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TIFF vs PSD vs EPS vs PDF vs…


It seems like every few months this topic pops up again: Which is the best file format to use for graphics? Some folks insist that everyone should use EPS and TIFF. Others think AI and PSD. And what about PNG or JPEG?! Here’s my take on the subject, after over 20 years of doing this:

EPS is a dying format. There is virtually no reason for you to ever save anything yourself as EPS. Here are good reasons to use an EPS file:

  • if you already have an old vector graphic (from Illustrator or Freehand or something);
  • if some software is making it for you (such as this Barcode plug-in); in this case, the software is likely doing special stuff that can only be done in PostScript, then encapsulated in the eps.

PDF is the current and future of publishing. If you have a vector Illustrator document, save it in PDF or AI (see below). The only reason to save a Photoshop document as a PDF is if you have vector type or “shape” layers. (No other format, besides eps, can save vector info from PS.)

AI (native Illustrator format) is great for most files from Illustrator, as long as you’re not using them in other programs. If you’re going to use them in something other than InDesign, consider using PDF instead. By the way, if you save an .ai file, make sure you include the PDF in it (that’s an option when saving), or else InDesign can’t read it.

PSD (native Photoshop format) is great for most files from Photoshop, as long as you’re not using them programs other than InDesign, and there’s no vector stuff in there that you’re trying to save. PSD has the benefit over TIFF in that it can save layers, layer comps, and duotones (or tri- or quadtone images).

TIFF is a terrific format that everyone can agree is useful, at least for raster (bitmapped) images in print workflows. You have the option to save transparency and layered files. A few years ago, I used TIFF for everything, but I have to admit that I’ve strayed more recently to PSD and JPEG. The main reason to use TIFF (instead of JPEG or PSD) is when you need a bitmapped image suitable for a lot of different programs, not just InDesign.

JPEG (or JPG, if you’re a three-letter extension kind of person) is totally great, as long as you’re talking about photographic images. Yes, you can use this for print, too, if you use the Excellent/Maximum quality. (There are plenty of people who say never use it for print. These are the same people who say that all printing must be done gravure. Ignore them.) For synthetic images with sharp lines (such as type on a solid background), JPEG is not so good because you’ll see artifacts. Of course, images saved with lower quality (higher compression) will also show artifacts, so be careful. Also, JPEG isn’t so good if you’re going to be editing the file repeatedly — it’s really a final-version file format. If you’re going to be editing the file in the future, consider PSD.

PNG is great for interactive documents (such as EPUB or HTML export), but not for print. This is the format you should use (instead of JPEG) if your graphics are solid colors against solid colors (sharp, non-photographic edges).

These days, when it comes to Photoshop images, I generally save PSD about 60% of the time, JPEG 20% of the time, and the rest split up between PDF, TIFF, and PNG. For Illustrator graphics, I use AI about 75% of the time, PDF about 20%, and other stuff about 5%.

There are lots of other formats, such as the old DCS (required for spot colors in the dark ages; not I just use PSD or PDF), GIF (not really relevant; png is better in many cases), and PICT (you’re kidding, right?)… but you’re going to be happiest if you stick with one of the formats above.

David Blatner is the co-founder of the Creative Publishing Network, InDesign Magazine, CreativePro Magazine, and the author or co-author of 15 books, including Real World InDesign. His InDesign videos at LinkedIn Learning ( are among the most watched InDesign training in the world.
You can find more about David at

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  • James Fritz says:

    I still create an .eps version (plus .ai, jpg, .png, etc) of logos for clients. It can’t hurt to have an extra version of your vector logo in the .eps format in case someone requests it.

  • josh909 says:

    Nice one! Your post is an excellent roundup of information that sure both noobs and seasoned designers can learn something from.

    I totally agree with your stance that full quality .jpg files are fine for print… Anyone suggests otherwise are probably the kind of ‘designers’ that insist on turning off all compression when distilling PDFs for print, that inevitably results in massively bloated files that destroy the printer’s RIP.

  • Bob Levine says:

    Just to be totally accurate, PSD can save vectors and even text. The problems occur when you place the file in InDesign and everything gets rasterized.

    I wish they could do something about that.

    BTW, changing the PDF extension from a Photoshop PDF to PDP will allow the operating system to open that file in Photoshop for editing. This is comes in handy for edit original in InDesign.

  • Zoran says:

    When it comes to jpeg re-compression, I would like to draw your attention to interesting article/demonstration by Gordon Pritchard, former Kodak/Creo guy.
    He claims that it is a myth and he re-saved jpeg 15 times without further jpeg compression loss.

  • We have recognized some performance problems with InDesign CS5 while using TIFF- or EPS-files. So we began to change all our data into AI and PSD …

  • Eugene Tyson says:

    David, your post on JPEGs above cracked me up.

    Bob, I’m 90% sure Dov Issacs mentioned on the Adobe Forum that PSD could output vectors if some sort of fundamental change was done with InDesign? I’ll try and find the post – but I’m 80% sure that was said (yes I’m getting less sure about it as I type).

    This blog post and comments should the opening chapter to any book dealing with graphic design. It’s pure 101 stuff.

    The next one should definitely be compressing images! I had to write a 10 page email to a designer who supplied a 2pp flyer @ 20mb in size. No kidding.

    I love this blog post it’s getting bookmarked and thrown in peoples faces as often as I can lol. Although some large format guys/gals may have an issue with one or two things :)

    For the most part this serves as a “cut out the crap and get with the times” :D

  • Eugene Tyson says:

    To be clear about the JPG thing it was the “or JPG, if you?re a three-letter extension kind of person” and the “There are plenty of people who say never use it for print. These are the same people who say that all printing must be done gravure. Ignore them.” bits… it’s funny because it’s true.

  • Nick Morgan says:

    @Zoran – that jpeg example shows resaving the jpeg without touching the pixels. The moment the pixels change (whether you crop the image, adjust the levels, or whatever else) the image will be re-jpegged and get extra artifacts.

    @David – I’m so glad you posted this. It’s basically how I do everything these days, but I know a lot of people who insist on tiff and eps for everything. Thanks!

  • @Zoran, I agree with Nick above: Yes, Photoshop is smart enough not to re-jpeg (create more artifacts) if you’re just opening and resaving. But that’s not a real-world situation. I was talking about when people open the jpeg, crop it, tweak levels or curves, resample, sharpen it up, then re-jpg. It is better to do all those kinds of things on a psd or original image when possible.

    @Bob and Eugene: Yes, PSD does remember the vectors. But InDesign cannot “see” them, so everything gets rasterized. In my discussions with Adobe, some say that this is Photoshop’s fault, and others point to InDesign. I hope they work that out.

    Even worse, vector smart objects in Photoshop (yes, there really are vectors hiding in there) are always rasterized, no matter what format you use. That’s definitely Photoshop’s fault.

