Salt Lake Mailing & Printing Blog

How to Get Your Project Ready to Print

Magnifier over test print papersYou have you project all complete and ready to send to the printer.  But how do you know it will turn out as you would like?  Will the fonts be the same?  Will the colors on the images match?  Will the images be blurry?  These are all common concerns for first-time print jobs.  One way to ensure that everything will be as you would like it is to make sure it is “print ready” and in the correct format.  It doesn’t do any good to send a file to the printer if the printer cannot open the file to print it because it’s in the wrong format!

One of the most common and standard formats is a PDF, or Portable Document Format.  This is a basic format that any printer should be able to use.  The way to convert your file to a PDF all depends on the program you are using.  Most programs, like Microsoft Word, have a simple converter built right in.  If you are using Word 2010, simply go to File > Save As >  Save As Type, then from the drop down list, choose PDF, then Publish.  For your particular program, you can easily do a google search for instructions if needed.  Be careful with free online converters.  If you have a complex file, it may not convert correctly.  It’s usually best to use converters built right into the program or that are approved by the manufacturer.

You also need to make sure all fonts are embedded.  Basically this means if you are using a particular font and you send the file to someone else and they don’t have your font, your document will open in a default font.  This may not be a big deal, or it may mess up all the spacing and layout of the entire file.  Embedding fonts ensures the actual font stays with the document, not just the text.  Again, you can do a google search for your particular program if needed, but if you are using Word 2010, go to File > Options > Save.  Click “Embed fonts in the file.”

However, just because your project is in PDF, doesn’t mean it will turn out just right.  Your file also needs to be Print Ready.  This basically means all the publisher needs to do is print.  Some items to consider may include:

  • Convert all RGB images to CMYK or PMS colors.  RGB colors are what is used on computers and electronic format.  It only used Red Green and Blue.  On paper, the standard is Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black.  PMS or Pantone colors are also acceptable.

  • All images are 300 dpi or higher.  This will make sure that the images are not blurry when printed

  • Include trim, crop, center marks, and page numbers

  • Ensure paper size is correct

  • Is there adequate room for “bleed” ( Bleed is a printing term that refers to printing that goes beyond the edge of the sheet after trimming)

If you have any other questions or are unsure if your document is print ready, be sure to get the correct answers before it gets printed.  It’s much easier to make changes while in the electronic format. Once it’s on paper, the only way to change it is to reprint it, and that can be costly.

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