use only in controlled workflows where there is no other option. Available when the Standard or Smallest File Size is selected from the Default Settings menu.

Convert Gradients To Smooth Shades
Converts blends to smooth shades for Acrobat 4.0 and later, improving quality and reducing file size of PDFs. Distiller converts gradients from Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, Adobe FreeHand®, CorelDraw, QuarkXPress, and Microsoft PowerPoint.

Convert Smooth Lines To Curves
Reduces the amount of control points used to build curves in CAD drawings, which results in smaller PDFs and faster on-screen rendering.

Preserve Level 2 Copypage Semantics
Uses the copypage operator defined in PostScript Level 2 rather than in Language Level 3 PostScript. If you have a PostScript file and select this option, a copypage operator copies the page. If this option is not selected, the equivalent of a showpage operation is executed, except that the graphics state is not reinitialized.

Preserve Overprint Settings
Retains any overprint settings in files being converted to PDF. Overprint settings create color by printing one ink on top of another ink.

Overprinting Default Is Nonzero Overprinting
Prevents overprinted objects with zero CMYK values from knocking out CMYK objects beneath them.

Save Adobe PDF Settings Inside PDF File
Embeds the settings file (.joboptions) used to create the PDF as an attachment. (To view the settings file, choose View > Show/Hide > Navigation Panes > Attachments in Acrobat.)

Save Original JPEG Image In PDF If Possible
Processes compressed JPEG images (images that are already compressed using DCT encoding) without recompressing them. When deselected, performance improves because only decompression, not recompression, occurs.

Save Portable Job Ticket Inside PDF File
Preserves a PostScript job ticket in a PDF. Job tickets describe the PostScript file and can be used later in a workflow or for printing the PDF.

Use and
Sends a prologue and epilogue file with each job. These files can be used to add custom PostScript code that you want to have executed at the beginning or end of every PostScript job being converted.

Sample and files are located in (Windows) /Documents and Settings/All Users/Application Data/Adobe/Adobe PDF/Distiller/Data, (Vista) /Users/All Users/Adobe/Adobe PDF/Distiller/Data, or (Mac OS)/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Adobe PDF/Distiller/Data.

In Windows Explorer, the Application Data folder is typically hidden; to make it visible, choose Tools > Folder Options, click the View tab, and select Show Hidden Files And Folders. Or, you can type the path into the Address text box.

Note: Distiller processes prologue and epilogue files only if both files are present and located properly. The two files must be used together. If the prologue and epilogue files are at the same level as the In and Out folders of a watched folder, they are used instead of the ones in the Distiller folder.

Process DSC Comments
Maintains DSC information from a PostScript file.
Log DSC Warnings
Displays warning messages about problematic DSC comments during processing and adds them to a log file.

Preserve EPS Information From DSC
Retains information for an EPS file, such as the originating application and creation date.

Preserve OPI Comments
Retains information needed to replace a For Placement Only (FPO) image or comment with the high-resolution image located on servers that support Open Prepress Interface (OPI) versions 1.3 and 2.0. For more information, see the OPI 2.0 specification at (PDF, English only).

Preserve Document Information From DSC
Retains document properties, such as the title, creation date, and time, in the PDF.

Resize Page And Center Artwork For EPS Files
Centers an EPS image and resizes the page to fit closely around the image. If deselected, the page is sized and centered based on the upper left corner of the upper left object and lower right corner of the lower right object on the page. This option applies only to jobs that consist of a single EPS file.

Standards panel options

By using Standards options, you can check document content in the PostScript file to make sure it meets standard PDF/X1-a, PDF/X-3, or PDF/A criteria before creating the PDF. For PDF/X-compliant files, you can also require that the PostScript file meet additional criteria by selecting options in the Standards panel. The availability of options depends on the standard you select. You can also create a PDF/X file from a compliant PDF by using the Preflight feature in Acrobat.

Complies with the PDF/X standard for high-resolution print production.
Note: PDFMaker, the conversion method used to convert Microsoft Word and other application files to PDF, does not create PDF/X-compliant files.

Complies with the PDF/A standard for archival documents.
Note: If you set up a watched folder for creating PDF/A-compliant files, do not add security to the folder. The PDF/A standard does not allow encryption.

Compliance Standard
Produces a report that indicates whether the file complies with the standard you select, and if not, what problems were encountered. The .log file appears at the bottom of the dialog box.
Note: PDFs that complied with both PDF/X-1a and PDF/X-3 standards in Acrobat 6.0 default to PDF/X-1a in Acrobat X.

When Not Compliant
Specifies whether to create the PDF if the PostScript file does not comply with the requirements of the standard.
Creates a PDF even if the PostScript file does not meet the requirements of the standard, and notes these problems in the report.

Cancel Job
Creates a PDF only if the PostScript file meets the requirements of the standard, and is otherwise valid.

Report As Error
Flags the PostScript file as noncompliant if one of the reporting options is selected and a trim box or art box is missing from any page.

Set TrimBox To MediaBox With Offsets
Computes values for the trim box based on the offsets for the media box of respective pages if neither the trim box nor art box is specified. The trim box is always as small as or smaller than the enclosing media box.

Set BleedBox To MediaBox
Uses the media box values for the bleed box if the bleed box is not specified.

Set BleedBox To TrimBox With Offsets
Computes values for the bleed box based on the offsets for the trim box of respective pages if the bleed box is not specified. The bleed box is always as large as or larger than the enclosed trim box. This option uses the units specified on the General panel of the Adobe PDF Settings dialog box.

Output Intent Profile Name
Indicates the characterized printing condition for which the document has been prepared, and is required for PDF/X compliance. If a document doesn’t specify an output intent profile name, Distiller uses the selected value from this menu. If your workflow requires that the document specify the output intent, choose None.

Output Condition Identifier
Indicates the reference name that is specified by the registry of the output intent profile name. For more information, click the question mark next to the option.

Output Condition
Describes the intended printing condition. This entry can be useful for the intended receiver of the PDF. For more information, click the question mark next to the option.

Registry Name (URL)
Indicates the web address for finding more information about the output intent profile. The URL is automatically entered for ICC registry names. The registry name is optional, but recommended. For more information, click the question mark next to the option.

Indicates the state of trapping in the document. PDF/X compliance requires a value of True or False. If the document does not specify the trapped state, the value provided here is used. If your workflow requires that the document specify the trapped state, choose Leave Undefined.