  • Dan Rodney says:

    I often use an LZW compressed TIFF over a PSD simply because the filesize can be a lot smaller. LZW compression doesn’t lose any quality and can make the TIFF up to 50% smaller than a PSD. An LZW compressed TIFF will always be smaller than a PSD.

    The only feature a PSD has that TIFF doesn’t is support for spot colors, then you need a PSD. Other than spot colors, PSD and TIFF have worked the same for me, so I go with the smaller filesize TIFF.

    On a related note, the filetype does matter when exporting ePubs from InDesign. If you are getting bad results for pictures (such as pixelization) try another filetype… like Photoshop PDF. That may fix it. Filetype “shouldn’t” matter in an export like that, but for now it does :(

  • Great post! I´m going to give a link to this to everyone who´s attending my InDesign courses….

    Tiff does not support Object Layer Options in Indesign, so you can´t switch the visibility of layers after you have placed it into indd…

    Other thing about PSD which bothers me a lot is; when you export your document as SWF, InDesign compresses all the extracted PSD images as PNG, even if you have selected JPEG as a compression method in Export SWF settings. And size of the resulting SWF will bloat if many PSD images have been used…. If you use transparent TIFF with extracted images, size will be smaller….

  • Q says:

    I like to use EPS format as a “final” version of say a logo you’ve been working on. I always save the Illustrator file with live fonts and save the EPS with outlines created.

  • Dan Rodney says:

    @Petteri: Good point about Object Layer Options. I never use them so I didn’t even think of them. I am not a big fan of Object Layer Options because they can get lost when the PSD gets updated. I recognize they can be useful sometimes, but they can also be a quick way to lose work. (Adding/deleting a single layer will revert all instances of the image back to how the Photoshop file looks, loosing all your overrides.)

    @Q: The problem with EPS is that is doesn’t support transparency. As long as you don’t use transparency you’d be OK with eps. I like to use .ai so I don’t have to think about whether I used transparency or not.

  • Marc Cielen says:

    Since InDesign has been launched, way back in 1999 (I think) – I have been using PSD, AI and PDF.

    My former colleagues didn’t, they sticked to EPS.

    They had many, many problems when it came to output on film.

    I had none! (btw: it was me who did the output job ;-).

    Thanks David, I’ll show this post to my former colleagues.

  • Thank you for this roundup. I worked in the Adobe Photoshop/InDesign Environment since Pagemaker 6 and I never ever had real problems with all natives files in any photoshop/indesign/illustrator-situation.

    It is awesome and that’s why we love adobe over quark or others, because everything is streamlined.

    The people who use EPS (and there are a lot from the lost ages of Quark) in production and the ones who don’t use JPG in PDFs are also the ones who don’t use InDesign’s PDF-Export and still write PS and handle it over to the Distiller.
    Stone Ages.

  • Jas says:


    PS pdfs remain vector if you turn off the ‘Maximize PSD and PSB File Compatibility’ preference in PS.

    That option, when on, saves a full-sized preview (ie flattened version) of the file, which is what gets used by InD.

  • @Jas: I’m not sure what you mean. There is no “maximize psd and psb file compatibility” preference when saving PDF files. That is for PSD files. No?

  • Adam says:

    I’ve had issues with using .ai files in illustrator files when the final output will be a PDF for the web. Most people don’t have an issue, but i’ve received some calls from people having issues opening the PDFs. When I convert that to a raster graphic i haven’t had any issues. Would .eps or .pdf solve this?

  • Jas says:

    ‘maximize…’ is in the PS program prefs, under file handling. It’s not a per-file setting which you can see in a save dialog box ? however when you change prefs, it is instantly activated/deactivated.

    The wording IS confusing ? as this setting affects PDF too, not just PSD and PSB…

    It doesn’t seem to matter whether ‘Preserve PS editing’ is on or off when saving, and the Acro version/standard doesn’t affect preserving vectors in InD either.

    Also to note that InD gives you a warning when importing these ‘low-compatibility’ pdfs to do with taking longer to create a preview.

  • Jeremy says:

    You can retain vectors and text in a PSD file by saving as a Photoshop EPS instead. The files become huge though. We’ve had to do this a few times when I customer has supplied a complete design done in Photoshop (yuck!).

  • @Jeremy: Why didn’t you save as PDF?

    @Jas: I still don’t think that setting has anything to do with how vector layers in the PSD file are handled in InDesign.

  • loic says:

    Another interest of PDF against EPS is that when you send an EPS file to a third party, most of the time, they yell at you as they can’t open it (thinks about secretaries and non equiped crews). At least PDF will be opened by anyone :)

    Hey Bob this PDP trick is awesome, especially, when you forget about the creator application. PDP seems great to identify PDF generated with Photoshop :)

  • Kelly Vaughn says:

    Great article! I know it’s best practice to prep files to the standards of professional grade printing, but I have certain situations where I purposely use non-professional formats, just so that my non-profit clients can use the files I send them (like EMF and WMF). Awhile back, I wrote a blog article about the appropriate use of those file formats. Perhaps it would be helpful for other designers who have to prep files for use with consumer-grade software.

  • Marc Anthony says:

    Choosing to compress a printworthy PDF at the final output stage is one thing, but JPEG images have little place in a professional print workflow for a variety of legitimate reasons. As there is no way to determine the compression level or generational iterations, any JPEG image is of less than optimal quality from the beginning; at best, you start with an image that has soft or grainy edges, and, often, the image is so chewed up that editing is a challenge without amplifying flaws. (The latter point is why photographers prefer RAW.) At worst?and without identifiable cause?a JPEG may fail to properly separate. The format is also inflexible in that it excludes alpha channels. Why would anyone recommend using this tragic format for print?

  • @Marc: Either you didn’t read the comments above, or you’re just one of those many “never use jpg for print even when it makes sense” people. I have never heard of a jpeg failing to separate; well, the old 1994 “jpeg eps” files, sure, but those are completely different, so unless you can back that one up, your comments are just FUD.

    No one is saying that JPEG is good for files that are going to be further edited. Please go back and read my post.

  • Gary Hoover says:

    Marc’s comments about JPEGs being used for professional printing are spot on. I want to know exactly how David would like Marc to “back that one up.” JPEG is a lossy compression format so no matter how good you make the quality, there will always be data missing. (It’s usually most noticeable in any image where areas of high-contrast occur.) The reason for this fairly technical but simply put, all RIPs have to downsample images when processing them.

    Because of the way JPEGs are compressed, you cannot predict how the downsampling is going to affect the overall image quality. TIFFs, on the other hand, can be compressed using LZW compression which is non-lossy. Many printers, believe it or not, prefer not to use PDFs for the same reason. And the JPEG format was never meant for color separations because, again, the results are unpredictable.

    Bottom line is, if your printer says not to supply them, don’t do it. They have good reasons.

