If you want to collaborate with E&F SureBill to create professional-looking print materials, we prefer that you provide us with a print-ready PDF. PDF files preserve the layout, fonts, colors, and images of your design, and can be easily viewed and printed by anyone with a PDF reader. However, not all PDFs are created equal. To ensure the best quality and compatibility, we want to share some guidelines and settings when exporting your PDFs from your design software.
Creating a print-ready PDF for use with mail merge data involves a few key steps:
Ensure your document size matches the intended final printed size (e.g., letter, A4, or custom size).
Set the document color mode to CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black) for full-color printing. If it’s grayscale or spot color, use the appropriate color mode.
Set the document resolution to at least 300 dots per inch (DPI) for images and graphics to ensure high print quality.
Bleed and Margins:
Include bleed if necessary. Bleed is the area outside the document’s trim size that extends any graphics or images that touch the edge of the page.
Maintain sufficient margins to avoid critical content (text, logos) getting too close to the trim line. Typically, a margin of at least 0.125 inches (3mm) is recommended.
Fonts and Text:
Embed all fonts used in your document to ensure they are available for printing. This prevents font substitution issues.
Convert text to outlines (also known as “create outlines” or “convert to curves”) for vector graphics programs like Adobe Illustrator. This ensures that text appears as vector shapes and isn’t dependent on fonts.
If your document uses specific colors, use Pantone (PMS) or spot colors when necessary. Ensure they are defined correctly in your design software.
Be aware of color profiles and discuss them with your printer to ensure color accuracy.
Use high-resolution images (300 DPI) for graphics and images within your document.
Ensure all images are in CMYK color mode for full-color printing.
Save your document as a PDF (Portable Document Format). PDF is widely accepted by commercial printers and retains formatting and fonts.
Use the appropriate PDF settings for printing. Many design programs offer preset options for creating print-ready PDFs.
Compression and Downsampling:
Be cautious with image compression and downsampling settings when exporting to PDF. Balance file size with image quality.
Spot Colors (if applicable):
Ensure that any spot colors used are correctly defined and specified in the document.
Carefully proofread your document to ensure all content is accurate and final. Any errors found after printing can be costly to correct.
Export and Save:
Export your document to PDF using the recommended settings for your design software. Most design software, such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign, have built-in options to export your files as PDFs. However, depending on your software and your print project, you may need to adjust some settings to optimize your PDFs for print. When exporting PDFs from your design software, start by choosing File > Export or File > Save As and selecting PDF as the format. Check the settings for compression, marks and bleeds, output, and security. It is recommended to use ZIP or JPEG compression for color and grayscale images and CCITT Group 4 for monochrome images; also set the resolution to 300 dpi for color and grayscale images and 1200 dpi for monochrome images. Furthermore, add crop marks and bleed if your design extends beyond the edge of the page. Finally, review your PDFs before sending them to print by using the Preflight or Print Preview tools in your design software or in Adobe Acrobat.
Last but not least, save the PDF with a clear and descriptive filename.