File Prep Guide: General tips for preparing your artwork for printing


Your document size should be the same as your final page size.


If you have text or images that run off the edge of your final printed piece, they must extend at least 1/8" (0.125") beyond the trim edge in your file. This extension of your graphics is called a bleed.

No Bleeds:

If your document is not meant bleed, any text or images on your printed piece should be at least 1/8" (0.125") to 1/4" (0.25") away from your trim edge. This is due to a very slight shifting of the paper that can occur when cutting a job down. Any text or images that are too close to the trim edge may be cut off or show inconsistent margins.


You will need to set up your file with the correct panel sizes so that it appears how it should when folded down. Different types of folding and binding can affect panel sizes. This needs to be taken into consideration. The inside panel of any folded piece needs to be slightly shorter than the other panels to fold correctly. Please let us know if you have any questions about setting up the proper panel sizes.

For an 8.5x11 trifold, the panel sizes are 3.6875" for the front and middle panels and 3.625" for the shorter panel.


Do not use faux fonts (clicking the B or I in your document) - be sure to use the actual font in the style you need (bold, italics, etc.). What appears on the screen may not reproduce accurately.

Spot Colors:

Select all non-used colors and delete them from the palette. If you have chosen a spot color to be converted to process, be careful to use the appropriate color library (Pantone Color Bridge) for the closest CMYK representation of the specific spot color ink. Not all spot colors reproduce exactly when converted to process. Please let us know if your job needs to match a Pantone color that is being printed as process.

Rich Black:

If your piece requires a “Rich Black”, please use the following formula: C=50%; M=40%; Y=40%; and K=100%.


If scanning or importing digital images, please ensure the resolution will be at least 300dpi when placed at the final size (enlarged or reduced) in your document. For example: when a 300dpi image is placed at 125%, the resolution drops to 240dpi. A 600dpi image placed at 125% drops to 480dpi. Resolutions below 300dpi can sometimes cause the image to have a pixelated effect. Single color line art should have a resolution of 1200-2400dpi.


To obtain the best results when creating duotones, use Photoshop rather than colorizing the image in InDesign or Quark XPress.


Unless previously discussed with you by our graphics department, please allow us to paginate your files before printing. This includes placing an item multiple times up on a page and laying out a book in printer spreads and not reader spreads.


If using layers, please name layers clearly - not Layer 1, Layer 2, etc. This assists us when troubleshooting files.