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 gets extended.

Extra time and lost momentum are not the troubling parts of fixing file prep errors. It’s the knowledge that the delay was avoidable. A bit more attention to detail during file prep and the project could have sailed right through preflight.

The ability to avoid delays lies in the early parts of file submission. Paying attention to details in initial file set up, and checking file condition before submitting it, determines how much time is spent preparing the project 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 a few things are kept 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 customers 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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