Do you have to prepare documents for printing? If so, here are some tips/hints so that you don’t get your files back from your printer. Over the years I have been amazed at individuals that have graduated from graphic school but they don’t know how to save the files to be printed correctly. If you want a good quality printed product preparing your document properly is one of the most important aspects of the printing process. Everyone, including the printer, wants you to have a good quality printed piece.

Below is a chart to show you how to save your files to be submitted to the printer.

Photoshop – TIF, PSD, CMYK colors.

Set all fonts to outlines and be sure your job is saved as CMYK. RGB colors are not for printing. Flatten your file before saving.

InDesign – EPS, AI, .pdf set all fonts to outlines and embed all links.

Corel Draw – CDR, EPS, AI, or .pdf set all fonts to curves.

Illustrator – EPS, AI, or .pdf set all fonts to outlines and Embed all Links.

NOTE: Save your files with outlines under a new file name. You can’t undo and edit should you need to if you save your original file with outlines.


Photoshop: Color mode must be either CMYK or Pantone depending on what you are having printed – do not use RGB. (CMYK mode uses ink colors cyan, magenta, yellow and black to mix colors). If you are having your file printed digitally convert Pantone and other non-CMYK spot colors to CMYK prior to submitting files to be printed.

Microsoft Publisher or Word – If you use Publisher or Word save your files as PDF. They sometimes lose their formatting if you submit them as a Publisher or Word file. Make sure your colors are not RGB.

InDesign – convert all fonts to outlines/curves/paths. You must convert fonts to outlines before creating an .eps, .ai. Or .pdf file. Be sure and save your file with fonts converted to outlines with a new file name.

CorelDRAW – Save as .cdr or export to .eps, .ai or publish to .pdf export all text as curves.

Illustrator – convert all fonts to outlines/curves/paths. You must convert fonts to outlines before creating an .eps, .ai. or .pdf file. Be sure and save your file with fonts converted to outlines with a new file name.

Again make sure you save as PMS colors for spot color printing or CMYK for digital printing.

Quark, InDesign, Illustrator, and CorelDRAW, can be set to convert everything to CMYK during creation of the PDF. Be sure and watch your dpi and make sure it is a minimum of 300.

Bleed: If your job has a “bleed” (where your graphics print to the edge of the page), when you create the PDF specify the bleed with.125″ minimum. A bleed makes sure nothing important gets cut off and you do not have a thin white line around the edges. If you have a white background a bleed is not required.

Document Size: When you select the size of your document, allow at least a minimum of 1/8″ of your background art/graphics around edges for “bleeding” if your document has art that goes to the edge of the page; or all around the area that bleeds off the page. This ensures that your entire art and text will be visible once your document is cut to size and you will not have a thin white line anywhere. DO NOT put any text within 1/8″ of your document edge.

Spot Colors: Spot colors are used many times in printing and can be used in .cdr, .eps, .ai., or .PDFs. They are usually used for 2 or 3 color jobs or jobs not printing digitally. If you require very precise coloring according to swatches in a PMS (Pantone Matching System) book you probably want spot colors. PMS colors should not be used in CMYK jobs, converting to CMYK by the output program is not always completely accurate for all PMS colors. Your spot-color PDF should be created in a CMYK mode whether or not any of the CMYK colors are used if you will be using for both digital or spot color printing. Many people think they can choose colors by looking at a PMS color on their monitor or phone but that is not the case. Monitors and phones vary and you might be very disappointed if you choose colors this way. Always use a PMS book to make an accurate color choice.

NOTE: Photoshop files, .JPEG, some tiffs and bitmap files are not acceptable formats for printing. Resolution must be 300 dpi minimum; save to 100% of the printing size. Make sure your final file has either CMYK or PMS colors depending on which printing method you are wanting. RGB colors are for web use – not printing. Always check with your printer to see which format he prefers you to save your files in.

Here is a good YouTube video I found – To create a proper.PDF file check out this YouTube video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2_X-1rsjDA, it provides several useful tips.

Source by Phyllis A Strobel