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Chapter 23. Illustrator and Other Programs > Working with Page-Layout Programs

Working with Page-Layout Programs

Illustrator has traditionally gotten along well with the software friends it made early on—page-layout applications such as QuarkXPress, Adobe PageMaker, and Adobe InDesign. The time-honored method is to save an EPS version of the Illustrator file, then import the EPS version into the page-layout program. The fact that you're creating printed materials dictates some basic ideas to keep in mind when you prepare Illustrator files for them.

  • Use CMYK color mode for a press. If your artwork's final destination is a printing press, set up your Illustrator document in CMYK (choose File » Document Color Mode » CMYK Color). If it will be printed only on an inkjet printer, leaving it in RGB is fine, since inkjet printer drivers expect RGB data even though they use CMYK inks. (Really, it's true.)

  • Save as EPS or export as TIFF. The natural choice for Illustrator files is Illustrator EPS, which preserves vectors. Sometimes, EPS issues with missing fonts, transparency, or other effects can challenge your deadline. When that happens, you might decide to export the Illustrator file as a 300-dpi TIFF instead, since bitmapped images are pretty reliable (but can take up a lot more disk space). Also, EPS and TIFF directly support the CMYK color model of a printing press. EPS and TIFF are about it as far as print-friendly file formats go. Don't even bother using computer-screen formats such as GIFs, WMFs, or BMPs in print documents; most of these aren't capable of CMYK color, and some don't even support high resolutions.

    Avoid using JPEG images for work going to a printing press. Unlike TIFF, JPEG uses lossy compression, which degrades image quality. You may not notice this on the Web, but you will on a high-resolution imagesetter and press. It's not impossible to use JPEGs for print work, but if you insist on doing so, you must ask your printer what settings are going to make it work properly.

  • Save as the right version. If you want to preserve spot colors, transparency, and fonts as characters, select version 9.0 or later when saving the file.

  • Use high resolutions. This not only applies to the images you place, but also to the resolution you set in Effect » Document Raster Effects Settings and the Transparency panel in the File » Document Setup dialog box.

  • Consider embedding fonts. When you Save As or Save a Copy, you may want to select Include Document Fonts. You don't have to do this if you're diligent about sending all relevant project files to the printer; turning it on can make files a lot bigger.

  • Consider embedding links. Your printer may prefer that you turn on the Include Linked Files option in the EPS Format Options dialog box, so that any files you placed in Illustrator are taken along to wherever else the Illustrator EPS file goes.

  • Be careful with spot colors. Each spot color you use adds a plate to the print job. Just be aware of how many spot colors you use and talk to your printer about it so that they know it's coming.



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