PDFs for Lightning Source

The Problem: For printing the book’s inside pages for Lightning Source or Ingram Spark, you need a specific flavor of PDF file: PDF/X-1a (SWOP).

Unfortunately, there is no software — that I know about — that can make this kind of file, except Adobe Acrobat Pro DC.

Here is how to make these kinds of files using Adobe Acrobat Pro DC.

  1. Open the file with Adobe Acrobat.
  2. Click the Tools tab.
  3. Under “Projects and Standardize” click PDF Standards.
  4. If the Reading Untagged Documents window pops up, simply click “Cancel”.
  5. Click “Preflight” — which is in the column on the right side of the screen.
  6. Click the down-arrow on PDF/X … and then
  7. Choose “Convert to PDF/X-1a (SWOP)”
  8. Click the button on the bottom right of the popup window, the button that says “Analyze and Fix”
  9. A box appears asking you where to save this file. Before saving, rename with a suffix that reminds you, such as -pdfx1aswop.
  10. Now choose the location where your file will be saved — then click the SAVE button.
  11. Check the Preflight window, to see if you have — in bold letters — the message: No problems found.
  12. If you have this message — Bravo! you have made the file flavor that you need.
  13. You may now click the “Create Report” button if you need geeky details.
  14. Proofread your new PDF carefully, to make sure that nothing was changed during the PDF creation process. For example, make sure that the last line of one page has not wandered to the first lines of the next page.