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Grayscale output for PDF

Update:11-30Source: network consolidation
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Goal: Grayscale PDF file from Illustrator CS3, suitable for imagesetting at newspapers, magazines, and other publications.
Solution: Print Illustrator file to AdobePDF 8.0 PS file, then use Distiller to make a press quality PDF file. (PDF/X-1a requires CMYK separation, even if CMY are blank.) Effects such as "outer glow" or "drop shadow" must first be rasterized in grayscale.
Question: Anyone know a simpler (faster and less error-prone) way to generate a black-only PDF file for imagesetting? (In particular, one that doesn't require picking a printer resolution and screen frequency, which may not be known?)

The Best Answer

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Here's a tip from Anne-Marie Concepción that appeared in InDesign Magazine (#15), which tells how Convert Colors in Acrobat Pro is a better solution (though far from ideal):
Create a Grayscale PDF
To make a grayscale PDF out of your color InDesign layout, you could follow the steps in the tip Print a Grayscale Version but specify the virtual Adobe PDF 7.0 (or 8.0) printer as your output device instead of your actual printer. However, its faster to export a color PDF using any of the usual PDF Presets and then convert the file to a grayscale PDF in Acrobat Pro itself. Unlike InDesign, Acrobat has no problem converting color .eps files or spot colors to grayscale.
To convert a color PDF to grayscale in Acrobat Pro 7, choose Tools > Print Production > Convert Colors, and set all the Document Colors listed in the top section to Convert via the Action dropdown menu directly below. Then choose one of the Gray Gamma presets at the bottom of the Destination Space dropdown menu, set any other options youd like (pages, conversion options), and click the OK button to convert the PDF. To verify that everything is grayscale, open the Output Preview dialog box (Tools > Print Production) and check that nothing is on the CMY plates, just the K plate.
Her example also shows that "Don't Embed Profile" and "Preserve Black Objects" are enabled.
Another way to test the result is to use Advanced > Print Production > Preflight > PDF Analysis > "Document generates more than one plate".
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