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File Preparation

Want to create your own files?

Our prices and times are based on you providing error-free, print-ready files. Correcting file errors may cost extra money and time. Take a few minutes to check your files using this handy guide.

Bleeds, Trim Marks & Safety Zone
These are the three main elements to know when setting up a document for printing. Please get familiar with these three important elements.

Booklets, Accepted File Formats, Image Resolution, Fonts & Transparency
These are the remaining items you should understand to create your own files.

BLEEDS: One important printing term to know is bleeds. Bleeds refers to an extra 1/8" (.125) of image that extends beyond the trim area of your printed piece to the bleed line. The file is printed on an oversized sheet that is cut down using trim marks to give the appearance that the image goes off the edge of the sheet.

TRIM MARKS: Trim marks indicates where to trim the printed sheet or where the edge of the paper is to ensure that the edges of the printed document are printed correctly. The trim marks are the final document size.

SAFETY LINE: The safety line or inner margin is the area in which to keep all important elements (text, logo, and/or content) within to prevent them from getting trimmed off. All important elements should be at least 1/8" (.125) inside the edge of the document. Most designs have a larger margin but you should at least stay within safety line.

BOOKLETS: For booklets we would like one pdf containing all the pages. We prefer that any booklet files be sent as single pages, not spreads. Also, please don’t use facing pages, the bleed areas can end up on the wrong pages. Saddle stitched booklets must be in 4 page increments.

Example for an 8 page booklet:
Page 1 is the front cover. The inside front cover is page 2, if this page has no printing add a blank page. The last page is the back Cover, Page 8.

ACCEPTED FILES: We highly recommend trying to provide a pdf file. It’s what we will need to print your order. So if you send another file type, we will ultimately create a pdf to send to our equipment anyway.

You may also send us these file types:
Illustrator (.ai or .eps)
InDesign (.indd)
Photoshop (.psd)
Microsoft Word (.doc)
Remember if you have graphic links you will have to send all of those along with your file. Fonts will need to be outlined unless you send those as well. This is another reason making a pdf is just easier.

IMAGE RESOLUTION: File and/or image resolution should be a minimum of 300 dpi to ensure that the final document is not pixelated (fuzzy) when printed.

If you take images from the internet they need to be a minimum of 300 dpi at the size you are going to print them. Also, be careful there are lots of images that are not copyright free. An image that is not high resolution cannot be fixed by changing the size or making a different file type. For example, you cannot place a gif file in Photoshop and save it as an .eps file. This does not change the quality of the image. If you have to use the low resolution image we will print after you consent to the lower quality.

FONTS & TRANSPARENCY: We recommend that all transparencies be flattened and that you create outline on your fonts prior to file creation. 

DOUBLE CHECK: After you have created the pdf file that you are planning on ordering with, please open it and look it over.  You could be missing images or a font you use can sometimes have errors.

If you are having trouble with any of the items in this checklist there is more information on the internet.  YouTube may even have a video to your specific software and will explain how to make the file the correct way.  There are many free programs online but beware we may not be able to print your creation from these programs, so please call us and tell us what software program you intend to use before proceeding.