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File Prep

All you could ever want to know about how to set up a file for printing. PDF files are the way to go!

Almost every program out there such as Microsoft Word, Publisher, Adobe InDesign,
Photoshop has the ability to either export, write to, or save as a Portable Document
file or PDF.

Why a PDF file?

  • PDF is a printing industry standard that is readily used across both PC and Macintosh platforms. Not only do PDF's embed page attributes, they also embed fonts and artwork so that you (the client) don't have to send the printer all your files to print your project. CareerTech Digital Printing encourages ALL our clients to send PDF files whenever possible.

Not sure how to make a PDF?

  • Most programs have the ability to either SAVE AS a PDF, or EXPORT to a PDF, and/or PRINT as a PDF. Consult your help files, IT person, or give us a call and we'll do our best to walk you through it.

Convert all your colors from RGB to CMYK

  • RGB stands for Red, Green and Blue. This is the color space most pictures off your digital camera and the Web comes in. To print the color space must be converted to CMYK or Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. To get accurate results from file creation to printing, convert your RGB images to CMYK, make your color adjustments, then put them in your document. Files sent to the printer as RGB may not print acceptably.

Scan/Save images at the right resolution

  • If you are scanning photos or artwork, be sure to set resolution appropriately.
    -  For photos and other artwork use 300 dpi.
    -  For line art use 600 dpi.
    Keep in mind also that any artwork you use off a website most likely will only be 72 dpi and will pixelate when printed.

What are Bleeds and why do I need them?

  • Bleeds are the extension of color to 1/8th (.125) of an inch around the entire file. Printers need this to give the client the best quality product. ANYTIME you have color running out to the edge of your project you need to have a bleed.

Recommended programs

  • Because we want to do the best job we can do for our clients, we recommend using programs such as the Adobe Creative Suite (InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat) for file creation and color manipulation. Microsoft Publisher, Word and Excel files are accepted, but for best quality they should be exported as PDF's before sending.

How do you send a file to us?

  • You can email your PDF's (12MB & under) to our Pre-Press Department at
  • You can upload to our DropBox (12MB and over). Just email us and request permission.
  • You can bring it to us on a thumb drive which will be returned at the time of proofing.

A few tips to help with your Canva projects

Display your margins and print bleed.

  • File > View Settings > Show Margins
  • File > View Settings > Print Bleed

Not every font available on Canva can be used outside of Canva.

  • We will provide an ePROOF or printed proof of your project before printing for you to double-check the fonts in your document. Any edits or changes to typography will require you to make those changes and resubmit your artwork. If possible stick to fonts that are well known.

Use high resolution or vector images.

  • For printing raster images use images that are 300 dpi. 
  • Most images you grab online are lower resolution and will not print with the same quality they display on your screen in Canva.

When exporting your file

  • Choose PDF Print
  • Select Crop marks and Bleed.
  • Select Flatten PDF

More questions on File Preparation? Give us a call.

  • Corey Haynes - (405) 743-6807
  • Tim Hodges - (405) 743-5533
Last Modified on Mar 25, 2024