One of the most important steps in the design process is making sure what you’ve made on-screen will look the way you want when it’s printed. One of the best ways to ensure your document stays the same is to send Service Printers a high-res PDF of your piece. Although we love working with native files in InDesign, especially if there are any last minute changes needed right before it prints, sending us a PDF can eliminate the risk of unwanted errors that can happen when files are opened on multiple computers. Issues like font reflow problems are nonexistent when printing from a PDF, and you won’t have to worry about packaging all of your fonts and links when you send us the file.
Which PDF format is best for sending to Service Printers? There are a few factors you want to consider when converting your file. First, your document should contain bleed. .125″ is a good rule of thumb for documents, regardless of size. Second, you want to make sure that the preset you are using saves your document in a print-ready resolution. Going through and choosing all of your output settings can be a very time-consuming and sometimes confusing task -but luckily we’ve done all the hard work for you! Service Printers has a PDF preset we’ve developed and used for years. This is the same preset we use in our prepress department to prep files for print and will work for either digital or conventional printing. Just install your preset and select “Service Printers” from the list of options when you convert a file to PDF. Your file is ready to send to us with no further action needed on your part.
If you’ve never installed a PDF preset before, it’s a pretty simple process. On a Mac, you just drop the file into Library/Application Support/Adobe/Adobe PDF/Settings. On a Windows computer, navigate to ProgramData/Adobe/Adobe/Adobe PDF. You can also easily add a preset in InDesign by going to File>Adobe PDF Presets>Define>Load. You preset will be available to use in all of your Adobe programs.