The only printing file format that we accept for printing is PDF files. The PDF file should have graphics and fonts embedded and printing bleeds should be included in the file.
This printing file format ensures that your files are printed exactly the way you want them printed. The problem with sending us the native design files, such as Microsoft Word, is that text and graphics in the file can shift depending on which computer the file is opened on. With a PDF file, the text and graphics become almost like a photograph and will not shift, no matter which computer the file is opened with.
With a PDF file, you only need to send us one file. With other printing file formats, you will typically also have to include all fonts and graphics.
If you use a Macintosh computer, you can save your file as a PDF file from within the print dialog box of almost all programs. More advanced layout programs will have options for exporting your file as a PDF file. If you use a PC computer, it may be more difficult to export your file as a PDF file. There are several free programs that will create PDF files on a PC. One can be found at:
After your PDF file is created and before you submit your printing file format for printing, be sure to go through the PDF file page by page. This will help you catch any errors or items that have shifted on the pages. While you can submit corrected files to us before we start printing your printing project, it is typically easier to start with the correct file. We often find that printing the PDF out on a laser printer and reviewing this hard copy will highlight errors that you did not notice on a computer screen.
High-resolution PDF files with fonts embedded is the best option for printing files. With this file type, fonts and graphics are embedded so that the file is similar to a photograph. There is no problem with us not having the proper fonts (as long as the fonts are embedded in the PDF) or that graphic elements or fonts will shift on the page. This is often a problem when native files are opened on different computers.
When creating PDF files, make sure that you create a high-resolution file (300 dpi) with fonts embedded. Also, don’t forget to include bleeds and crop marks on the PDF file and to set the color formatting to CMYK.
Creating PDF Files: Mac vs. PC
If you use a Macintosh computer, almost all programs have PDF creation abilities built into them. Creating PDF files is generally very easy with Mac computers.
Creating PDF files is often more difficult on PCs. However, there are several free programs that will allow you to convert a file to a PDF file. One option can be found at:
After creating PDF files, it is important to go through the PDF page by page, verifying that all pages have converted as you expected them to. This is an extremely important step, since sometimes your pages can repaginate or graphics do not display as expected. To prevent errors in the printing process, please review your files carefully before sending them to us. We will also send a PDF proof to you, so you can view the pages one more time before printing. But it is typically better to verify your file before sending it to us.
If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at 1-800-338-4329, email us at [email protected], or chat online (our chat feature appears in the bottom right corner of every web page).
RGB (red, green, and blue) refers to the primary colors of light. This is the standard format used for digital cameras, scanners, computer monitors, and television screens. CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) refers to the primary colors used in printing. The terms four-color process printing or full-color printing refer to these four colors. Printing presses cannot reproduce RGB colors, so it is best to convert to CMYK before saving printing files. For more information on this subject, see our blog post, “CMYK vs RGB: What Does This Mumbo Jumbo Mean?”
Before submitting your files for printing, graphics and colors should be converted to CMYK color. Often, photos are in RGB color and will need to be converted. Many people also design using Pantone colors, which should be converted to CMYK color. If you do not convert to CMYK color, there may be some color shifts when we convert the files before printing. These color shifts are more noticeable in background colors and less noticeable with photographs.
We do not match Pantone or PMS colors. Our prices are low because we use digital presses based on a pleasing color standard. A pleasing color standard means that the average person looking at the photo will find the photo pleasing — the sky is blue, leaves on trees green, a person’s face a normal skin tone. They will not notice anything out of the ordinary.
When working with colors, please be aware of two issues:
Blues — Often, a color that looks blue on your computer screen will have a purple tint when printed. To deal with this potential issue, set up the cyan and magenta values so that there is at least a 30% difference.
Black — If your document contains large areas of black, please consider using a rich black (if your document is being printed in full color). Using 100% black for large areas tends to result in a muddy gray color when printed. Rich black contains values for cyan, magenta, yellow, and black, so it is really a full color process. Our recommendations for values to use in rich black are:
Cyan 60, Magenta 40, Yellow 40, Black 100
Also, make sure that the black used in graphics and background colors use the same values. This is especially important when placing a photo with black around it on top of a solid black background. You may not see any difference on your computer, but often the blacks will look different when printed, unless the same values are used.
If you need to make changes to your printing file before you approve your proof, no problem! You can either email your files to your client service rep or send it through the www.wetransfer.com website. It is a free service that is easy to use.
Your client service rep should contact you within one business day regarding your new files. If you do not hear from them within that time period, please feel free to call 1-800-338-4329 or email [email protected].