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Avoiding Common File Preparation Problems

Here is how to avoid the most common problems we see in Prepress.

Use the Best Design Tools

Some design applications do a lot better job preparing files for print. They were created for the purpose. Other software applications...require more attention. Meaning, your project may be delayed.

So let's name names:

  • The Best
    Quark XPress 6+
    Adobe InDesign CS+
    Adobe Illustrator CS+
    Adobe Freehand 10, MX
    Adobe Photoshop CS+

  • The Worst
    Microsoft Office
    Microsoft Publisher
    Corel Ventur

Include your Fonts. All of them.

By far the most common cause of delays in prepress is missing fonts. Please provide ALL your fonts when you submit a file to us, even the popular ones.

Here are some common "gotchas":

  • Forgetting to provide fonts referenced by EPS files placed in your file.
  • Creating a PDF without the "Embed All Fonts" option.

One great way to know for sure that all fonts are included is to provide print-ready PDFs to us, instead of native files. See "Embrace the Power of PDF" below for more details.

Design your Graphics for Paper.

What looks great on the screen won't always look great on paper.

For great-looking printed product, make sure that:

  • All your graphics—as sized in the layout—are between 300 and 600ppi.
  • None of your graphics are RGB.

Using graphics from the web is tempting but rarely yields a good printed result. While you may have some luck "adding" resolution with Photoshop, they will never look as good as high-resolution images.

By converting any RGB images to CMYK before submitting them to us, you can view and adjust the CMYK color values yourself. This avoids delays and possible disappointment at proof time.

Embrace the Power of PDF.

Adobe Acrobat has become a sophisticated product, with new capabilities to accurately predict whether a file is "print-ready" or not.

Acrobat 7 Professional allows you to preflight your file against a "preflight profile", designed to identify problems. Fine Line provides a custom profile that you can use to evaluate your file before sending it to us. It automatically identifies a number of common problems, including many of the ones listed above.

In addition, providing print-ready PDFs obviates the need to send any font and image resources to us. You need only send the PDF itself. Of course, you need to follow some guidelines for this to work. Please read the links below for assistance.