  • Marc Anthony says:

    When I say that JPEGs don’t always separate properly, this is from direct experience in a modern printing environment. I work for a large book publisher and have 21 years of both design and prepress experience. It’s possible your files would output fine, or they may only print in grayscale when you were expecting color; it’s a crapshoot that depends on a wide range of factors.

    You encouraged your site visitors to use JPEG as a “final-version file format”, however, I respectfully disagree with the perspective that they should ever be used as links; it never makes sense. Why invite a potential problem by using a format designed for the web? Its sole role in print should be to reduce the overhead on the RIP in a PDF workflow at the PDF stage.

  • Stix Hart says:

    @ Marc Anthony & Gary Hoover, as well as the fact that you haven’t read David’s post correctly and are dancing on pinheads, your comments are riddled with wrong statements.

    e.g.#1 “At worst?and without identifiable cause?a JPEG may fail to properly separate” Only because of a faulty RIP.

    e.g.#2 “Many printers, believe it or not, prefer not to use PDFs for the same reason. ” As well as this assertion being flat out wrong technically, who are these many printers and what the heck do they use instead?!

    And 21 years of experience sadly doesn’t mean much these days, except that a lot of things that you learnt were absolute no nos are these days fine when done intelligently. Supplying your printer a PDF with RGB images in it for example.

  • I’m going to have to agree with Stix on this one. I, too, have been doing professional digital publishing since the late 80s, and I have seen (and taught) it all. Many of the things that were an “absolute no” in the 90s (rgb, jpeg, truetype, pdf, transparency, etc) are totally fine today — given updated software, RIPs, and knowledgeable users.

    @Gary: My comment about “back it up” means: Show me a JPEG that won’t separate (not as a one-off, non-reproducible problem, or a buggy file format or buggy RIP); or show me a JPEG saved at Max quality (of a photographic scene, not something synthetic or hard-edged) that when printed as an AM halftone shows artifacts that a reasonable viewer will notice without a magnifying glass.

    But I think your most important comment was: “if your printer says not to supply them, don?t do it.” I generally agree with you here. However, if your printer is uncomfortable with something which is standard practice in most of the world, then it’s also worth looking into other printers.

  • Jas says:

    David Blatner@Jas: I still don?t think that setting has anything to do with how vector layers in the PSD file are handled in InDesign.

    Ok, I’ve now figured out exactly what it is ? when saving to pdf from PS, make sure some standard is selected.

    eg pdf options in PS:
    – ‘High Quality Print’ with standard:none = raster
    – ‘High Quality Print’ with standard:pdf x-1/3/4 = vector

  • Eugene Tyson says:

    According the InDesign Help File (p. 359 )
    JPEG uses an adjustable, lossy compression scheme that effectively reduces file size by identifying and discarding extra data not essential to the display of the image. A higher level of compression results in lower image quality; a lower level of compression results in better image quality, but a larger file size. In most cases, compressing an image using the Maximum quality option produces a result that is indistinguishable from the original. Opening a JPEG image automatically decompresses it.

    Unless I’m missing something – does that mean that the JPEG compression is ignored by InDesign and the Compression is Added during the compression of the PDF – I think it does?

    Later on p.490 compressions are explained for their uses in exporting PDF. In regards to grayscale, photo, solids and patterns.
    Determines the type of compression that is used:
    ? Automatic (JPEG) Determines automatically the best quality for color and grayscale images. For most files, this option produces satisfactory results.
    ? JPEG is suitable for grayscale or color images. JPEG compression is lossy, which means that it removes image data and may reduce image quality; however, it attempts to reduce file size with a minimal loss of information. Because JPEG compression eliminates data, it can achieve much smaller files sizes than ZIP compression.
    ? ZIP works well on images with large areas of single colors or repeating patterns, and for black-and-white images that contain repeating patterns. ZIP compression can be lossless or lossy, depending on the Image Quality setting.
    ? JPEG 2000 Is the international standard for the compression and packaging of image data. Like JPEG compression, JPEG 2000 compression is suitable for grayscale or color images. It also provides additional advantages, such as progressive display. The JPEG 2000 option is only available when Compatibility is set to Acrobat
    6 (PDF 1.5) or later.
    ? Automatic (JPEG 2000)
    Determines automatically the best quality for color and grayscale images. The Automatic (JPEG 2000) option is only available when Compatibility is set to Acrobat 6 (PDF 1.5) or later.

    I have to say that I use RGB JPG in InDesign ALL the time. I download images from stock sites that don’t need any editing so I place them directly in InDesign. Any JPEG artifacts are lost in the halftone conversion.

    Now – if I was doing a high-end publication, which required editing of images there is no way in heck that I would save them as JPEG. They’d be all sharpened, corrected, resized exactly and placed in InDesign.

    But for the most part I do not need to do that. JPG is perfectly fine for most printing.

    Gone are the days of running a Batch operation in Photoshop to convert 15,000 photos for a catalog to convert them all to CMYK and save as a TIFF.

  • Alan Gilbertson says:

    A very common workflow for me is to receive a jpeg from an artist’s management, bring it into Photoshop and adjust it (sometimes separating the subject from the original background so I can composite onto a different one), save the PSD and place that in the InDesign layout. 95% of the time jpeg works perfectly well and presents no visible (even with a magnifying glass) quality issues at final output.

    In the other 5%, compression artifacts become a real headache, even when they are not visible, when selecting out detailed parts of an image. Selecting flyaway hair out of a white or dark background (very common) is straightforward in a lightly compressed image. If the image has been significantly compressed, the pixel blocks, even when they are invisible to the eye, interfere with the selection process and become a royal PITA, turning a two-minute quick extraction into a 30- or 40-minute ordeal with an unsatisfactory result at the end of it. So jpeg isn’t always plain sailing.

    I almost never save tiffs nowadays. They don’t perform well in InDesign if they have alpha channels, where PSDs are flawless, so my working image files are almost always either the original jpeg as received, or PSDs created from them.

  • @Eugene: No, when you save the image from Photoshop (or whatever program) as JPEG, the damage is done: the image is compressed and data is lost that you cannot get back. If you import a PSD or TIFF, there is no damage done to the image yet, but when you export a PDF with Auto or JPEG compression (which most people do), the image is compressed at that point. I’m not denying that the image degrades when the JPEG is made; I’m just saying that you won’t notice it if you use low compression and you’re going directly to print.

    @Alan: Unfortunately, you’re describing a worst-case scenario, and one which is backward from what I would recommend. Trying to do that kind of editing on a JPEG image is painful for the reasons you explained. That’s why I say that JPEG is great… for images at the end of the line. It would be much better if you could get TIFF/PSD files from images that had never been JPEGged, do the editing, and then save as jpeg at the end (after editing is complete). Or just leave them as PSD, of course.

    The problem is that a huge number of images start off life as JPEG now, because of digital cameras. Once it’s in JPEG, the damage has been done.

