About PDFs

What does “PDF” mean?

It’s an anagram for Portable Document Format. This format was created by Adobe Systems to allow documents to be viewed and / or printed on any device, whether a computer, smart phone or pad, Mac, PC or Android; or by a variety of printing methods. If this sounds a bit too simple, it is, because different media have differing requirements for best results.

What is a print-ready PDF?

A properly prepared print PDF can simply be sent to any of our printers or platemakers without any extra steps required. If the PDF you send is not print-ready, we will either tell you what needs fixing, or what we would charge to fix it for you.

Guidelines for Print-Ready PDFs:

ALL IMAGES IDEALLY WILL BE 300 DPI OR GREATER.
If they are much less, they will not be as sharp and may even show the “steppies”, the individual pixels that comprise the image.

Images used on an internet page only have to be 72 dpi to look good. This means that they will only look really good in print at a reduction of 25% or smaller. Images from a smart phone should always be taken at the maximum quality setting and not reduced to send.

TIP: To see how good the images in your job will look in print, zoom in to view the PDF at 300% scale. The quality you see at that size is what will be evident in print.

IF THE PRINTED PIECE IS TO HAVE ‘BLEEDS’ (printing that extends all the way to the edge of your job)
...You should make your PDF specifying crop marks and 1/8” (0.125”) bleeds, and be sure to extend bleed copy all the way to the bleed line. Please note we want crops and bleeds only. We do not want bleed marks, color bars, slugs or anything else. If your program does not allow you to specify crops and bleeds, you should start with an oversized page. For example if the trimmed page is to be 8.5 x 11, make your file’s page 8.75 x 11.25. Then make sure you keep any important content more than 1/8” away from the edge of this page, but have the copy to bleed go right to the edge.

IF THE PIECE DOES NOT HAVE BLEEDS
...Then the PDF page size should be exactly the size of your finished piece, and no crops are needed.

IF THE JOB IS A BOOK OR BOOKLET
...Then the PDF should come to us as single pages, not in spreads. Bleeds (or not) as described above.

Embed All Fonts...IMPORTANT!
The biggest concerns in working from PDFs arise from fonts not being embedded, and defaulting to other fonts as a result. In all applications, to ensure correct results when generating your PDF, you must be sure to check the appropriate box (under ‘options’ or ‘settings’) to include ALL fonts.

On PCs that employ ‘file>print’ to Adobe PDF Writer (or other PDF apps that show up on your print dialog box) to create PDFs, you must click the ‘advanced’ tab, then ‘fonts’ tab, to find the box you must check to include all fonts. It’s always a good idea to furnish a sample printed from your desktop printer so we can make sure your PDF appears correctly -- as it did on your computer-- before printing it on our equipment.

If you have any questions just give us a call, we’re happy to help.

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