Every now and again the life of a designer leads to pulling an all nighter, or at least a late nighter. Last night was one of those nights, as I finished up a layout for a client. Everything had been working just fine, in Adobe InDesign CS, and I had exported many PDF proofs along the way, but wouldn't you know it--just when I went to do the final export for my client (delivery was a PDF file) at 3:00 a.m. the darn thing failed. It gave me the cryptic message "failed to export the pdf file". Thanks Adobe.
So, being a good researcher, I type that into Google and come up with one hit, which is an Adobe developer support document that is strangely not about the error itself, but uses the error as an example of how to turn an error off. Hmmm. Well, it did mention that the error happens because of a full disk, so I made sure I was okay in that regard. 20% of my disk space free on my main drive--that's 20 gb--should be plenty, so that isn't the issue. Is it fonts? Nope. Is it a corrupt document? Nope. Is it corrupt InDesign? Re-install, nope. Is it my machine? Try on G5 in office--same error. Damn.
So, like any good troubleshooter I start tearing the file down bit by bit, and exporting each page individually to see where the problem is. Ah! I found it--turns out that I had some images stretching across two pages across the fold. Those images were grouped. I ungrouped them, and problem fixed. The file went out the door at 4:15 a.m.
So, the moral is this: if you are finding this posting via typing "failed to export the pdf file" into Google, and are working in InDesign, see if you have grouped images across a fold. If it happened to me, I'm sure it can happen to somebody else. I hope some designer, burning the midnight oil (mixed in with clumps of hair pulled out in frustration) and experiencing problems does type "failed to export the pdf file" into Google, and this does fix their problem. If so, leave me a comment and get that damn work out the door so that you can get paid!
Posted by: Martin McClellan
On the date of: February 10, 2005 02:09 PM