  • Eugene Tyson says:

    @David – I’m utterly confused then to what Dov Issacs said on the Adobe forums

  • @Eugene: If you save a psd file as jpg, place it in indesign, and then save a pdf with zip compression (instead of jpg or auto), then InDesign takes the degraded jpg image that photoshop created and saves it uncompressed in the PDF. In other words, it’s as though you opened the jpg in photoshop and saved as TIFF or PSD again. It doesn’t bring back any of the details lost originally, the artifacts are still there. It just saves it in an uncompressed (or less-compressed) form.

  • Alan Gilbertson says:

    @David: In the Real World (hmm… there could be a book title in there somewhere) there sometimes is no choice but a compressed jpeg.

    Although you call it a “worst case scenario,” you might be surprised — or appalled — at how commonly low-quality imagery is passed out by agencies and promoters for marketing a show, even for big name artists. And don’t get me started on non-profits…

    Big headliners (the ones who fill stadiums) often have only one or two authorized images for concert promotion. You’d think with all that money (and very expensive photographers) folks would take care to have super-high-resolution, pristine photographs readily available, but they are almost always jpegs, and quite often over-compressed. Worse yet, it’s not unknown for a key image to be a scan of a not-entirely-clean color print (no, really — a print, not a transparency), needing quite heavy spot removal and color/saturation/contrast adjustment in Photoshop, and to be over-compressed and/or undersized.

    The bigger agencies like William Morris usually do well with this, but with the rest it’s very hit and miss; more often miss than hit, in fact.

    The other factor is time. When a magazine, season program or billboard deadline is looming and I don’t have a week to track down the original photographer to get a clean image, I have no choice but to offer up a sacrificial Jelly Belly to the gods of compression, and attack the one I have with Photoshop.

    The ideal would be to use jpeg only as a final image format, but in some types of work it is more and more often, of necessity, a starting point. One becomes quite skilled in image restoration, after a bit. :-)

  • Eugene Tyson says:

    Well that makes sense. I’m glad I brought it up – it was something that was bugging me for a while. I knew that jpeg compression was “permanent” but doubt creeps in from time to time – hard to know what’s happening under the hood.

  • Alan Gilbertson says:

    A couple of points worth mentioning about AI and EPS.

    It’s important to distribute artwork to layers in Illustrator files if you’re going to place them in an InDesign layout. It’s the layers that determine what you will be able to turn on and off with Object Layer Options after the file is placed. Individual objects on an AI layer aren’t accessible through InDesign. When the client loves the whole layout except “that swirly thing” in the placed AI, the change is quick and easy if it’s on its own layer.

    Some EPS files crash InDesign, and there’s no way to tell in advance which ones will do it. So it’s well worth taking the time to open any EPS files in Illustrator and Save As .IA before placing them, even if there are dozens to convert. There’s a particular flavor of EPS that thoroughly confuses Bridge, too, so as far as I’m concerned there are many reasons to studiously avoid the format.

    It’s not just InDesign that likes AI, by the way. Flash and After Effects, just to mention two obvious examples, <love layered IA files. The same caveat about saving in PDF-compatible format applies.

  • Currently, almost everything I create outside of InDesign is in PDF. This has benefits:
    1. Ability to view content in any pdf viewer (also for people who don’t have Adobe software)
    2. The text inside PDF can be indexed and later found using simple Windows search box, which is awesome!

  • Jean says:

    When i use Illustrator, i leave it as an *ai format
    When i use InDesign, of course, it’s *.psd
    For the WEB, i decided to convert the files to a *.png
    (some transparant background is useful).

    As an old timer, started in 1976 using computer languages, active into the industrial quality control based on Vision Systems, in have some thousands photos from more than 20 years systems we installed.
    I decided to convert all photos into a *.png format.

    Most my original photos are *tif (great) and they are all saved as.
    I think it’s one of the best solution to save photographics, and can be reconverted without losing information.

  • I work for various textbook publishers on one-, two- and 4-process color books. I still convert their JPGs to grayscale or CMYK TIFs, I still make duotones in PS and save them as EPS, and the publishers still supply EPS files for their vector graphics. These come from many sources, and in the 20 years I?ve been doing this, maybe once or twice a printer has had a problem with a file. Yes, you can do all of the things you?ve all detailed here, but the bottom line is you have to supply what works for your clients and their vendors, no matter how nice it would be to just let the printer deal with the conversions.

    Here?s what I?d like to know. When you place an AI or a PDF file that has just two colors in it ? Pantone 2727 U, for example, and process black ? on a blank page in an InDesign file, and it’s the only thing in that file, why does the Package report indicate that there are 4 process colors in the file? Yet, if you place the same graphic as an EPS, the Package report indicates, correctly, that the graphic has only two colors?

    Note that all other colors but 2727 and black have been deleted from the AI Swatches palette, and there are no colors other than black in the Swatches palette in ID when the file is placed. This is the kind of thing that makes me cling to EPS even in CS5.

    I?m sure someone has a good explanation for this! Thanks!

  • Here’s even more! about EPS and why it’s good or bad:

  • david wrase says:

    how about anyone’s experience importing and printing PSB files (Large Document Format) from InDesign cs5.
    We are creating large images in Photoshop for walls and windows, that take us above the 30,000 pixel limit. The files themselves have large areas of transparency and fill color, so they save out under a gig and are not sluggish on our computers. (We regularly work images around a 1gb in Photoshop).

    The PSB files are grayed out (unavailable) to place in InDesign, but if you drag-n-drop, they come in.

  • david wrase says:

    we get different results placing images.
    with large images, if we use place (command-D) or anything with a dialogue box, it crashes,
    but if we drag and drop the file, from the local desktop or a shared volume – it works.
    We can place PSB files by drag and drop,
    and same with large PSD files.

  • tristan dalley says:

    @david wrase: I am having a similar problem, though it seems you have gotten further towards an answer than I. I have a file that runs across 24 pages of an InDesign document– I have placed 12 instances of the file across each DPS. (The image is supposed to be continuous, and placing it this way has allowed editing to be much easier.) The file as originally built was a 72 dpi .PSD with each of its 20+ layers being a Vector Smart Object. Now that the project is reaching completion, I have upscaled the base document from 72 dpi to 300 dpi (for press). The action takes some time, but completes easily– however, you are left with 3 choices for format after upscaling: PSB, TIFF, and RAW. This is because at least one of the dimensions of the new, upscaled file exceeds 30,000 pixels. Each format presents problems. PSB is “not compatible” with InDesign CS5 (at least, I saw no way to import until I saw your post), TIFF has a 4gb logical limit, so my layers have to be merged to successfully save (which is sort of okay, as I still have the original .PSD file to edit & re-upscale from, if need be), and RAW both isn’t placeable & doesn’t maintain layers. My current situation is, as I said, sort of okay, in that I can make a TIFF which can be placed– but as David mentioned in the original article above, all my newly upscaled, merged Vector Smart Objects preview (in Overprint Preview or with Display Performance set to High Quality) as heavily jagged. I am away from my printer for another month, but I am reasonably sure that they will print as they look in Photoshop (i.e. no jags), but the lack of easy large-data format compatibility in InDesign CS5 sucks– I would love to be able to place PSBs and walk away.

