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I have a friend in the cable communications industry who recently asked for a tutorial about how to make nice-looking but quick-downloading PDFs with Adobe InDesign. I’m using CS6 version in the video below, but CS4 and CS5 both work about the same.
Although the web displays PDFs at 72 pixels per inch, I think most people expect a little more from a PDF. They often will zoom in on imagery, and since it’s a printer-friendly format, you probably don’t want to post your PDFs with images lower than 120 pixels per inch. I tend to favor 140 with medium jpeg compression.
Another key I think is to dress your PDFs up with vector art rather than raster (pixel) art. You’ll of course want your continuous tone photos (of people, places, products, etc.) to stay in raster format, but you might want to use backgrounds, gradients, and colors that are generated from a vector source like the vector tools in InDesign, or the more advanced vector tools in Adobe Illustrator.
Watch the video below to learn more about my approach to creating PDFs for the web with InDesign.