Bleeds & Crops: Preparing Files for Print

Getting your file ready for print is as simple as 1-2-3. Check out the easy steps below to eliminate any surprises!

We want your printing to be exactly as you envision. Below are some handy “how to” print file prep tips that will help you get the result you’re after! Follow the tips below and you will get great print, each time, every time.

File format
To begin with, we require print ready PDF files created to prontoprint&copy specifications. Files provided in another format will require our operators to complete a manual change and may incur a nominal charge.

“BLEED” – only required for files where you would like the ink to go right to the edge your artwork will need to include “trim and bleed”:

Trim: Always include trim marks (trim area is the final size of your print job).
Internal Bleed (gutter or slug): We require 3mm (1/8″) of internal gutter on all files (5mm on all booklets) – that means you need to keep all your important information away from this far from the trim marks.
External Bleed: We require 3mm (1/8″) of external bleed on all files (5mm on all booklets) Your job is printed on a larger sheet than its finished size and then trimmed to size. External bleed is the area extending past your trim area and allows for a small amount of movement that may occur when your work is being cut to size.

For more information on why bleed is required, click for step by step instructions or view the short video below:

1/8″ = 3 mm
Creating your file
We require all files to be supplied as PDF files. If your job is single sided then you simply supply a one-page pdf. If your job has two pages i.e.: a front and a back then we need a two-page pdf file, the first page of your PDF will be the front page and the second the back page. If you have a job with multiple kinds then you simply supply one two-page PDF for each kind.

Please note that files supplied as: multiple files on a single page, a common back with multiple fronts or vice-versa, separate files, or EPS or JPEG files, will all have to be manually corrected by our operators. This may incur a nominal charge and may slow the turnaround time.

Idealy, create your design using Adobe InDesign.  If you only have standard office tools, you will need a PDF creator. If you would like to download a free PDF creator click HERE. Perfect for creating printable PDFs from problematic MS Word, PowerPoint and Excel files.

Naming your file
Clear and concise naming will ensure a smooth print process. So to begin with make your file name descriptive, but keep it short and sweet for example: Acme company are sending us their business card so they name the file ACME_BC.pdf. Please try to include only alphanumeric characters, avoid %, #, $, ! or other weirdness and limit the total length of the file name to a maximum of 16 characters.

Supply in CMYK mode
You will have more control over the final colours of your print job if you convert all of your images from RGB to CMYK before sending them to us.

Best resolution?
Resolution is the number of pixels within an image. The higher the resolution, the better the picture, however if you have too high a resolution it is not utilised and makes your files unnecessarily large. We suggest making your artwork at 300dpi when it’s at full size. This will avoid blurriness or pixelisation yet keep file size reasonable.

Ink coverage
The maximum recommended ink coverage is 300% for coated stocks and 260% for uncoated stocks. This means the colours that you use should contain less than a total of 300% (or 260%) when you add together cyan, magenta, yellow and black. Here’s a quick tip: If you are looking for a deep, rich black, the best combination is 100% K and 40% C – beautiful!

Always outline or embed your fonts
Outlining or embedding the fonts that you use in your files means we can print them even if we don’t have those particular fonts installed on our computers and they will look exactly the way you want them to. Remember you must have a license to embed certain fonts, please don’t send fonts on a disc with your print job – it is not legal.

To avoid banding when printing a gradient. All gradients should be created originally in Photoshop and saved as an .eps file and THEN placed into the working document (either inDesign or Illustrator). Tip: Create the gradient in PhotoShop, apply “Noise” (Filter > Noise > Add Noise), then to smooth the noise apply a Gaussian Blur (Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur….) and then Save As EPS.

Spot colours
prontoprint&copy printing is CMYK so please remember to remove unwanted spot colours or convert them to CMYK to get the best colour results.

We hope this section has proved useful in helping you prepare your files, however, if you are still needing more information or have a specific questions, then please feel free to email us directly with your questions!