  • B Kinney says:

    Thanks all for the information I have read sofar.
    Can anyone tell me what the basic rules are for saving photos as a photoshop eps .vs a tif?

  • @shawngirsberger: I believe PDF doesn’t have a specific requirement to include any information about which colors are actually included, while EPS usually does. That is, the EPS probably says, up in its header info (which you can see if you open it in a text editor) exactly which plates it uses.

    @B Kinney: Rules? Not sure what you mean. We’ve talked at some detail above about TIF vs. EPS.

  • B Kinney says:

    Mr. Blatner,

    To clarify.I have a co-worker who saves all photos as an .eps format.

    There are no clipping paths or imported vector images to account for, and it make the photo files larger than they need to be. Printers are quietly grumbling to me about the headaches they cause.
    Can someone provide me with some guidelines as to why you would save a photo as an eps?
    To get this to stop. To do this I will need to get a buy-in from my boss.
    The conversation from earlier this year is a great start, but I’ll need more information to present to him.

  • joe says:

    Image quality on export to swf or interactive. If you have flash, import all of your images in jpeg format, then export them individually to swf from flash. You can then place your swf image files into indesign and export the final document to pdf or swf while maintaing excellent image quality. Why does this work well……I have no idea, stumbled on it by accident.

  • Cathy Jaynes says:

    I have switched to InDesign CS5 on my new iMac from my old Mac’s CS2 . On one of my wine labels I have a starburst, an Illustrator eps file that now comes in with a white background and sort of a target symbol (2 concentric circles) that shows when I move the cursor over the box that holds the image. I’ve never seen this – what does this signify? In working with this further, I changed some settings and get the image now but it’s jagged, whether saved as eps or PDF or ai file. While I realize I can probably make a new one in InDesign now, I will have other eps files to deal with in my transfer to my new Mac. Help?

  • @Cathy: The target symbol is the Content Grabber in CS5:
    The jagged image could be a number of things, but my guess it’s listed as modified or missing in the Links panel.

  • Alexandre Dion says:

    I read almost all the comments and i”m a bit confused.
    So what is the best replacement for EPS? Our PSD files are very large and some of them are PSB and from what i found Indesign don’t really like them. Also, just repositioning the files takes a lot of time.
    A pain of EPS is that i cannot see the color profile and resolution in the links panel. Should i save as High Res no compression (or best quality) JPG?

  • I’ve noticed that PDFs can slow InDesign down a lot, especially when there are multiple pages involved. (Like if you are showing the front of a book, but the whole book is in the PDF.)

    In that case, I just convert it to a regular old TIF.

  • Julie Polan says:

    Hi David and community,

    I just read all the comments. I am still not getting an answer of what to do in my application.

    I’m putting together a 20 page A4 size portfolio to be sent via PDF over email. Most people will just view the document on screen.

    It will be comprised of various images – photography, designs/plans done in Illustrator and Photoshop, and scanned sketches (pencil or marker).

    Are you recommending I save each type of file differently for best image quality? Or save them all in .jpg? I have been using png for everything. Why? Because 1 person in my field (landscape architecture) told me so, not an InDesign pro.

  • @Julie: PNG is a great bitmapped file format, especially for low-resolution images on the web. However, if you save an Illustrator (vector) graphic as png, it turns to pixels, and you lose the sharp-edged paths.

  • Laris says:

    All my images from photoshop, imported in InDesign are jagged. I brought al my photoshop and InDesign preferences back to basic, did a new install on my Mac and installed my programs again.. til now, nothing works. It’s strange because normally if I make a imaga in 300 dpi I can scale up to 400% and the image would still be sharp. Now it’s not.. in Photoshop it’s only smooth up to 100%
    Can anyone help me?

  • @Laris, I suggest you post this on the forums (click forums above), where more people will see it.

    If you’re talking about how it looks in InDesign, try setting the View > Display Quality to High Quality Display. If you’re talking about Photoshop, then I would make sure the image really is a high-res photo to begin with.

  • Alex Bund says:

    Thanks for this article, you’ve just saved me a day of hammering at a file and trying to figure out what was crashing InDesign when I exported PDFs.

    I had forty images created in Illustrator, and all saved as EPS files. They were crashing it every time. After resaving them all as AI the files exported perfectly.

    Great article and a great website.

  • Heather Robinson says:

    Help! I’m importing layered psd files into InDesign with layer masks and transparent backgrounds, and creating a pdf of the InDesign file for our print house to run digital copies. But the masked elements come out blank, but the mask outline is there, when he prints the pdf from his RIP. I never have these problems when we run separations for film. So this seems unique to digital printing. When we print the same pdf on our inhouse color printer, the masks prints fine. I’m not sure what to do–does anyone out there know? You all seem so knowledgeable so I’m hoping you’ve seen this before.

  • Darlene says:

    I had a printer once told me that my print quality suffers because all of my linked files in my InDesign project were either psd or ai files. Please keep in mind that everything link file is saved at least 300 dpi, and exported as a pfd. The printer only wants tiff. Question 1: Would linking to psd or ai hurt the quality. Question 2: Is there any easy way to saving an InDesign file as a tiff?

  • Jenny says:

    I am working freelance for an ad agency and they are saying that all the InDesign files that go to print need to have .eps format graphics placed in them, even the photos. This is unusual for me and I wonder it seems inefficient. They say this is how they need to prep files for the printer.

    Has anyone encountered this before? What is the purpose of changing perfectly good raster images from .tif to .eps format before placing into InDesign? Could they blindly be following someone’s outdated advice?
    Thanks for any input!!!

    • tristan says:

      Having worked both as the vendor and the designer, I’d say flatten your PSD file and save as an eps or tif before placing in any document that will be used to send to a printer or make a print PDF from, it will
      1. keep the size to a minimum (tifs can be compressed with no loss of image quality)
      2. ensure nothing moves or drops out, type doesn’t rasterize, colors don’t do weird things, etc
      3. files can be used as imports into multiple applications without having to resave ? its just a good habit to get into
      4. jpegs will lose some image quality, though slight

  • Stix Hart says:

    @Jenny, you can bet the farm that either they are blindly following someone’s outdated advice, or their printer is, or their printer has some extremely nasty outdated equipment! I am stunned… What format goes into InDesign nearly doesn’t matter as long as it’s in the appropriate format, e.g. psd, tiff or jpeg for raster, it is how you export it to PDF that matters.

  • Joe says:

    I just wanted to point out one contradiction in your descriptions:

    PSD has the benefit over TIFF in that it can save layers, layer comps, and duotones (or tri- or quadtone images).

