File preparation basics

Because of the many variables in high-speed printing, there is an inherent margin of error in the printing and finishing processes. Thus it is important to respect your printer's specifications regarding trim size, bleeds, type safety and registration offset instructions to minimize risk and ensure product excellence.

A good first step is to use a preflighting software such as Enfocus, Job Assistant (TC Transcontinental's software) and other solutions. Although the printer will almost certainly preflight your files upon receipt, you can save yourself time, headaches and potential expense by sending them correctly the first time. When you consider that industry studies have shown that nearly half of all supplied files have problems (#1 problem is missing fonts), it's worth the effort. Another good practice is to send a test file to further ensure you are complying with your printer's requirements.

Key terms:

  • Trim. Finished size of the printed piece after trimming.
  • Bleed. Page elements that extend beyond the trim, allowing the ink to reach the end of the sheet after final trimming.
  • Type Safety. A zone or margin inside the page trim designated to assure live copy or graphics do not trim.
  • Crop Marks. Printed lines indicating where trims are to be made.
  • Registration Offset. The distance that the crop marks are offset from the trim

To learn more, contact us.