File Preparation

What programs should I use?
Prepare your page layout in a program such as Quark XPress, InDesign, and PageMaker or in a graphics program such as Adobe Illustrator. Prepare vector art, such as a company logo, in a drawing program like Illustrator, CorelDraw or Freehand. Save these images as EPS files and import them into your page layout.

Prepare your photographic images (scans or digital camera images) in programs such as Adobe Photoshop or Corel PhotoPaint. Save these images as EPS or TIFF files and import them into the page layout.

We will work with you to make sure your project prints correctly no matter what software you use, but if the file comes to us from one of the applications on the above list it’ll make everything easier!

How should I create my file?
In your page layout program, make the page size equal to the trim size of the final piece. Do not make a bigger page and draw your own “crop marks” or “printer’s marks”.

Create all the pages of your project within a single file in your layout program. Do not create a separate file for each page.In multi-page files, arrange the pages in numerical sequence. Do not create “reader’s spreads” or “printer’s spreads”. Do not “gang” or “impose” a number of pages together into one big page. We’ll do the imposing for you!

Graphic objects or backgrounds that print to the edge of the page should be made to extend 1/8″ (0.125″) beyond the edge of the page in the layout. This is called bleed. The overlapping 1/8″ will be trimmed off, but if it’s not there in the first place, slight inaccuracies in cutting could leave a thin white border along one or more edges of the page.

Keep all type and other artwork that isn’t meant to bleed at least 3/16″ (0.1875″) away from the edges of the page to avoid it being trimmed off by those same pesky “inaccuracies in cutting”.

Use only alphanumeric characters (abc, ABC, 123, etc.) to name your files and folders. Please use logical names in naming files such as “ABC Marketing Brochure3.qxd”.

What files should I upload to Printhink?
Upload all the files needed to process the job: page layout files, imported images, fonts and other support files.

Use WinZip on a PC or Stuffit on a Mac to compress all the files into a single file for uploading.

For instructions on how to send your file via FTP, contact your Printhink representative or send an email to with “FTP instructions” as the subject.

Can I upload a PDF file?
Yes, we accept (and generally prefer) PDF files, but it’s important that you prepare them correctly. The above guidelines for file preparation also apply to preparing PDF files. In addition, you should:

  • If you are using InDesign, create PDF files using “Export to PDF”.
  • Create PDF files from other page layout or graphics programs using Adobe Acrobat Distiller. The method for doing this depends on your program, the version of Distiller you have and the operating system you are running.
  • Make sure no security is applied to your PDF files; i.e. do not “password protect” them.

Pictures, Colour and Resolution
Make sure your photographic images are saved at a resolution of 300 ppi (pixels per inch) at the final dimensions you want to use them. Be aware that size and resolution are inversely proportional, so that enlarging an image decreases its resolution. If images are saved at 300 ppi, you may safely enlarge them by up to 15%, but no further.

Be aware that most images on the internet are 72 ppi and will result in very poor quality printing. Upsampling these images in Photoshop will not improve them. You can, however, reduce the dimensions of such images in order to obtain a higher resolution, ideally 300 ppi. Still, using them is risky and may not achieve the result you expect.

CMYK (process colour) and RGB
CMYK is a method of representing colour based on the standard printing ink colours of cyan (C), magenta (M), yellow (Y) and black (K). Black is represented as K rather than B to avoid confusing it with blue. CMYK is the basis for almost all printed colour reproduction. If you are printing something that has full colour pictures, either at a print shop or on your home colour inkjet printer, the pictures are printed using CMYK inks, dyes or toner. CMYK is often referred to as “4-colour process” in the printing industry; and cyan, magenta, yellow and black are called “process colours”.

Many colour and large-format printing devices, and some digital and lithographic presses, are starting to enlarge the colour range of printing by adding extra inks to the basic CMYK model. However, most color lithographic printing is still done in CMYK.

RGB is a method of displaying or capturing colour using the three primary colours of red (R), green (G) and blue (B). Colors displayed on computer monitors and captured by scanners and digital cameras are in RGB.

A problem in printing stems from the fact that the RGB color space does not correspond exactly to the CMYK color space. It is therefore possible for you to see colours on your computer monitor that cannot be reproduced accurately by a printing press. Sometimes the differences are slight; sometimes they are very noticeable. Here are two things you can do to minimize the problem:

  • At some point, your RGB colour photographs have to be converted to CMYK for printing. It’s best if you do this conversion yourself using a program such as Adobe Photoshop. When we receive RGB images, we do a standard batch conversion that may or may not be pleasing to you.
  • When you colourize elements such as type, lines, boxes, shapes, etc. in a page layout or graphics program, make sure you work in the CMYK color model. You can also use Pantone colours, which are special single-colour inks used by printing presses, but make sure you convert them to CMYK.

Pantone Colours

The Pantone Colour Matching System is a library of specific, pre-mixed colours used in the printing industry. When you choose a Pantone colour in your page layout or graphic program’s colour library, you are choosing a colour that can be printed using a single Pantone ink colour on press, as opposed to a process colour which is a recipe made up of a percentage of the cyan, magenta, yellow and black inks. Most page layout and graphics programs also allow you to convert a Pantone colour to its closest CMYK mix. Be careful! Only about 60% of the Pantone colors can be approximated using CMYK recipes. Of the remaining 40%, some will be way off.

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