    TIFF is a terrific format that everyone can agree is useful, at least for raster (bitmapped) images in print workflows. You have the option to save transparency and layered files.

    You imply that TIFFs cannot save layers in the PSD description, while in the TIFF description you say that they support layered files. The latter is correct. The statement should read: PSD has the benefit over TIFF in that it can save layer comps and duotones (or tri- or quadtone images).


  • Jon Chandler says:

    Having problems saving InDesign documents/PDFs (CS5). You re-link the .psd and save it, and again it says you need to re-link. Never used to have any problems in this area, and it dosn’t happen every time now, just enough to be annoying (have been using InDesign since it was invented, and Macs since the 80’s). Is this a CS5 problem? The files work perfectly if you change linke to .tiffs, or open files in CS5.5. Anybody else encountered this effect when doing similar work?

  • Paul says:

    Very helpful, thank you for the collected thoughts here.

  • But by the time I am >save as> is has the following options: Photoship RAW, PSB(LARGE FORMAT…attention psb NOT PSD), and TIFF , what can I do.The file is already 2GB!!!

  • The problem is that your file is too large for PSD or TIFF. Those file formats just can’t deal with it. You’d need to resample it smaller.

  • Chris Campbell says:

    Hi David,

    I’ve read all the comments and the post and am finding it hard to find a reason not to save a raster image as EPS rather than TIFF. The file size is a lot smaller with EPS than TIFF and they both offer no compression. It seems like EPS wins this round unless you know of another reason why we should not be using EPS other than it’s outdated?


    • It’s very rare that EPS is smaller than TIFF… unless you’re talking about saving a compressed EPS (not recommended) or you’re talking about saving an EPS from a vector program such as Illustrator.

      • Chris Campbell says:

        Hi David, Thanks for your reply. When saving a Photoshop EPS, If I set the Encoding to JPEG Maximum Quality is this basically the same as saving the file as a Maximum Quality JPEG? Should we be saving it with a different type of encoding?

        Thank you

    • @Chris: Ummm… why would you save as a jpeg-encoded eps file instead of just saving the file in the JPEG file format? You’re just adding EPS overhead to the file. If you want small, just save as JPEG (see blog article above).

  • annette says:

    David, the reason I have always required an eps for placement in a design program (indesign or quark) is because it gets rid of the white background. I can then place it on a colored background without the white box of the logo. Can you tell me how to get rid of the white background when a logo is provided by the client in jpeg or tiff form?

    • @annette: JPEG has no way to handle transparency. TIFF can save transparency information (see article above). PSD can, of course, save transparency information, as can PDF. I may be mistaken, but the only time the white background gets knocked out in an EPS is when it is a 1-bit “bitmap” (just black and white, no gray) image. Logos are usually better handled as vector images.

  • annette says:

    David, Thank you for responding so quickly. That is what I am asking: how do you convert a logo provided in a jpeg or tiff form to a vector eps where there would be no background. Can it be converted so I can place in an indesign document with a colored background? thanks.

    • @annette: The best option is probably to use the Live Trace feature in Illustrator, and then clean up the result manually.

    • Alex Shmayger says:

      There is no need to use Live Trace to convert image to vector, unless you are recreating logo from scan or drawing, or photo or, perhaps, your logo image is very low res. If it is normal image, Live Trace won’t improve quality, neither will make it any easier.
      If it is bitmap (1 bit) – you know, it’s simple. If it is grayscale – select image box and go to Window/Output/Attributes. Select “overprint” (doesn’t matter on box or on content) – white background will disappear and image will overprint. But you can see it only with “Separation Preview” mode.
      If your logo is solid colour (white background) placed on top of not too dark object, go to effects and select “Multiply”. I, personally, don’t like it much, but it works all right.
      But the best way to deal with image logo on white background, is to open it up in PhotoShop, double click on layer to unlock it (and make it able to be transparent), go to menu Select/Colour Range…, click on your white logo background, maximum Fuzziness will do (if you have normal image edges), (*), click OK, DELETE background, save as PSD. Will work perfect in InDesign.
      (*) If your logo is on top of dark object and still has white thin border around, in PhotoShop go to Select/Modify/Expand and add 1 or a few pixels before deleting selection. There are better ways, but this one is just as good and very simple.

  • Lizz says:

    I am going to be making my companies logo available for download from our style guide. Which is a better option for this, .tiff or .pdf?

  • Alex says:

    Hi David. Could you tell me which is the best format to save a scanned drawing in so I can put it into Indesign. I know it becomes a Photoshop doc once scanned and in Photoshop ( where I am messing with the tone etc), but I need to get it into Indesign so I can create a layout and then create a PDF ready to print. Should I turn them into TIFF’s or PDF’s or keep as PSD’s? Not sure which is best quality-wise. Any help would be really appreciated.

  • Sara says:

    Aggghhhh! I’m going nuts over here. I just took over the Graphic Design position of someone who was self-taught (nothing against that IF you do things correctly). There are absolutely NO native files, everything is saved in EPS, and Illustrator was used for layout instead of InDesign, but of course, no AI files. Every time I need to open a document to make changes, I nearly have an anxiety attack hoping that it is going to be easy, and that I don’t have to manipulate things. And, don’t even get me started on file organization. WTF either runs through my head, or is spewed out about every 2 minutes.

  • Peter Liptak says:

    Hello David, love the knowledgeable article and all the useful answers you posted to the replies.
    I see that this is an older thread, but if you are still willing to indulge, I have a question about size… In particular, I have a 172page comic book where the indesign links are all psd files ranging from 20-40MB each (resulting in a file that is almost 4GB). As such our designer had to save it in several different indesign files that the printer had to merge together, and has caused quite a bit of trouble with our efforts to create manageable epub/mobi files.
    In this situation, should i change the links to pdf, or tiff or something else to reduce file size or will i create more problems. Is there any way for me to create a more manageable file size? (BTW – I am a small publisher [non-designer] trying to teach myself.) Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • Pat says:

    Thanks for the image format overview! I have a question I’m hoping you might be able to help me with. I have ~200 PNG images that are mostly screen shots including text. I captured them for web use. But now I’m going to put them in print and the publisher requires that the images be in TIFF format. I’m thinking of using a batch Photoshop process to open each image and save it as TIFF. I’m wondering though, if this will still result in poor quality printed images since the PNG already ‘dumbed down’ the color, which could affect aliasing. I should add that have not resized the PNG files, so that’s not an issue.

    Any thoughts on this topic?


  • Jon says:

    Hi David, thanks for the blog post. I read it but still have a question, as someone with no experience in design.

    I had a logo created recently and was provided with a black and white version of it in png and jpg. The designer is offering me the editable vector file for $20 more or the complete source files in psd for $10 more.

    For transparent use on a website as well as letterhead and business card design, can I ask do I need one, both or neither?

