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Monthly Archives: June 2012

Creating an InDesign document that prints right the first time every time doesn’t happen. It requires up-front planning and ongoing attention to detail. Two weeks I identified 8.5 steps to creating such a document. Last week we expanded on the first phase – preparation and document setup. This week’s topic is things to do right while creating your document.

Use “best practices” while creating your file. There are probably hundreds of best practices associated with creating a document, but here are just a few to keep in mind:

  • Don’t have extraneous frames on the page (even if they don’t have anything in them, delete them).
  • Size your frames to fit their content.
  • Place individual items being printed on separate pages.
  • Place repeating elements on master pages.
  • Use tabs to align text, not spaces.
  • Clean up your Word documents after you bring them into InDesign. We covered that in this blog.

Use CMYK colors, not RGB colors.

When you ask technology to convert from one color model to another, you may not get the results you want. For images, make the conversion from RGB to CMYK yourself before placing the images into your document. When creating color swatches, creating them in CMYK, not RGB.

Use high resolution graphics. Most of the time, when a document won’t print, there is a problem with your graphics. When a printed document looks bad, the problem is usually with your graphics.

Best choices:

  • TIF files (for images) at resolutions of 300dpi or greater
  • EPS files (for vector-based graphics)
  • PSD (Adobe Photoshop)
  • AI (Adobe Illustrator)

Acceptable – if their resolution is 300dpi or greater:

  • JPG
  • PDF

Do Not Use:

  • PNG
  • BMP
  • Any other old or obscure format

Make good font choices. The second most common reason your document doesn’t print properly is that there are font issues.

  • Where possible, use OpenType or PostScript fonts. They are the least likely fonts to cause problems when printing.
  • Provide the fonts you used in your document to the printer.

Oh – and while it won’t affect how well your document prints, please honor copyrights on images and fonts.

Next week we’ll cover the last of the 8.5 steps – those that fall under the category of prepping your files for print.

Let us know your tips for preparing a document so it’ll print right the first time every time by adding your comments below.

We’ve launched our first online training course – a 6-week webinar course on Adobe InDesign CS5. To introduce the course, we conducted a free webinar that was jam-packed full of tips and best practices while we taught how to create a single-page brochure. Click here to view a recording of the webinar. Among other things, you’ll learn about paragraph and character styles, text and image frames, the Selection and Direct Selection tools, how to flow text manually and automatically, how to align and distribute objects…and a whole lot more.

Click here to view a recording of the webinar. Click here for info about our 6-week course. Adobe Indesign Basics & Beyond Click here to register for the 6-week course*.

* This link will register you for the first of six videos; you will be registered to receive the remaining five videos automatically. Register today – the course begins on June 29. All webinars will be recorded and posted so that you can watch at your convenience and view them as many times as you. We will invoice you for the entire course when you register.

Give us a call if you have any questions.

 

Last week we provided a list of  8.5 steps to creating an InDesign file that prints perfectly on the first try. We promised to elaborate on the 8.5 steps. Here’s more detail on the first three steps.

1. Identify and talk to your printer early. The sooner you can identify the printer and create your documents with that printer in mind, the less likely you are to run into issues at print time. Get answers to questions like this:

  • What is the final paper size? (An 8.5″x11″ catalog may not really be 8.5″x11″.)
  • What is the minimum internal margin that is acceptable for the printer? Most printers like a minimum of 3/8” internal margins.
  • What kind of files does the printer want to receive – the original InDesign/Quark/whatever files, Postscript files, or PDF files?
  • How does the printer want those files prepared – if Postscript, what printer profile would they like the Postscript file printed from; if PDF, what preferences (aka job options) would they like to be used (better yet, can they provide the job option they’ve prepared for their equipment)?
  • If your document has a spine, ask about the size of the spine (it will vary depending not only on the number of pages in your document, but also on the type and weight of paper used).
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

2. Use the proper page size.

  • Depending on how the document is printed, the printer may be trimming the paper – create your document for the size the printer tells you the final document will be.
  • Don’t create a 4.25″x5.5″ document on an 8.5″x11″ paper size or a 4-page 8.5″ x 11″ newsletter on an 11″x17″ paper size. Sure, it’s quick & easy to set it up that way, but you’ll pay for it in the end when you have to reformat it for printing. You can set your document up for any paper size and still make the layout portrait or landscape and still use double-page spreads.

3. Create bleeds if you have elements that you want to print to the edge of the page.

Your document size will still be the size of the finished document (see above), but create a bleed in your document setup menu. When you place those elements that you want to go to the edge of the page (which is called bleeding off the page), extend them beyond the edge of the page. Most printers like a 3/8″ bleed, but ask to be sure. Again, that means your images should go over the edge of your page by 3/8″ – don’t stop at the edge of the page or you may have a white edge after the paper is cut. At the very least, you’re making your printer’s job harder and you may incur extra setup charges.

Next week’s blog will address things to do while creating the document to ensure it prints. In the meantime, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to give us a call or comment below. (If it’s an immediate need, give us a call.) If you have tips of your own, please – share them with others by commenting below.

This is the quick & dirty version of our 8.5 steps. Over the next three weeks, we’ll provide more details about each step. If you have any specific questions you’d like us to address, post a comment. If you have a question that you need the answer to now, send me a quick email – sandy@DataDesignsPublishing.com.

Preparation & Setup

1. Identify and talk to your printer early. The sooner you can identify the printer and create your documents with that printer in mind, the less likely you are to run into issues at print time.

2. Use the proper page size (i.e., don’t create a 5″x7″ document on an 8.5″x11″ page size).

3. Create bleeds if you have elements that you want to print to the edge of the page.

Document Creation

4. Use best practices while creating your file.

5. Use CMYK colors, not RGB colors.

6. Use high resolution graphics. Most of the time, when a document won’t print, there is a problem with your graphics. When a printed document looks bad, the problem is usually with your graphics.

7. Make good font choices. The second most common reason your document doesn’t print properly is that there are font issues.

Prepping Your Print Files

8. Preflight your document.

8.5  Create your files for the printer using the approach the printer identified. Yes, this is a repeat, but it bears repeating. Ask the printer how he wants you to prepare the files, then prepare the files that way.

Data Designs  Publishing will be conducting an InDesign Basics free webinar on June 19, 2012 at 9am. We will follow it up with a 6-week Basics and Beyond webinar series over the summer. Click here for info on the free webinar. Registration closes June 14, so check it out today. If you’re interested in the webinar training series but cannot attend the free webinar, contact me – Sandy@DataDesignsPublishing.com