I'm working on some code to (amongst other tasks) help export an indesign document to a PDF suitable for CreateSpace submission. I've been looking around for the answers to my questions online, but find conflicting answers everywhere so thought I'd ask here for some experienced answers rather than trial and error from the CreateSpace submission process!

Although I'm working on JSX code and InDesign automation, my questions relate to normal operation of InDesign exporting.

  • When exporting, what is the preset I should be using for PDF/X exporting?

  • Should I be optimising the PDF to reduce filesize even if the size is relatively small? CreateSpace seem to flat out suggest that it the PDF should be optimised at all times

  • Should I avoid using semitransparent boxes over images as transparency doesn't appear to be valid?

  • And pray tell, why the downvote? Commented May 7, 2016 at 13:25

1 Answer 1


Exporting to PDF/X-1a is usually safe. X1-a will also flatten transparency. So you can use transparency in your design and it'll be correctly converted to a flat image in your output PDF for print purposes. X1-a will also remove interactive elements (e.g. scripts) in the PDF that aren't necessary for print.

I would not optimise for file size, since (unless you're very careful) that can affect font subsetting and downsample your images too much for good print output.

Here is some detail from a Createspace prepress staffer.

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