Follow These File Prep Tips to Speed Through Prepress


The dreaded error list. For any print project going through file prep it means a delay in progress. Missing fonts, low-res images, RGB colors—no matter the error, it takes time to troubleshoot. As a result, turnaround time becomes slower for the customer.

Extra time and lost momentum are not the frustrating parts of fixing file prep errors. It’s the knowledge that the delay was probably avoidable. In short, a bit more attention to detail and the project could have sailed right through preflight.

Ultimately, the ability to avoid delays lies in the hands of the project owner. How disciplined they are in initially setting up the file, or checking its condition before sending it to their vendor, impacts how much time is spent preparing it for print. In the hundreds of files we prep each year there are a handful of consistent errors we see:

  • Missing fonts
  • Missing images
  • Low-res images
  • Documents set to incorrect trim size
  • Missing bleeds

These are basic but important file prep details. The errors are avoidable too, if the project owner keeps a few things are in mind:

  • Always use images and graphics that have a resolution of at least 300 dpi
  • Make sure you set the document size to the correct trim size
  • If sending native files, like Indesign files, use the package option to ensure the document, all inks and all fonts are organized in one folder

We’ve developed a checklist of suggestions to help our clients prepare files that can speed through prepress and avoid delays. The list includes tips for initial document set up, things to keep in mind while designing your project, and to-dos for when you’re preparing your file for submission.

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