Online Printing Help CenterOnline Printing Help Center
File Preparation

Get the answers you need regarding preparations, guidelines and more.  Or call 800-995-1555 for personal assistance or E-mail.

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Do you have templates available? Yes, we have 2 types of templates.  Our Free online designer which offers predesigned templates or stock images and layouts for you to design your own.  You can also upload your own images and logo's in the online designer. (learn more about the online designer)  And we offer downloadable templates available in PDF, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Photoshop, or Quark Express 7.These templates assist you with specific dimensions, bleeds, layouts, folding, trim, and safe area to create your print-ready files.  These templates do not have images or designs.

What design applications do you accept? We accept: Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Indesign and PDF documents.

Do you accept Microsoft Word documents? We can accept Microsoft Word documents as long as the file is accompanied by a faxed copy of what the piece should look like. (Fax: 406.771.7777) Word tends to shift and alter elements, such as text, when opened on different computers. A faxed copy will help us ensure we process the proof correctly.

  • Also, please keep in mind that Microsoft Word does not embed word art fonts when the file is saved and opened on a different computer. Therefore, the fonts will default when opened on another computer that does not contain the fonts that were used.

 How do I send my files without having missing fonts and other components? If you are sending files created in Pagemaker, Illustrator, InDesign, QuarkXpress, Freehand, Photoshop, Publisher, CorelDraw, or PowerPoint,  you may want to go through these steps.

What file format do you accept? We accept TIFF, PDF, JPEG, PSD and EPS file types as well as native documents from our accepted applications.

What should I know about image file formats? Tiff, EPS or JPG files with maximum quality format are usable. Any other file types used (such as GIF, PING, CDX, etc.) may result in unfavorable print quality.

What should I know about image resolution? Image resolution should be set at 300 dpi. Enlarging an image will lower the resolution while reducing an image will increase the resolution.

  • Enlarging an image in a layout program is not recommended. Images less than 300 dpi could reproduce poorly looking fuzzy or pixilated.
  • Images from the Internet are not recommended, as most images are only 72 dpi.
  • An unfavorable image cannot be resaved as a different type of file. For example, you cannot place a gif file in Photoshop and resave it as an EPS file. This does not change the compatibility of the file. If you have to use low-resolution images, we will print only after you consent to the quality.

Can I use images from the Internet? Files off the Internet usually do not provide a good quality image for printing. Images from the Internet or web sites are generally 72 dpi and are in a GIF or JPEG format. Color and resolution are removed from these images to allow for rapid transfer on the Internet. These images will appear fuzzy and dull when printed commercially.  We recommend at least 300 dpi.

What is downsampled? To make a file smaller, images are changed to a lower resolution when the file is saved.

What media will be accepted for submitting files? Submit files online via your PrintingCenterUSA account and add files. Disks will be returned after final output has been approved if required. PrintingCenterUSA will not be responsible for any loss of data or damage of media.

What is Bleed? One important custom printing term to know is a bleed. Bleed refers to an extra 1/8" of image that extends beyond the trim area of your printing piece. The project is printed on an oversized sheet that is cut down to size with the appearance that the image "bleeds" off the edge of the paper.

What is your safe area? Cutting of your printing piece is done in large stacks and may vary from the top and the bottom of the stack. The safe area or inner margin in which to keep all important elements within to prevent them from trimming off, should be at least 1/8" inside the edge of the final trim size.

What is fold? A folded mock-up layout includes fold line indicators to assist you in the correct panel layout, page direction, and size for multi-page documents. Folding a sheet of paper once produces 4 pages, and each additional fold doubles the number of pages.

What is trim? Trim marks indicate where to trim the printed sheet or where the edge of the paper is. Similar to register or crop marks.

Trim size? The final size of the document after the last trim is made.

Can I create a catalog in Illustrator or Photoshop? Absolutely. Each page of the catalog would need to be a separate file. Please be sure to name each file with the page number so that we know the correct print order.

What about using colored text? Sometimes the printing process is not as perfect as the world around it. Minute misalignment can cause the 4 separate CMYK inks to not line up perfectly in small text (10pt or smaller), as well as in white text on a colored or black background (knock-out text). This misalignment can make small text look blurry. If you need to do this anyway, it is best to keep the colored text one of the true CMYK colors; black is always an excellent choice.


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