  • Jason says:

    @David..Hi been reading here and have a question. I am an ad designer for a smaller newspaper company. Primarily use CS5.5 and In Design along with Photoshop. When I was being trained I was told to save color images, logos text a cmyk while processing in photoshop and then after pdf ing the file and exporting to save as an eps file to send to print. What possibe reason might there be to not save color photos or color text as a tiff?

  • Wilhelm Georg Adelberger says:

    This is an older article, but I want to make some remarks:

    When it comes to EPS:
    – I don’t use it, because it does not support color management. It would be difficult to use RGB-EPS-Images for a print workflow.
    – If spot colors are involved, I can target them to process colors in InDesign’s ink manager. But if someones comes to the ides to create a PDF via Distiller—I method I would never recommend today—it would be ignored. Specially with logos: I avoid EPS and use AI or PDF instead.
    – EPS does not support transparency in any way, neither with vectors (I use AI instead) nor in Photohop (I use PSD or PDF instead).
    – EPS does not support Photoshop layers nor layer mask, nor Layer Compositions

    When it comes to TIFF or PSD
    – I prefer PSD inInDesign, because the preview is much better in InDesign.
    – When you have images in normal size, no problem to save it as PSD in Photoshop, but when the size of the pixels increases, Photoshop allows only to save as PSB or TIFF. Because InDesign does not support PSB import, I have to take TIFF in these rare cases. (I am not designing bill boards on a daily basis.)

    When it comes to PNG:
    – I don’t like it because it does not support layers, nor vectors.
    – PNG knows only alpha transparency, no blending modes. If it comes to a case, where I need different blending modes, which can be used in InDesign, it might be a way to open a PSD in Illustrator and save it as AI. It is not always possible.

  • Fred F says:

    Hello David:
    Considering that for the most part, nobody prints anything anymore, what is the best file format and workflow process for pdfs coming out of InDesign?
    For example, I’m sending my portfolio for a potential job as a pdf. The employer most likely will not print it, especially since it’s 11″X17″ landscape. Therefore, I think exporting my InDesign file out as an interactive pdf is probably best.

    Now, let’s start with my photos:
    I shoot RAW files with my digital camera for best quality, lossless files. Who knows? I might want to print hi-res at some point in the future, so certainly no reason to shoot small jpgs. From the RAW file, (NEF or DNG format), I then create my working PSD file. I make my adjustments and create a layered file. I keep it in RGB and do not convert to CMYK. Because I am starting with a big RAW file, I’ve also got a very big PSD file.

    For print, I would usually then convert from RGB to CMYK and make any further adjustments if necessary, esp. for the new color space. I would then save the CMYK PSD out to a TIF without layers, as a copy. Because the PSD file was big, so is the TIF. So I would drastically decrease the size of the TIF through image size. Then, I would sharpen the TIF. Finally, I would drop this smaller, flattened TIF into InDesign. I am finding that linking directly to the PSD file creates a very large pdf file in turn, thus the TIF conversion.

    But for a final output of a pdf that will just be viewed on screen what is the proper workflow and best file format for the graphics in the InDesign file?

    Many thanks.

    • Wilhelm Georg Adelberger says:

      You should leave the files as RGB, even for print. I would also strongly recommend to keep layers alive, as you can turn them on and off in InDesign.
      Turn on the screen proof in Photoshop for your CMYK output from the RGB files. I think it is not a good idea to convert them in Photoshop to CMYK.

  • Fred F says:

    Wilhelm, thanks for your reply, but you are wrong that files should not be converted to CMYK for print. At least not offset print. Further, no, you do not want your printers to have layered files. They should have flattened, final artwork. You don’t want them changing your artwork and you want to give them as clean and light a file as possible.

    For desktop inkjet printers, yes RGB with proper color drivers.

    But my question is not for print. My question is what are proper file formats for graphics in Indesign for screen view or interactive PDFs? What is proper workflow? Goal is to have small file size with optimized images. Thanks.

    • Wilhelm Georg Adelberger says:

      Oh Fred, you are so much last millennium with your comment. Let InDesign or later the APPE do the conversion, not Photoshop. Haven’t you learned anything in the last 15 Years? You should update your knowledge, we write now 2015, not 1998!
      You should read this here:
      Then you should begin with learning modern workflows.
      Don’t stick in dusty old and outdated methods. Such a lack of knowledge drives me crazy.

  • Fred F says:

    Wilhelm, What are…:
    Thank you for that link. Very interesting. So, I guess things have changed. I do stand corrected and thank you for that educational link.

    However, judging by the lengthy comments from seasoned print designers, it seems that there is still some debate about this and that there are exceptions.

    I like this comment in particular:
    “So for the customer expectation factor, this is why many printers require designers to convert to CMYK before releasing the files to them. The vendors want designers to see how dull and dirty some colors get when moving from RGB to CMYK. Printers get a bum rap because the file has not been set up correctly for the print output. This is especially true if the designer is working and releasing files by viewing on screen only and does not have access to a color managed high-end output laser printer or ink jet proofer.

    At the end of the day, Computer to Plate and Desktop Publishing has been a boom for publishers and designers. It has put a lot of tools and control in the hands of the creative, but it has decimated the print industry, ”

    Indeed, at the end of the day, it is about managing client expectations. So, there is great validity in showing them images that have already been adjusted for cmyk.

    I am still checking with one of my top printers to see how they would like their pdfs set up. The other truth about that comment is that print is dying. So congrads to those of you who are still getting print work. I’ve been spending my time learning coding.

    But really, Wilhelm! You state, “Haven’t you learned anything in the last 15 Years? You should update your knowledge, we write now 2015, not 1998!
    Then you should begin with learning modern workflows.
    Don’t stick in dusty old and outdated methods. Such a lack of knowledge drives me crazy.”

    Judging by the comments on that forum you sent me to, I guess a lot of people are driving you crazy and that is burden that I’m sorry you have to carry.
    Further, that forum is from December 2014 — not even a month ago, and hardly 1998!!
    Further, even David says that working in cmyk is not wrong, just inefficient in the current workflow. And clearly, that outdated workflow is what a lot of printers are still demanding. I will still listen to my printers, thank you.

    Finally, my question is still not answered. What is the proper workflow and proper file formats for a pdf that will be viewed on screen only? Forget print!

    • @Fred: I think you are right and Wilhelm’s frustration was getting the better of him. But don’t let that derail you. (Yes, we edited out some of your comments.)

      It’s funny that you start your original note by saying nobody prints anymore. Actually, there is a huge amount of print going on! But we don’t need to argue that here. Your main question is what should you use if you are primarily creating PDFs for onscreen viewing. Unless there was a very good reason to flatten the PSD, I would leave it as RGB with layers. When InDesign exports the PDF, it will “flatten” the layers (I put that in quotes because flattening layers is different than flattening transparency… another word which Adobe uses to mean two completely different things).

