PDF Export and Background Tasks in InDesign CS5

For those of you using InDesign CS5, you may have noticed something happened to the pdf export. There's no longer a status bar/dialog box. Exporting a pdf now happens invisibly as a background task, allowing you to continue to work on your document (which seems completely illogical to me).

People either seem to really like it or really dislike it. I'm in the dislike camp on this one. So if you also find it frustrating to not know when your pdf is done and you can close the file, there is a solution! Here are two places to watch the status of background tasks:

The first place is the minuscule vertical Background Tasks indicator bar that appears in the Application bar. It's below and to the right of the word "Type" in the following screenshot. It appears and moves only when a background task is active — it disappears when that background task is complete.


The second place is the Background Tasks panel. Turn it on by choosing Window > Utilities > Background Tasks. Now you will be able to see what percentage of the pdf export is complete.


Note: The one upside I've noticed about background task pdf export is that you can have multiple pdf exports happening at once. Sometimes I need to provide a spreads layout pdf and single page layout pdf, which I can now do one right after the other, with the pdf processing happening simultaneously.

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