How to Use Acrobat Distiller with QuarkXPress

Thu, Jan 26, 2012


QuarkXPress makes beautiful, clean PDFs directly from the File> Export menu. However, if your workflow requires that you use Acrobat Distiller to generate the PDFs, you can tell QuarkXPress to create a PostScript file instead. Here’s how:

1. Change Quark’s preferences (QuarkXPress> Preferences> PDF) to “Create PostScript File for Later Distilling“.

2. Optionally, enable the “Use Watched Folder” checkbox. This will send your PostScript files to a folder you’ve set up as a “hot” or “watched” folder in Distiller. Click the OK button.

3. Choose File> Export Layout as PDF

QuarkXPress will then create a PostScript file of your Layout and deposit it into whatever location you’ve told it to.

Here’s an additional tip for that Preferences dialog:

The “Default Layout” popup menu determines the naming convention Quark uses for your PDF. If you don’t like the default of “Project_Layout”, you can change it!

This post was written by:

- who has written 1638 posts on Planet Quark.

Jay Nelson is the editorial director of, and the editor and publisher of Design Tools Monthly. He’s also the author of the QuarkXPress 8 and QuarkXPress 7 training titles at, as well as the training videos Quark includes in the box with QuarkXPress 7 . In addition, Jay writes regularly for Macworld and Photoshop User magazines and speaks at industry events.

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12 Responses to “How to Use Acrobat Distiller with QuarkXPress”

  1. Christer Says:

    Hi Jay! I make PS-files the way you suggest and it works but the PS- files get very big. A Quark-dokument of 50 Mb results in a PS-file of 1,5 GB and when I run it in distiller the PDF-files is almost as big. When I print to post script printer i version 7 of Quark the PS file 300-500 Mb. So how do I solve this problem?

  2. Jay Nelson Says:

    Christer: everything depends on your settings in Distiller. The PostScript file should be big — it has to contain everything that could be needed to produce a PDF of any quality. But you can set Distiller to make a tiny PDF or a big one. It sounds like yours is set for a big one. :-)

  3. abdullah Says:

    Hai Jay Nelson
    i nee to your help
    how to do leading in manually quark press 8- before its working in quark6

    please help me
    thanks regards

  4. Jay Nelson Says:

    Abdullah: nothing has changed regarding leading… it’s still in the Measurements palette. Have a look at the “Paragraph” tab.

  5. Cindy Says:

    Hi Jay
    Can you no longer use the print dialog box to create a ps file? I have some quark files that have layers in for different language versions. My pdfs are no longer fitting correctly with the old pdfs that were made prior to my computer and software upgrade (Quark 7, Acrobat 9, OS 10.4 – old; Quark 9, Acrobat 10, OS Lion – new) Is there a solution without having to recreate existing pdfs to get these new pdfs to fit correctly?

  6. Jay Nelson Says:

    Hi Cindy. You can still generate a PostScript file from within the Print dialog box on Mac OS X. You need to click the “Printer…” button to access the Mac print dialog. There, you can click the “PDF” button/menu/thing and choose “Save As PostScript…”

    I’m not sure what to recommend about your PDF size problem. Are you talking about the dimensions of the PDF not being the same as before, or your text not fitting the same as before?

  7. Christer Says:

    Hi, again Jay! How should the settings be in distiller to produce small files? I use the settings for ”smallest file size” to be able to send them on mail, but the files get huge comparing to what they used to be in Quark 7 when printing to acrobat printer and postscript files. Now I have to save the distilled files to lower resolution. It’s not a big issue when I send the files to the printer in high resolution (I use ftp then) but files in this case are almost as big as when I use smallest file size. How come?

  8. Jay Nelson Says:

    Hi Christer! I’m honestly not sure why your files are turning out so big. If you’re using one of Distiller’s presets, it should give you file sizes you’re expecting…

    Is there any reason you’re not just using Quark’s built-in PDF export feature? It has presets for all the usual situations.

  9. Christer Says:

    Hi, Jay! Sorry, I have missed your answer until today. Another question about pdf: When exporting to pdf in InDesign I can see all my job options but in Quark I can only see the standard options. How do I get Quark to find them?

  10. Gary Says:

    Hi Jay. I am using trying to use the exporter, but either Quark of Acrobat don’t like my page parameters. (3,4,7,8,11,12,15,16,19,20,23,24,25,22,21,18,17,14,13,10,9,6,5,2)
    Why should this cause a problem it didn’t use to, and how can I fix it?

  11. Gary Says:

    I’m sorry, to be precise the error message is “This page range is invalid. [146]”

  12. Stella Says:

    That’s fine. But I am given options in the pdf style. Which one is best to use? Press optimized? PDFX? I don’t know.

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