File Formats

Adobe PDF Files:
A “Press Quality PDF” is preferred for all files being submitted.

For Large Format Latex Printing and Envelopes: No bleed or crop marks are required for most situations. Just do document size when making PDF’s.
For everything else PDF’s with at least .125 Bleed and crop marks:


InDesign Files:
In addition to your press quality PDF, if you plan on us making any changes. We strongly recommend a “Packaged” InDesign file (Native ID File, Fonts, Images).

For InDesign to do this automatically in InDesign go to: File / Package…/ and follow the prompts.

If your document has a “bleed” (the content is printed to the edge of the paper), please make sure that your Press Quality PDF has crop marks and a .125″ bleed (artwork that extends beyond the trim size). So when we cut it down you won’t see any white paper on the edge.


Photoshop Documents with Bleed:
If you are using Adobe Photoshop, please create your document at 300dpi, and to size and allow an extra .125″ on all sides for bleed. For example, if your submitting an 8.5″ x 11″ flyer that has a full bleed, your document should be 8.75″ x 11.25″. This will allow room for trimming. Save as a flattened “High Quality Photoshop pdf” file. Also please let us know what your final size is supposed to be


Microsoft Word, Publisher Files:
For documents created in Microsoft programs, please save your file as a PDF as this will “lock down” fonts and your layout and help stop it from re-flowing and not matching what your seeing on your screen compared to ours.

For Word and Publisher go to: File / Save As / Select PDF from pull down menu / More Options / Tools / Save options / check: Embed fonts in the file / uncheck embed only the characters used… and Do not embed common system fonts and hit OK.


Other tips:
Photoshop images should be 300 Dpi, roughly to size before placing them into InDesign. Not a 32”x23 inch 72 dpi image that needs to scale down to 10% in InDesign to be placed at only 2.5x 2 inches

For Off-Set Printing never use RGB as it prints washed out. Use either Grayscale, CMYK, or PMS Coated or Uncoated colors.

For Digital Printing saving your Fills / Fonts / Logos colors in PMS colors over CMYK or RGB give Digital Printing more control over colors.

You might like how your CMYK looks but the PMS color in your Logo might not be right, as a PMS Coated swatch digital printing can change just the color of the logo while leaving the photo alone. If everything is CMYK everything changes if digital printing changes CMYK.

Also using PMS Coated over PMS Uncoated will give you different looks. If you want the most vibrant look stick to PMS Coated.


If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to give us a call at 617.623.3047.
Our Experienced Pre-Press Department will be glad to help you prepare your file for printing.  


Trap is the slight overlap two abutting colors must have to allow for minimal press misregistration or paper stretch. In multiple spot color pieces, trap is essential. Since printing inks are not opaque, but are translucent, overprinting two colors will give you a mix of the two rather than the true foreground color. Therefore the background color must be “knocked out” to allow the paper color to be the canvas for the foreground color.

As the “grippers” pull the paper through the press, the sheets are squeezed from the impression pressure and stretched from the tug of the grippers. This stretch combined with plates mounted or shifting slightly off register could mean a slight paper show-through between the abutting colors where the images have shifted. So to allow for this, we create a “trap”. If the lighter color is in the foreground, we “spread” it into the darker color (background). If the lighter color is in the background we “choke” it into the darker color (foreground). (Trap allowance is different for each printer).

Trapping can become a very tricky situation. Some applications can do it, others can’t. Contact your film outputting service or service bureau to prepare for the best possible output..

“PMS” (Pantone Matching System) is the most widely accepted process for color matching. Each unit in the press can only be inked up in one color, and that color must be mixed and applied manually. The Pantone company has created a system by which thousands of colors are mixed from a few basic colors using a given recipe. Each recipe is assigned a number. The end result is that a printing company in Bristol, CT will get the same PMS 200 Red as a printing company in Nerja, Spain.

Be warned that the normal Pantone inks are not laser printer compatible. The ink base is usually plastic. In the laser printing process, plastic toner is melted onto a sheet of paper. The heat created from this process can melt offset printing inks and dirty your printer’s rollers. Be sure to ask for laser compatible inks in the event that you may need them. If you have ever seen a Pantone Color Formula Guide, you may have noticed that there is a coated and uncoated section. This is not a difference in the ink, but in the paper. The same recipe is used for PMS 200U (Uncoated) as for PMS 200C (Coated). The difference is in how the ink sits on the paper sheet. The same ink printed on two different sheets will look different.

The major color deception occurs on individual computer monitors. The PMS system may have a much different look on my monitor than on yours. So, when designing a printed piece consult a Pantone Color Formula Guide so that there are no surprises when you receive the finished product.

When images are arranged right up to the edge of the paper, a “bleed” is needed. We will actually run the printed piece on an oversized sheet of paper and print the image off the finished edge, trimming off the excess. This allows for “draw” in the trim. Though the sharp edge of a cutting blade is razor sharp, there is still some degree of pull during the cut. This minute difference between the sheets in the top and bottom of the cut pile (draw) would never be noticed unless an image were slightly touching the edge. So bleed is given to eliminate noticeable difference.

A “screen” is a grid pattern of dots applied to an image to create a percentage of full ink coverage. The size of the dot is what makes the percentage higher or lower. The use of screens can make a single color printed piece appear as if it were printed with multiple colors.

“Image assembly” is another term for stripping. This process involves aligning and arranging negatives to burn in the right places and register on the plate. A crooked assembly means crooked printing and a crooked end result.

Why, yes they are. Font files cause the most trouble in outputting negatives. There are many font manufacturers and formats. The first step in coordinating a printed piece with minimal trouble is to use a fixed number of fonts. Then, be sure that you have the postscript and screen version of each font. When you are finished with your design, copy all of those font files from your desktop onto your disk. Good luck…

DPI (dots per inch) and LPI (lines per inch) refer to the definition or potential clarity of the image output. The higher the resolution; the better the possible output. Different media have different resolutions. Check your desktop printer for its specifications.

In supplying film to your printer resolution is an important point of contention. You will need to know what dpi/lpi is needed. The other spec you will need to know is on what side of the film is the photoemulsion. The images can be arranged right-reading emulsion down or right-reading emulsion up. Ask your printer for specs.

Any ink used in the process is counted as one color. Which means that black and varnishes are counted as colors. To get two colors, the printer will need a “spot color” setup. This means one negative for each color; just straight color (no CMYK/RGB color separation).

The opposite of spot color is “four color process” (CMYK). This is the process by which photo quality images are made. The entire piece is comprised of combinations of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black dots (K for black so that there is no confusion with blue). To see this you only need a magazine and a magnifying glass. In this process there are four separate inks.

The key step here is to call the printer you are using. Be sure that your printer or film output service has the applications (PageMaker, Quark, etc.) and storage media (Zip, SyQuest, etc.) you are using. Then be sure to bring all of the involved document files; layout files, graphics, fonts, etc. If you have graphics be sure that the resolution is set properly (dpi/lpi) and the file format (EPS, tiff, etc.) is correct.

If you have photos to be scanned or shot, be sure that you have indicated cropping and size percentage to be used. If you are outputting multiple colors be sure that the separations are correct. And bring a mock-up of what the end result should look like. It is okay if that mock-up is a grayscale (black and white) version of a color project, but the more visually accurate your description is, the less room there is for error.