Thanks for coming to, the world's #1 resource for all things InDesign!

Customizing a Preflight Profile

In my previous posting on the Live Preflight feature in InDesign CS4, I talked about some reasons why Live Preflight was an advance over the Preflight feature in previous versions of InDesign. The main reason is that it improves your productivity. The Pfeiffer Consulting study found that ?locating and fixing document errors with Live Preflight was twice as fast in our tests as compared to the preflight functionality in previous releases.?

But the key to making Live Preflight useful for your production workflow is to create your own preflight profile. The default [Basic] profile only checks for a few simple things?missing or modified graphics, missing fonts, or overset text.

To create a custom preflight profile, open the Preflight dialog (Window > Output > Preflight), and choose Define Profiles from the flyout menu.

Choose Define Profile

In the Preflight Profiles dialog, you first want to add a profile. You can’t edit the [Basic] profile. Click on the + button. Give it a name (I named mine “Production”), and click Save.

Create & Name Profile

Next, you want to choose the attributes you want to check for in the profile. It will require some experience and experimentation to decide what criteria to include. For most environments, you probably want to define different profiles for the different kinds of output you do regularly. It might be tempting to make a profile with every possible option checked, but that will end up being more trouble than it’s worth. In the example below, I’ve added the ability to look for low resolution images by checking the options under Image Resolution.

Pick Attributes to Check

After making your choices, click OK. Now, for the customized preflight profile to be active, you must select it from the list of profiles. When you do, InDesign will immediately analyze the InDesign file using the new profile.

Select Profile

After you create a new profile, make up some test files, and add some mistakes to them. Test these with your new profile. Then open up some of the kinds of files you normally work with, and test again. Return to your profile and refine it, adding things you forget or deleting those that aren’t necessary.

There’s one more important step in making a custom profile: You must back it up! Custom profiles are stored in InDesign’s preferences. Unless you’ve backed up your custom profile, it will be lost when you restore InDesign preferences!

To export a profile, choose Define Profiles in the Preflight panel flyout menu. In the Preflight Profile dialog, click the menu to the right of the + and – buttons (see figure below), and choose Export Profile. The profile will be saved with an .idpp (InDesign Preflight Profile) extension.

Export to Back Up

In the third and final posting, we’ll cover some more profile tricks, including covering the very best way to get a preflight profile for your print workflow.

Steve Werner

Steve Werner

Steve Werner is a trainer, consultant, and co-author (with David Blatner and Christopher Smith) of InDesign for QuarkXPress Users and Moving to InDesign. He has worked in the graphic arts industry for more than 20 years and was the training manager for ten years at Rapid Lasergraphics. He has taught computer graphics classes since 1988.
Steve Werner

Latest posts by Steve Werner (see all)

  • - November 30, -0001
Related Articles

18 Comments on “Customizing a Preflight Profile

  1. I really like the new live preflight. But it slows down my work day because it wants to preflight every “old” document I open also.

    I have a lot of huge InDesign files from books and magazines which I have to open fairly often to get text and layout elements. These are older files, from CS2/CS3. So on top of converting the files when I open them, InDesign preflight the files as well. This takes quite a lot of time..

    What I would like is a way to turn preflight of for older documents, and have it automatically on for new files — is there a way for achieving this?

  2. >What I would like is a way to turn preflight of for older documents, and have it automatically on for new files ? is there a way for achieving this?

    You can do the first (and choose which profile to use) by selecting Preflight Options from the Preflight panel menu, then choosing your profile.

    For the second, before opening up those old documents, click on the little popup menu just to the right of the preflight menu in the Status bar. Uncheck “Enable Preflight for All Document.” This turns Preflight OFF. Open up your old docs. When finished, turn Preflight back on.

  3. Is there any way to make a “really” custom preflight profile?

    What I want is one that will allow style overrides in some styles (eg a body text style), but not others (eg a heading style).

    And ideally it will allow italic but not bold or underline, and will allow plus/minus 10 tracking but not plus/minus 11.


  4. All of us where I’m working seem to be having this issue with InDesign CS4 custom preflight profiles. Any custom preflight profile that we build goes into a loop when it’s active. It checks, then displays 1 error or no error (for example) but then immediately goes back to checking. When using the built in “Basic” profile, this does not occur… it simply checks, then displays the results, and then stops. It doesn’t check again unless you make a change to the layout (delete a box or whatever). Custom profiles however will go into a never-ending loop of checking and displaying the result over and over and over even if you haven’t changed anything in the layout.

    Interestingly, this seems to depend on which options are selected in the preflight profile. For example: image resolution and missing glyphs both cause the problem, but “bleed and slug setup” does not.

    Of course you can simply turn the live profiling “off” but then what’s the point of “Live Profiling” in the first place??

    This really looks like a bug to me.

  5. @Jason: Does it actually slow you down? Does it say “Checking”? Preflight is supposed to be working and checking all the time, forever looping… but in the background, when you’re not doing something so it shouldn’t get in your way.

  6. Hi David. I wasn’t intentionally ignoring your reply. I guess I need to monitor my posts better :)

    The loop is definitely not normal behavior. As soon as it displays the number of errors, it goes right back to “checking” and grays out your errors (in the Preflight panel) so you can’t even investigate them, making it impossible to determine which items it’s trying to point. This renders the Preflight panel quite useless.

    I originally thought it had to do with files that were converted from CS3-CS4 without using the export in .inx process.

    However, it began cropping up in files which were created from scratch in CS4 as well.

    I’ve just isolated the incident today (after much head scratching and experimentation). It seems that placing graphics as native Adobe Illustrator files causes the preflight to loop (even with No Errors found). No problems so far with placed PSD, EPS, TIFF, PNG, JPG files. Only with .ai (native illustrator file). As soon as I remove all placed .ai files the looping stops. I wonder if this is a known issue?

  7. further testing seems to point to my particular problem being related to files linked from our network (something our network admin is now investigating). So it seems this is NOT a problem with InDesign’s Preflight itself after all.

  8. Anyway of making your custom profile the default? The basic is useless and I would like my profile to be the active profile whenever I open a file.

    Thanks all.

  9. Is there a location I can “store” my Preflight settings (I have different ones for different printers/projects). But lately, each time Indesign crashes and I restart, they are gone and I have to re-import them. I’ve placed them in Preferences and the actual Application folder (that’s where I stored them so at least when I relink them they are there). But it would seem to me there would be a place to have them so I don’t have to do this each time. I have CS6.

  10. Hi Guys!… Is it possible to have the indesign preflight block my exporting if it’s still in error? I have a habit of exporting single page pdfs instead of 2 pages which causes an error on my end. I was hoping if indesign preflight can help me check the file, if I am exporting the correct number of pages. Or just a warning that will prompt me if I am attempting to export a single page pdf. Thanks in advance!!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *