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How to properly prepare your files for printing

If you are or a coworker are tasked with creating documents, flyers, presentations, poster or more for print, you probably will fall back to using your most favorite program or application. Today, everyone has a PC (or Mac), laptop or tablet capable of producing PDF files. And if you can create a PDF file, you are part way to creating a proper (and predictable) print ready file. You may be a Microsoft Word pro, or a Publisher guru, it is always a good idea to check with your printer before you finalized your project. Years ago only professional graphic designers used programs like Adobe Indesign, but today you can rent professional software on a month-to-month basis.

Regardless of whatever software you use, make sure you can export your final creation to a PDF (Portable Document Format, first created by Adobe). PDF files are portable and contain all the fonts, graphics and image files all in one single file. Most people are unaware that some programs (think PowerPoint) do not imbed your imported graphs, charts and picture, but link to them where they may reside on your hard drive. So when you take the PowerPoint file to get printed, often times it will not print as it printed at your home or office. Exporting to a PDF file helps contain all the elements of your project and helps the printer produce a printed page that more closely resembles your home or office print outs.

If you are new to print, you probably aren’t aware of what the word “bleed” means as it relates to printing. Simply put, if your flyer or printed piece has a white border around the page before the edge, your page does not “bleed”. But, if you want the image, picture or graphic to go all the way to the edge of the paper with no white border, then your piece “bleeds” off the edge of the sheet.

As you may be aware, almost all copiers, laser printers and digital presses can’t print to the full edge of the sheet. A white border is always left to accommodate the printing process. So us printers will print your flyers or posters on paper that is larger than the final cut size, allowing the image to print past the cutting edges so when we cut to the final size, your image “bleeds” off the page just as you designed. In a nut shell, if you want a final cut size of say 8.5” x 11” letter size with a bleed on all sides, you need to design your file to be about 1/8” larger than the final cut or trim size.

Are you dazed and confused? Not to worry, give us a call at 602-263-0122, when would be more than happy to chat with you about the do’s and don’t of creating your PDF file.

AlphaGraphics Camelback

Posted by AlphaGraphics Camelback