Before you submit your files for printing we suggest that you take a few minutes to review your files and to check to make sure that they meet the requirements for high quality color printing. Your project will go much smoother and you will be happier with the final results.
Below you will also find links to detailed information for most graphic design applications for both Apple Macintosh and Windows users. There are specific instructions regarding proper procedures, file submission guidelines, as well as numerous tips to help you in creating your perfect print job. You may also download and print out a copy of our Digital File Checklist to help you prepare your files for upload.
- Basic File Submission Guidelines
- When Submitting Files You Should Always . . .
- When Submitting Files You Should Never . . .
- Compressing Your Files for Upload
- Links to Application Tips
As a general rule you should follow these basic guidelines when submitting any files for printing. These rules are the same no matter what application you are using or what computer platform that you use. We also go into these in greater detail, simply follow the links for an in-depth explanation.
- Make certain that your document size matches the trim size of your project.
- Plan ahead for your folds in your design. See our Standard Folding Styles and Downloadable File Templates pages for help with planning the fold measurements for your project.
- Allow 1/8" (.125") bleed for any pictures, graphics, text, or any other objects which either touch or "bleed" or run off of the edge of the page.
- Work only in CMYK not RGB color.
- Supply separate copies of all placed pictures and graphics files.
- For best results use only CMYK TIFF (LZW Compression = Off), EPS (Set DCS = Off), or Photoshop PSD image files.
- For best results all pictures should be approximately 300 PPI (pixels per inch) effective resolution as placed in your document. For more information please see our section on Image Resolution.
- Enable Snap to Guides in your applications and be very careful to ensure that all images are accurately placed. This may seem obvious, but remember to pay special attention to the centers between any facing pages.
- Resolve all ink color name conflicts and remove any unused or duplicate colors. When working with spot color it is important that care be taken when because color names must match exactly. If your job is to be four-color process only then make certain that your colors are defined as process in both your page layout program and in any placed EPS files.
- Supply separate copies of all fonts (subject to certain licensing restrictions) used in your document as well as any fonts that may be used in any placed graphics. Postscript, OpenType and TrueType fonts only may be used. Please see our pages devoted to collecting and managing your Windows PC or your Macintosh fonts.
Special Note: Macintosh users should always compress their files on a Macintosh to prevent any loss of resource fork information that would render your fonts useless. We recommend that you use the Stuffit file compression application.
- Do not provide your job in printer's spreads. Our imposition software takes care of this. It is a waste of your time and just slows down your project if we have to fix it.
- Never use four color Black for type.
- Do not use LZW or ZIP file compression when saving TIFF image files.*
- Try not to use Photoshop JPG or PDF image files. We do not recommend saving your files in the JPEG file format because this is what is called a "lossy" format. That is just a fancy way of saying that image data is discarded to reduce file size. This results in the inevitable degradation of the quality of your images.
* Note: This applies only to images and not to ZIP file archives.
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.
For more information on preparing files for output and for other helpful tips on using these applications, please follow the links below.
- Adobe InDesign
- Adobe Illustrator
- Adobe Photoshop
- Adobe PageMaker
- Corel PhotoPaint
- Macromedia Freehand
- Microsoft Publisher
- Microsoft Word
You may want to visit this next page before sending your files.