In order to produce a high quality printed product, it is important for customers using online print websites to understand what makes a file “print-ready.” By definition, “print-ready files are files that follow all our guidelines and require almost no intervention to print.” An Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) file is the preferred “print-ready” format. However, a pdf file can only be considered “print-ready” if certain guidelines are followed when preparing the file:
- Minimum resolution of 300 dpi.
- CMYK color space.
- All fonts outlined AND embedded.
- A minimum of 1/8″ (0.125″) bleed on all edges of the job.
- A 1/8″ (0.125″) safe area that has all critical design element such as text, pulled away from the trim.
- Specify the document trim area with crop marks, making sure not to place crop marks inside the work area.
When preparing a print-ready file using a graphics or page layout program such as the Adobe Creative Suite products (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, etc) or Quark XPress, the process involves using the Export command, found in the File menu. Our website provides step-by-step/screen-by-screen tutorials to assist customers through this procedure.
While most graphic professionals use the Adobe and Quark products, many “do-it-yourself-ers” rely on products such as Corel Draw or Microsoft Publisher. These programs can also produce print-ready files suitable for commercial printing, by using the “wizards” provided by the program. For guidance, visit the built-in “Help” menus of these programs, or the online information provided by the vendors:
- Microsoft Publisher: 10 tips for preparing your publication for commercial printing (see tip #10, and be sure to expand your page to fit the trim marks).
- Corel Draw: Publishing to PDF (see exporting a “PDF for Prepress”).
Following these guidelines, and CAREFULLY CHECKING THE RESULTING PDF before uploading will greatly reduce the possibility of error and accelerate your job through production.
Our goal is to help customers achieve the best printed results, with a worry-free and smooth workflow — without having to become desktop publishing experts.