Printing Lingo: What is a Print-Ready file?

Save Layout as PDFPrint-Ready is a term used to describe a file that has all the specifications necessary to produce high-resolution printed output, without requiring any additional alteration or intervention.

In other words, a commercial printer can use the file “as submitted” to successfully create the desired print materials.

Common factors that prevent a layout file from being Print-Ready include…

a) Document sized improperly.

b) Colors set to RGB instead of CMYK.

c) Spot colors not properly defined.

d) Not allowing ample margins (putting information or borders closer than 1/4” from any trimmed edge).

e) Resolution not high enough (should be minimum 300 dpi at 100% size).

f) Bleeds not set up correctly (artwork should extend at least 1/8” past crop marks).

g) Crop marks missing or incorrectly placed.

h) Missing fonts or images.

i) Poor contrast between text and background.

j) Spelling and grammar errors.

The File Type is also Important…

The type of file you submit is also an important factor in determining whether a commercial printer can successfully print your layout. For example, high-resolution Adobe PDF files are universally accepted (and preferred) by commercial printers. Layout files created with other Adobe products  – such as InDesign, Illustrator or PhotoShop – also have widespread acceptance, as do QuarkXpress files. EPS and TIF files are also usually good formats for commercial printing.

Conversely, files created with Microsoft programs – such as Word, Publisher or PowerPoint – often require some intervention and conversion to make them Print-Ready. The same holds true for many other popular software programs, especially “non-professional” versions of desktop publishing packages. The file may output to your desktop printer just fine, but these types of software are rarely well-suited for output on a commercial printing press. When in doubt, check with your printer about acceptable file types beforehand.

If you have additional questions about Print-Ready files, give Formax Printing Solutions a call. We know printing concepts can sometimes appear involved or confusing. Since 1985, our goal has always been to simplify the printing process for you.

Take care!  Keith

About the Author

Keith Beaty is the owner of Formax Printing Solutions in St. Louis, MO. Formax provides a complete array of offset and digital printing services. Specialty areas include full-color printing, all types of softcover books, laminated printing, plus fulfillment and mailing services. If you ever have a printing question or project you would like to discuss, Keith is always happy to help. He can be reached at 314-434-5500 or 866-367-6221. Keith and Formax have been providing worry-free printing and related services for over 30 years.

Does an Outstanding Job

Formax Printing does an outstanding job printing anything and everything we send them. But the biggest reason I go to them time and again is the customer service. Our...

- Cynthia P, Primary & Secondary Education

We Consider Formax a Partner

We consider Formax a partner in every sense of the word. The staff is a pleasure to work with, and their attention to detail is greatly appreciated! Whether a large order...

- Becky R, Charitable Organization

They Exceed My Expectations

Formax knows everything about printing so I don’t have to. I have been working with them since 2000. As the Marketing Coordinator of a small company, I wear many...

- Cheryl M, Industrial Heating Equipment

More Testimonials
Know your Specs?
Use our Quote Form
Ready to Print?
Upload your Artwork
Have a Question?
Check out our FAQ
30+ Years In Business Centrally Located in the United States 100% Satisfaction Guarantee

Contact Formax Printing

Contact us with questions or to discuss your print project. If you are ready for a quote, please click here to access our easy Quote Request Form.​

866-367-6221