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Collecting & Submitting Your Files for Printing

The last step in preparing your files for printing is to collect all of the necessary parts in one place. Here you find basic information about file collection and links to detailed application specific instructions. Please visit our Application Tips section below for links to your graphics program. There you will find detailed information regarding file collection procedures for each program.

Collecting Your Job for Printing

The two major page layout applications QuarkXPress and Adobe InDesign (and some minor ones as well) provide excellent tools to help you to package your job for professional printing. These tools work by collecting copies the document and of all placed images and fonts (subject to certain licensing restrictions) all together in one place. Please see the Application Tips below for links to your graphics program and to specific instructions for collecting your job for printing.

However, not all programs can automatically collect your files for you, but nearly all programs can provide you with a list of linked pictures and fonts. It is a good idea to always know exactly which picture and font files are associated with your job and where these are located on your computer or network. You may need to manually collect these prior to uploading.

When you have collected your files and fonts you may then compress them into an archive by using software such as WinZip (Windows) or Stuffit (Macintosh). This archive file can then be transferred via the web using our file upload procedure. You may also burn these collected files to a CD or DVD.

Special Note: To prevent any loss of resource fork data that would render your fonts useless, Macintosh users should always compress their files on a Macintosh.

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Compressing Your Files for Upload

When you have collected your files and fonts you may then compress them into an archive by using software such as WinZip (Windows) or using the Create Archive (Mac OS X) function or Stuffit (Macintosh). This archive file can then be transferred via the web using our file upload procedure. You may also burn these collected files to a CD or DVD.

Special Note: To prevent any loss of resource fork data that would render your fonts useless, Macintosh users should always compress their files on a Macintosh.

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Submitting Your Job Using PDF or PDF/X-1a

Another great way to submit your files is by using PDF. You can use either our customized job options or the PDF/X1a format. Either one will work just fine. However, all transparency is flattened in the PDF/X-1a:2001 format and in some rare cases this may give unnacceptable results when the file is processed.

We prefer that you use our customized job options settings. Using our settings will also ensure that your PDF is optimized for high resolution commercial printing and will retain any transparency that is used in the design. It may be a bit larger than the PDF/X-1a PDF because it uses the Zip image compression and not use the lossy JPEG compression.

Alternatively, you may use the PDF format known as PDF/X-1a (or PDF/X-1a:2001) is a version created specifically for exchanging graphics files for printing. If you have Adobe Acrobat (either the Standard or Professional versions) then you already have the capability of distilling PDF and PDF/X-1a files.

You can download and install  our customized Distiller PDF settings or the PDF/X-1a:2001 job option settings. Either will take only a few seconds to install. For detailed information on how to install these files please see Installing Job Options.

Many applications also have the capability to output PDF files but not all PDF files are created equal. The settings which determine how the PDF is created may need to be adjusted for best results. This is a simple matter and you probably already have a setting for PDF/X-1a in your system, you may only need to select it and you are ready to create press-ready PDFs. Please refer to our special section devoted to submitting your job using PDF for more detailed information on creating PDFs and PDF/X-1a files.

Special Note: Not all font companies will allow their fonts to be embedded within documents (subject to certain licensing restrictions). If you are using any of these fonts it is imperative that you either provide working copies of all fonts used in the job when you send your file.

To prevent any loss of resource fork data that would render your fonts useless, Macintosh users should always compress their files on a Macintosh. We recommend you use Stuffit to compress your Macintosh files.

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Application Tips

For more information on collecting files for output, creating PDF files, and for other helpful tips on using these applications, please follow the links below.

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