InDesign Preflight, Part 1

Take a look at the bottom of your document window. Which preflight status do you have in your document?

massive errors


no errors


If you have a red light, InDesign is whispering to you, “Hey Buddy, you might have a minor problem. Let’s fix these issues now before they pile up.”

Adobe InDesign’s Preflight is a powerful tool that integrates into your workflow and gives you piece-of-mind as you work. It can identify possible issues such as missing links, incorrect color spaces, incorrect fonts, and etc., while you work, as well as when you are preparing for production.

Let’s get familiarized with what Preflight has to offer. The best way to do this is to set up a custom Preflight Profile.

preflight profiles

You can set your preflight profiles from the preflight palette (Window > Output > Preflight) by selecting the preference icon in the upper-right corner and selecting Preflight Profiles. Create a new profile in the column on the left.

Here are the settings that I use in my General Preflight Profile:

  1. LINKS
    1. Links Missing or Modified—Alerts you to missing or unavailable links.
    2. Inaccessible URL Links—Alerts you to missing or unavailable links.
  2. COLOR
    1. [Registration] Applied—Registration is not black and should never be used in lieu of black. This can cause issues with all types of production.
    1. Image Resolution (Minimum options checked with default values (e.g., color 250, greyscale 250, and 1-bit 800)—Alerts you to low resolution images that are hard to spot in the preview mode.
  4. TEXT
    1. Overset Text—Alerts you to overset text. No overset text will ensure that something has not shifted of off a frame.
    2. Font Missing—Alerts you to missing fonts that can be problematic in production.
    3. Glyph Missing—Similar to the above.
    4. Cross-References (Both out of date and unresolved checked)—Some people prefer to keep their Cross-References panel open to track this so that they can focus Preflight on more serious errors.
    5. Unresolved Caption Variable—If you use them, you know what this is for.

Using Preflight While you Work

preflight errors

As you work, Preflight will monitor your document based upon the assigned preflight profile. If an issue is detected, you will be alerted through the indicator at the bottom of your document window.

preflight dialog

Reviewing the Preflight palette show full details in regard to the errors and where they are located in the document. In the example above, we have a missing link on page 12 and overset text on page 9.

Part 2 will discuss additional real life AEC marketing examples where Preflight can make you cognizant of problems before they become overbearing.