Another commonly asked question often answered by the ETMG Production Team.
Q: Is a PDF an acceptable source file?
A: No, not for editing text or altering graphics.
Portable Document Format (PDF) is a file format used to represent documents independently of application software. Each PDF file encapsulates a complete description of a fixed-layout document, including the text, fonts, graphics, and other information needed to display it.
PDFs are most commonly used for viewing purposes only – obtaining approvals for instance. PDFs may be low resolution unless they have specifically been set up as a high resolution print-ready PDF. But neither hi-res nor low-res PDFs are truly editable. While you can move or delete pages, or extract text and vector images (if the PDF is unlocked and the graphics were placed from their EPS vector source) with Adobe Acrobat, you still won’t be able to edit the PDF page layout itself.
When your designer or printer refers to source files, they mean the source files from which the document was created – all the files needed that would allow for editing the text and/or graphics. Typically this is a zipped file which contains the native file format – most commonly Adobe InDesign – plus all of the supporting images and links such as logos in Adobe Illustrator, images in an hi-res file format like .eps or .jpg and the set of fonts used in the document. In order to truly edit source files the user must have Adobe Creative Suite.