Preflight Printing Knowledge

Preflight - Preparing Files for a Service Bureau

Acceptable graphic formats

  1. Submit only TIFF or EPS file formats.
  2. Make sure color graphic files are CMYK not RGB, including any nested or embedded elements.
  3. The following are unacceptable file formats for the imagesetter output: PICT, PAINT, RGB TIFF, RGB EPS, QuickTime, Windows Metafile.

Note: Embedding unacceptable formats in an acceptable format does not make the resulting file correct. Also, duotones and files with clipping paths must be supplied as EPS.


  1. Supply a composite proof at 100% size of the final file provided for output.
  2. For color jobs, include a composite color proof and separated laser proofs of each color with the color indicated on each sheet.

Preparing a File for Output

  1. Some page programs create a link to access the image that is required when it is output. Just because there is an image showing up in your layout program, doesn't mean it's really there!
  2. Scale, rotate and crop the images in an image editing program instead of the page layout program. Editing in an image editing program saves a considerable amount of processing time on the RIP.
  3. In illustration programs, limit the number of anchor points to the fewest possible in order to minimize ripping problems.
  4. Include all the screen and printer fonts used in the file, including fonts used in embedded files.
    • You can also convert your text to outlines in the illustration program and then import it into the page layout program.
    • Don't mix PostScript and TrueType fonts. PostScript fonts are the standard in the printing industry so stick with them. TrueType fonts can cause many problems.
    • Avoid fonts with names of cities like New York and Geneva. They are system fonts used by the Mac OS, but they should not be used for anything you want to print.
    • Set the fonts to be bold, italic, etc. with the true font face and not with the style palette. It may look correct on the screen, but if the printer font is not available for that style, it will print in Roman. Don't use bold in the style palette for a font that is already bold. You will get uneven spacing.
  5. Remove any extra versions or files that don't pertain to the job being output.
  6. Name all FPO images for APR with the same names as the scanned images. If the names have been changed, the links will be broken, and will not work.
  7. Make sure "Tiling" is unchecked in the print dialog box. Tiling is used for printing to a laser printer and if it is unnoticed and is left checked, several sheets of film could be exposed and wasted.
  8. Set the line screen correctly. The default for laser printers is 65 line screen which is not usually what you would want for the press.
  9. Are the colors all set up correctly?
    • Do you have them set to be either Spot or process and is that the way you want them to print?
    • Make sure your Pantone colors have only one name per color. Illustrator and Quark give Pantone colors different names, creating two separate swatches for the same color.
    • Have you removed the colors from the palette that aren't being used and have unused patterns been removed?
  10. Make sure the trapping and bleeds were created correctly and let the service provider know if they are required to take care of this step.
  11. Do not use "hairline" for any rules or boxes because it will provide different results on different systems.
  12. Use standard compression programs. Check with your service bureau provider to see what software they use for to do their compressions.
  13. Send the service bureau provider copies of your files and keep the originals for yourself.

Imaging Request Form

Always include an "Imaging Request Form" with your electronic file. Please download a copy and save it. You can then use it for each job you send out. The Imaging Request Form includes the following information:

  1. Software used (including version number)
  2. File names
  3. Fonts used and font type
  4. Graphics used and the selected format
  5. Spot or process colors used
  6. Due date
  7. Contact name including business and after hours phone numbers and e-mail address

Preflight Checklist

Another method to double check that everything is correct when sending your files to a service bureau is to use this Preflight Checklist. Download a copy and save it for use later.

Sending Files

Files can be sent to service providers with the use of  floppy disks, Syquest disks, optical disks, Zip disks, and Jaz disks. Some providers also accept files via the Internet, either through FTP, e-mail attachments, or through a direct connection. Check with your supplier to see what they can accept.

Other important questions to ask  your service bureau:

  1. Does the service bureau use the same software that you designed your project with and is it the same version as your software?
  2. What electronic services do they support?
  3. What font libraries do they support?
  4. Should the file be prepared as printer or reader spreads and who does imposition?

Download Imaging Request Form.

Download Preflight Checklist

Note: Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Acrobat Reader will be required to read the Imaging Request Form and the Preflight Checklist. If you do not have one of the Adobe programs installed, click on the "Get Acrobat Reader" icon below to download a free copy of Reader from Adobe's website.

Back to Top

More Desktop Publishing >>

Additional search results for:
Enter keywords to search
PrintingTips.Com Knowledge
Print Preparation
Bar Coding
Analog Platemaking
Desktop Publishing
Document Design
Hanging Indents
Proofreaders' Marks
Planning and Design
Print Processes
Security Features
Print Products
Features of Interest
Featured Ad
Terms of Use |  Privacy Policy |  Site Map |  Index |  Contact Us
Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is strictly prohibited.
Copyright 2024 Tecstra Systems, All Rights Reserved, PrintingTips.Com

Preflight -

Printing Tips Home Customer Service Knowledge Glossary Printing Tips Home