How to properly prepare your PDF for printing...
Below are some general rules to reference when creating your PDFs for us.
We prefer files to be submitted as “Output Ready” PDFs.
An output ready PDF needs no extra work and is ready to print. A typical job will contain two output ready PDF’s, a complete cover PDF file and complete text PDF file. The text file should be sized and cropped according to the book’s size, and contain all of the pages in the book. The cover should be send as a separate file and designed as if it the cover were laying flat on a table (with the proper bleed and spine size).
ALL fonts must be embedded:
If there are any fonts that are not embedded, the press will replace them with something it thinks is “close”. This replacement font may or may not be close to the font you have chosen. By embedding the fonts, the PDF will include the fonts in the file for the press to use during printing.
Checking the PDF to verify that the fonts have been embedded can be done within any version of Adobe Acrobat. Once the PDF file is open in Acrobat Reader, Acrobat Standard or Professional, click on the “Properties” option under the “File” menu. This will open a new window. Under the “Fonts” tab, a list of the fonts used should appear. If a font is embedded, the words “Embedded” or “Embedded Subset” will appear beside the font. “Not Embedded” will appear if the font is not embedded.
No Printer Marks:
Do not include printer marks such as registration marks, crop marks or bleed marks. If the marks are on your file, they could appear on your final product.
It is best if all transparencies are flattened before the file goes to print. If transparencies are not flattened before they print, every once in awhile unexpected things happen such as discoloration, white boxes or transparencies printed at their full color values. Therefore, if you flatten the transparencies and view the PDF, you may be able to more accurately see what the output will look like and most surprises can be avoided.
If using CMYK transparencies over spot colors, the spot colors must be changed to a process color (CMYK). If a spot color is not converted, the transparency will not print and could be replaced by a white box.
All images should be a minimum of 300 dpi (dots per inch). Images less than 300 dpi are considered low resolution and can print fuzzy and pixilated. Below is an example of an image at 300 dpi and the same image at 72 dpi. Notice the difference in quality — the image on the right is pixilated and blurry.
All bit-mapped or line art images should be 600 dpi and sized at 100% in the layout. Grayscale and color images should be set at 300 dpi and sized at 100% in the layout.
The page layout for the book’s interior pages should be submitted in a single page layout, not a reader spread format (see below). Reader spread documents cannot be printed and bound correctly in a book format.
PDF Presets and Definitions:
Below are some PDF presets, in order of preference, that may be available in the programs being used. These descriptions are from Adobe and may help determine which preset will be best suited for a particular file:
PDF/X-1a: (Preferred Method)
PDF/x embeds ALL This preset converts all colors to CMYK and flattens all transparencies. Sometimes small white hairlines are seen in the files which will not print.
Description: PDF/X‑1a requires all fonts to be embedded, the appropriate PDF bounding boxes to be specified and color to appear as CMYK, spot colors, or both. Compliant files must contain information describing the printing condition for which they are prepared. PDF files created with PDF/X‑1a compliance can be opened in Acrobat 4.0 and Acrobat Reader 4.0 and later. PDF/X‑1a uses PDF 1.3, down samples color and grayscale images to 300 dpi and monochrome images to 1200 dpi, embeds subsets of all fonts, creates untagged PDFs and flattens transparencies using the High Resolution setting.
Press Quality converts all colors to CMYK, down samples images to 300 dpi and does not flatten transparencies.
Description: Creates PDF files for high‑quality print production (e.g., digital printing or for separations to an image setter or plate setter), but does not create files that are PDF/X‑compliant. In this case, the quality of the content is the highest consideration. The objective is to maintain all the information in a PDF file that a commercial printer or print service provider needs in order to print the document correctly. This set of options uses PDF 1.4, converts colors to CMYK, down samples color and grayscale images to 300 dpi and monochrome images to 1200 dpi, embeds subsets of all fonts, and preserves transparency (for file types capable of transparency). These PDF files can be opened in Acrobat 5.0 and Acrobat Reader 5.0 and later.
High Quality Print:
High Quality Print reduces images to 300 dpi, embeds font subsets and leaves colors unchanged. This is helpful for files that are intended to print with both color and grayscale images.
Description: Creates PDFs for quality printing on desktop printers and proofing devices. This preset uses PDF 1.4, down samples color and grayscale images to 300 dpi and monochrome images to 1200 dpi, embeds subsets of all fonts, leaves color unchanged, and does not flatten transparency (for file types capable of transparency). These PDFs can be opened in Acrobat 5.0 and Acrobat Reader 5.0 and later. With InDesign, this preset also creates tagged PDFs.
Creating a PDF with bleed from InDesign:
When creating a PDF file from InDesign that contains bleed, it is important to do two things. First, make sure the InDesign file contains 1/8″ bleed. Second, when creating the PDF, be sure to review the “Marks and Bleeds” section.
In this section, you can specify which sides of the document bleed and how much bleed should be allowed. For a Perfect Bound, Case Bound or Saddle Stitch book, the text file should bleed on the top, bottom and outside edges (not the inside binding edge). For a Wire-O book, the text should bleed on all four sides.