Leading the way in scholastic journalism & media education since 1924

Preparing design entries

Before starting here…

If you haven’t already, please take time to familiarize yourself with the overall competition process, outlined on Submitting online entries.

Preparing your layouts for submission

Layout submissions generally start in InDesign, or other publishing software, and are exported to a PDF for submission.

Design entries must be in PDF format, and can be no larger than 4MB in file size.

Some design entries, especially yearbook, news, and literary magazine layouts must be saved as spreads.  Check the contest rules.

These instructions are more specific to Adobe InDesign, but other publishing programs have similar features that can be used to produce similar results. If a layout exported to PDF from another program is too large and cannot be exported to a size any smaller, it can be further reduced in Adobe Acrobat. (See “Exporting from other programs” below.)

How to make a Write-offs compliant PDF from InDesign

To begin the PDF export in InDesign, from the main menu, choose [File], [Export].

export-layout-to-pdf-01-600x488px

In the file save dialog, enter a file name and choose the PDF file format for the export.

export-layout-to-pdf-02-600x494px

In the export dialog, choose the “High Quality Print” preset. This produces a medium-range quality PDF which will be suitable in most cases.

export-layout-to-pdf-03-600x507px

Check the file size of the exported PDF to be sure it meets the 4MB file size limit.

What if the file size is too big?

In the case of a layout with many elements, numerous high resolution images, or numerous pages, the exported file size may still be too big. In these cases, there are a couple of ways to produce a smaller PDF file.

1)  Switch to the “Smallest File Size” preset when exporting to a PDF in InDesign and try the export again.

2) Open the exported PDF in Acrobat, and re-save it as a “reduced PDF”.  This will produce a better result than option 1), but either option will be acceptable in terms of judging considerations.  The instructions for that are in then next section on exporting to PDF from other publishing programs.

Exporting from other publishing programs

If you created your spread in a program other than InDesign, you can still reduce the file size significantly by using Adobe Acrobat Pro. Look for a feature such as “Reduce File Size.” In Acrobat Pro XI, this is done by [File], [Save As Other…], [Reduced Size PDF].

export-layout-to-pdf-04-600x430px

Follow the remaining prompts with the default settings (other than the file name and location).

Check the file size of the exported PDF to be sure it meets the 4MB file size limit.

Upload your entry

Once the entry has been completed, proceed to Step 5: Uploading entries

Password Reset
Please enter your email address and press [Return] or [Enter]. You will receive a new password via e-mail.

If you don't receive it within a few minutes, please call (785-532-5532) or email us (staff@jea.org), and we'll be happy to assist you.