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Help please: merging layers InDesign

Hi everyone, I could really do with some advice. I have had a print file rejected 3 times from an online printer (United Print), who I usually have no trouble with, for having 'too many layers'. Whilst there are lots of elements on the pages, each page usually has one layer (there is one master layer for page numbering, but if I merge that, I lose it on all the other pages).
It's a big, complex document, but I have saved down as their specified pdf (3) and optimised the file in Acrobat, and it's still being rejected. I just don't know what to do next!
One thing I'm wondering is, could this be to do with the fact that I've just downloaded the 2017 version of InDesign - I'm getting all sorts of little issues with it and my computer in general since I updated... anyone else having any problems?
thanks in advance :)
Hallo BeckyJane,
you have to click on the object(s) to select them, then you need go to your layers and grab the colored square and push it to the lowest layer. When you have pushed all objects to the lowest layer you can delete the other layers. You have to merge the layers manually.
Not sure why it would matter how many layers you are using in indesign. There is a setting to 'create adobe layers' when you export, if this isn't checked the layers are merged anyway.

If you do need to merge layers select everything a group it. This will put all elements on the top layer.


Staff member
I think they're talking about "layers" of overlapping elements.

Probably looking for a flattened file - I'd export it to a PDF 1.4 in Acrobat version 4 - which doesn't support transparency, and flattens the entire file.
Thank you all - yes, it's all been rather confusing - I think hankscorpio may be on the money from what the guy on the phone said. I will do as suggested and see if that remedies the situation. I'll let you know!
Hi again, so I've been looking for the pdf settings suggested by hankscorpio - they don't seem to exist already in my settings and I'm having trouble finding a downloadable version online - do you have any more advice, please?!
The closest preset I seem to have is the 'press quality' - compatible with Acrobat 5 (pdf 1.4).... but I guess that's not the right one?
If you use press quality there should be dropdowns to specify the spec of the pdf.

For 'standard' select PDFX1a and then from 'compatibility' select acrobat 4

This is what I use for print jobs as it flattens all transparency within the file. You'll need to add any crops or bleed required by the printer within these settings.
This didn't work :(
This is beyond frustrating: because it's a 'cheap' online printers, it's staff don't know how to help me. I may resort to copying each page into illustrator, rasterising it, then copying it back in to InDesign. This seems absolutely crazy!
It's a cheap online printer because they expect to receive print ready artwork and just push it through their system. I've used them for years 'as print24' and never had a problem.
If you can upload a link to the pdf I'll take a look or package the document if it's not too large

Without seeing the file it is hard to see what is going wrong.
Stationery Direct - yes, I realise this: but the quality and value of their output has been excellent to date, and I've never had this issue before.

four - That is very kind of you to offer. I'm wondering how I can see this myself in the file? - they told me on the phone that they use 'wireframe' view in acrobat, but mine doesn't appear to have that (I'm up to date with all my Adobe CC apps)... The file is around 100MB - which is too large to upload here.


Staff member
Any printers worth their salt take a supplied file and make it suitable for their presses. I would never in a million years go back to a customer with a file they supplied and say I cannot do it.

I just completed a 280 page holiday brochure supplied in single pages in RGB. It was fixed and passed on press by me and the customer received their brochures.

The option is there. At most the printers should be supplying you with a PDF preset file called .joboptions for you to use.
This whole experience with unitedprint has burnt my fingers somewhat....honestly, I have used them for years with no such trouble at all. I have another similar project and am not about to prepare that for print in the same way. I literally took each spread, rasterised it in illustrator and placed back in InDesign. A ludicrous way to work. It's finally got through their 'approval' process, but I don't know what the final output will be like.