PDf exported from InDesign can't be placed and re-exported/


Well-known member
Once again this rears it's ugly head. I got two very simple PDF files both exported from InDesign CS4 both using Adobe PDF Library 9. I place them into an InDesign CS2 template for export to PDF and the export fails. I "optimized" in Acrobat for Acrobat 4 and still it fails to export. All this is is Black text set for an envelope! Nothing even close to fancy and it fails to export. This is getting old and I'd love to know WTF it happens. Since this job is so simple I've collected it and zipped it up for anyone how whats to have a look.
BTW the file will export to PDF from InDesign CS3 but not from CS2.


Well-known member
98% of my work comes in in CS2. So CS2 is what I use. Not a big deal I would just like to know why this happens. Getting and error like "Failed to export PDF" doesn't help me much.


This sounds familiar. I often error out trying to export out of InDesign CS2 to a flash drive to sneakernet the pdf. Can't say why this is happening, but always workaround it by saving to desktop first and then dragging to the flash.


Well-known member
Is there anything on Adobe's forums?

Not that I doubt you, but I also am surprised that you still get most of your files in CS2...

I am mostly CS3 and am getting more CS4 than anything.

Now CS5 is rearing its ugly head.....

Lukas Engqvist

Well-known member
A case of new wine in old wineskinns…*and a new patch on old garment.
I feel your pain, but sooner or later you will have to move on. The purpose with PDF workflows, where is to make the process simpler. I am sure there is some way to modify a new bio-gas car to make it run on leaded petrol…*but there is no intrest repairing it.

I assume it is a font encoding issue since there was a change in the way fonts were encoded. You might be able to work around it by InDesign C4 > Postscript > Distiller >PDF > place in CS2 and then go from there.
Or just get a workflow overhaul.


Well-known member
I can't wait for retirement or for this shop to fold like just about every other shop in the area has. It's gotten to the point where we gotta support to many versions of software and with little or no work coming in there is no money to upgrade. It's a crap shoot to open a CS file in CS4 or 5 and yet a PDF from CS4 or 5 PDF won't export from a CS2 file. I still have customers using InDesign Version 2 as well (not CS2 just 2.0). I would be more than happy to just use the copy of version 4 I have, IF it opened all previous versions correctly. I don't have nor will I buy version 5 because Adobe priced us out of buying new software when they dropped the Service Provider program.


Well-known member

I feel your pain.

I am in the same boat. This industry has just about played itself out for me as well. I have 35 years in this stupid trade and it just keeps getting worse.

Adobe has abandoned us, pretty soon Apple won't even support Adobe apps, and the general trend is downward.

Got any ideas for survival? Just waiting for the end seems like a bad idea......


PS The endless upgrades to "CS" seems to be futile at best. What a joke...


Well-known member
I also feel the same pain, and the same (leaking/sinking) boat: exported PDF work fine only with up-to-date workflows, but are not as reliable than distilled PDF with old (PostScript) workflows...

So, either you upgrade, or you train your customers to make their PDF as Lukas has explained (InDesign C4 > Postscript > Distiller >PDF)... (or you try to find another job... :()

But, sometimes, re-frying a PDF can solve problems with exported PDF: open your CS4-CS5 PDF in AcrobatPro, save it as PostScript file, and distil this PostScript file with your Print setting: it will remove most of the problems of the exported PDF...

But be aware that this method is not a "good" practice and has some risks (according to Adobe, it's a devil's method!), AFAIK mainly for 2 reasons:

1° when saving as PS file, Acrobat will flatten all transparencies... so you have to be careful with the Acrobat's transparencies flattening settings: for Print use, don't forget to select the "high resolution" mode (or create your own flattening setting)

2° be sure to save as level 3 PostScript, otherwise, if you save as level 2, you'll probably have banding problems in the gradients.

(importing PDF in InDesign templates works... but is not the easiest method to impose and image PDF: Acrobat 8 or 9 + Quite imposing is far more easier, and not too expensive!)
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