Preparing Your Files for Print
Follow this file prep checklist of artwork specifications to ensure your files are print-ready.
Our customer service representatives are always available to help you sort out the important details and produce the best quality for your job. Don't hesitate to ask questions as we are here to cater to your print, copy, or mail service needs.
By the way, if you need assistance with design or file setup (or if this information seems too technical), give our graphic designer a call.
- Submitting Print-Ready Files
- If you are sending multiple files, please include a PDF or printed mock-up so that we may compare it to our proofs.
- You may email files that are smaller than 10 MB to your customer service representative.
- You may share file(s) (especially those 10 MB or larger) via your UT Box account with your customer service representative.
- Once you provide us with your file, our team will look it over to confirm it is acceptable for printing.
- Supported File Types/Formats
- We accept files from either PC or Macintosh.
- Popular software: Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator.
Preferred File Types (see notes about Image resolution below):
- .PDF (Most files) Press Option preferred.
- .EPS (Line art such as logos and icons)
- .JPG (Photos/images)
- .TIFF (High-resolution photo images)
- .PSD (Native Adobe Photoshop file)
- .AI (Native Adobe Illustrator file)
- .EPS (Photo images)
- Packaged Adobe InDesign files - See our video: Packaging an Adobe InDesign CS5 File (YouTube)
- Microsoft Office files (Recommended: Save file as PDF and preview at 100% for print quality.)
- Submission Guidelines
- Only send the document that you want us to output. If possible, delete all other files from any disk(s)/file folders you supply us with. This will help prevent problems, saving time and money.
- Make sure the document is the actual size being printed. If not, please specify enlargement or reduction for imaging.
- Gather all output documents, fonts, links, and photos to place them into three individual folders. Professional page layout programs (like InDesign) can perform this task for you using "Package" or "Collect" for output features.
- Supply all fonts and placed images within your linked supports.
- Layout, Bleeds and Crop Marks
- Live Area — This is your artwork and type that does not touch the edge of the page (does not bleed). All type and graphics not intended to bleed must be a minimum of 3/16" (0.1875") clear and free from the head, foot, face, gutter, or trim area.
- Bleeds — Any image that touches the edge of the page must extend (bleed off) at least 1/8" (0.125") past the page to ensure that no white or blank borders will appear on your printed design.
- Crop / Trim Marks — When a bleed is necesssary, please include crop marks or trim marks. The sheet will be trimmed according to these marks during finishing.
- Quick Guide to setup PDF with bleeds (PDF)
- Supply all screen fonts and printer fonts, or Truetype fonts used in the job and linked supports.
- For wide-format printing, please convert your text to outlines. (Illustrator and InDesign both have this function.)
- Avoid assigning type attributes (bold, italic, bold italic). Instead, use the correct font. This will avoid using a type style that has no actual screen and printer font.
- Avoid multiple master fonts if possible. Some will work, but problems are common.
- Images and Resolution
- Image and Graphic Files: Supply all placed images within your linked documents (packaging an InDesign file will do this). Do not embed graphics unless you also supply the original files. (See supported file types/formats above.)
- File type: When possible, art should be submitted as vector rather than bitmap. Vector image files are usually saved as AI, EPS or PDF. (See supported file types/formats above.)
- Color: Images should be in CMYK color or grayscale to print accurately.
- Images/photos should be at least 300 dpi.* (Images for wide-format printing over 6 ft wide can be as low as 150 dpi.)
- Line art of bitmap images should be 1200 dpi.
- Gradients: To reduce banding in gradations, use a broad range (e.g. 5%-95% as opposed to 40%-60%).
- Process (CMYK) Color: Some Pantone (PMS) colors are outside of the CMYK color space and appear different when printed as process color. Please view your screen after conversion for a rough idea of how that color will appear.
- Pantone Colors: PMS colors are advised only for offset printing with spot colors, not digital printing.
- AVOID Web Images (Web graphics are set at 72 dpi in RGB color mode. These will print blury and the colors will not print accurately.)
- Avoid .SVG (may be acceptable, but colors will need to be converted)
- Avoid .PNG (Low-resolution web graphic)
- Avoid .GIF (Low resolution, limited colors web graphic)
- File Prep Reference Articles