      What you’re describing is what I call a “hybrid PDF” (a PDF that is probably going to be viewed on-screen most of the time, but it might get printed by someone on a desktop printer). I would not use “PDF (interactive)” unless you need buttons and movies and stuff like that. If it’s just a hybrid pdf, then export as “PDF (print)” but set up the export options so that it is designed for on-screen viewing.

      I describe how to do this in detail in my title “PDF for Print” at

    • Wilhelm Georg Adelberger says:

      Hi Fred, sorry that I was a little bit frustrated. I will be more friendly.
      I think there exists no All-purpose-in-one-PDF. But you can set up your source files for as many purposes as possible (but not for all neither).
      If I set up files with InDesign, I have different requirements than the files the printer wants to have at the end:
      – Not flattened PSDs or PDFs (which excludes EPS, PDF/X-1a and-3), as it allows me to use the same image on different locations with different object layer settings in InDesign or to use different Layer Compositions from Photoshop. I am using both. (If it is only an image, like a photo without any transparency, a HQ JPG is also ok.)
      – RGB images as I can target different output color spaces from the same source file and avoids for RGB back and forwarding conversations.

      The printer has not to bother how I come to his requirements. If a printer requires a specific color space or standard, he gets it. If he wants a PDF/X-3 in ECI300 v2 he gets it, but this does not mean that I have to place in InDesign a X-3, I can use X-4.
      You have to be aware that printers know only how they can work with final files, but they are not high qualified in handling all PDF creation programs. If they would have the knowledge to handle any open file they must have different computers with different OS for Mac and Windows with each version a different computer, all kind of Unix, which could result in 20 different working stations only to open the clients files without changes upon opening), for each program the correct version on the correct computer, all 3rd party dictionaries installed, the same user dictionaries as the clients have and the methods how people are doing some things. You see, that would be impossible, even for large printer companies.
      When I get the technical specifications of a printer, I need these information: Final Paper size of the folded product, if different page sizes, all sizes of them, the used PDF Standard, Output Color Intent, Bleed and if he needs Register Marks, minimum width of lines positive and negative. All other information I can get out of these information. Problem is, that printer give often advises how to make it which are destroying my data. Or describe things so that they are difficult to understand due to a lack of the right terms in English or German (I get those technical specifications often from Far East or Eastern Europe.)

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  • Theresa A. says:

    Gentleman, and ladies!
    I have read through the comments, but have become increasingly confused. I am attempting to solve a work problem. We receive uploaded logos from our online customers, which we use to engrave on wood items. We ask for “black & white vector eps files.” Exactly zero of our customers actually send this to us (we receive jpgs, bitmapped eps files, and psd files). Our engraver uses CorelDraw, and is having difficulty with most of the files (they are VERY jagged). I have tried converting the files online, in ai, and in photoshop, and have spent a few days on this going back and forth with the engraver, without much success. I found this thread, and you seem to be experts! Any advice on how I can best convert these files so that my engraver can use them successfully?

  • Wilhelm Georg Adelberger says:

    Engraving is a different situation than printing. Corel is also not PDF based program. With engraving (or cutting) you don’t need a color management.
    Depending on the machine and technology some engraver can work with pixeled images, some not.
    I think the engrave has to require files according his machines, but he should also be able to convert vectors in AI or PDF into EPS because I think he has the know how, his clients don’t have it.
    But engraving is not covered with this article anyway. It is a compete different thing.

  • Agatti says:

    Hey, great article (well articles, really. Not just this one)!

    I think I got the gist of it, but I still have a doubt.
    The reason why you say that PNG is not good for print, whereas JPEG is, is because it only handles RGB and not CYMK?

    I ask because I always prefer PNG to JPEG in my job, since it’s lossless and very very small if need be. BUT! my job is 95% web-oriented, and almost never requires printing (and when I do, i use PDF).
    So I basically abandoned JPEG and never looked back, and I saw no reason for ever looking back, until I read your article, that is.

  • Dave2theC says:

    Stumbled across this when trying to find a solution for my issue. Not Indesign related, but Illustrator. Trying to place a spot color PSD file into Illustrator yields an unsupported color mode error. Saving the file as a DCS EPS out of Photoshop allows it to be placed in Illustrator. Puzzled as to why Illustrator doesn’t support spot color from PS…

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  • Hi David and everyone!
    These are all great and informative comments, however I am still confused as to what the difference is between saving a layered tiff file with transparency, vs. just using the psd layered file in an InDesign document. I always thought that TIFFing and psd-ing the file were mutually exclusive because of the layering component.
    I frequently have images that i like to add tilt-shift drop shadows to and them overprint on a photo.
    Thank you for any and all help. You are all great! oxoxo

  • Kachie says:

    Please i need to deliver a flyer design to someone so that 500 copies of it cn be printed. If i save the ai file in a pdf format, will the work still come out great ? Thanks

    • Wilhelm Georg Adelberger says:

      It will come out with AI or PDF/X-4 at least as good as with an EPS, if not, much better as AI and PDF/X-4 are superior to EPS. Stop using EPS!

  • Jessica says:

    Hi Dave,

    Thanks for the post. I skimmed the comments but didn’t see my question addressed.

    Regarding linking images in Indesign, I was brought up to ALWAYS use .psd files over jpgs. I’m now running into other designers saying they NEVER use .psd over jpgs unless necessary (for all the reasons mentioned here), but otherwise always use jpgs. Is this indeed now the case? In my new position, we don’t even send out native Indesign files to our print vendors anymore, they’re all pdfs. Seems to makes sense that unless necessary, you wouldn’t need a .psd, however, I’m a little concerned because when you go to package an Indesign doc, you’ll get the warning exclamation point for your images that are in .jpg format. What gives?

    • Wilhelm Georg Adelberger says:

      I would recommend to use always PSD or PDP if you work with Photoshop and InDesign. JPGs are smaller, but they don’t supprot transparency and vectors and type are flattened. If those are used, use PDP.
      JPGs are lossy and PSD is a lossless type, so I would say use PSD over JPG. There are reasons to use JPGs, if you need not high quality and you get imagery from a digicam with only basic adjustments, I would not do to much work on them.

  • Berneth says:

    Hi Dave,
    Here I am struggling with some quality issue with indesign, psd and PDF file.
    So, I have a PSD file and then exports to a PDF file(without compression). And when I link separately to the PSD file(original file)and the PDF file(exported) in Indesign, the result when exported is the PDF-linked image is clearer than the PSD-linked image. I am wondering what type of file should I link to in Indesign, do I link PSD file straight or do I export to a PDF file from photoshop and link the PDF file in Indesign, if I want the highest quality.

    Thany you very much for your answer if you could help!! This issue bugs me for a long time.

  • Dzung Vu says:

    Dear Sir,

    I am so impressived ưith your rich experiences about InDesign so I have a problem as following:

    Could you share your time to review its?

    All the best,

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