A client sent me an InDesign file, complaining that the placed Illustrator EPS file within would not display at High Quality Display. He assured me that the file was up to date.
My first move, of course, was to resave the Illustrator file as a native AI file. Hmmmm…no luck.
Both the InDesign file and the Illustrator file are large—72 x 48 inches. The Illustrator file is not complex—no effects, no symbols, no patterns. At Fit Page in Window, InDesign is displaying the page at 14% magnification. Even when High Quality Display is invoked, the Illustrator file looks ratty. However, once I zoom in to 50%, all is well.
At first, I thought this was just InDesign thinking, “why bother to render detail when you’re zoomed out so far?” But I made another discovery.
A smaller Illustrator file (smaller in terms of dimensions) displays fine at any magnification. Here’s a comparison:
The top file is 18 inches wide, 1.2MB, placed at 100% in a 20×20 InDesign file. The bottom file is 2.5 inches wide, 1.1MB, placed at 800%. So it’s not a matter of file size; it’s a matter of dimensions, apparently.
Output is fine—only the display in InDesign is questionable, and only when you’re zoomed out (the particular zoom level varies according to the dimensions of the InDesign file). Zoom in sufficiently, and you’ll see the real story. And if you’re still in doubt, make a PDF. If the PDF looks good, that’s all that counts.