How to Create a Print Ready PDF

Posted by Addy Fulmer on Fri, Mar 16, 2012

If you are a Graphic Designer or a Print Buyer of any sort I am sure that you have been asked by your print service provider to supply a high resolution print ready PDF at some point in your career. You may have also been told that your PDF really wasn't "print ready". With any luck your printer let you know about the problems with your file or, as we often do at TPI Solutions Ink, fixed those problems before they printed your job. Some of you may have been charged additional fees to correct the PDF or InDesign file or, even worse, received the completed job with mistakes. Well, don't fret because our TPI Solutions Ink graphic design team, Addy Fulmer and Diana Spurrell, have put together this blog post of helpful tips. Check it out . . . Carrie Grove

How to Create a Print Ready PDF

Bleeds

Don't forget them! A bleed should be used when an object in your document is meant to go to the edge of the printed page.  A standard bleed is .125”. Using a bleed gives some extra room to ensure that your piece is cut down to size correctly. Each Adobe program handles bleeds a little bit differently. Below are examples of how to work with bleeds in InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop. 

InDesign - Bleeds

When creating a new document in InDesign, click the “More Options” button in the new file dialog box to display your bleed settings. Enter 0p9 or .125”.

bleeds-indesignWhen your document opens you will see a red box surrounding your page area, this is the bleed. Make sure that the object you want to bleed extends all the way to this red box, not just to the edge of the page. Below are examples of correct and incorrect uses of bleed.

Correct use of bleed
using-bleeds-printingIncorrect use of bleed

bleeds-in-printing

Illustrator - Bleeds

Illustrator does not show any kind of bleed guides within your document. To make something bleed, simply drag it to the outside of the page area. You will specify your bleed settings later when you export the document as a PDF. 

bleeds-adobe-illustratorPhotoshop - Bleeds

There are no bleed settings available in Photoshop when you make a new document. However, it is possible to create a bleed yourself by adding the bleed size to the document size. When creating a new document, add .25” to the width and height to ensure there will be an extra .125” on all sides.

CMYK color

It is important that your document is created using CMYK in order to produce the most accurate color possible, especially when working with images and bright colored objects. Most images use RGB color, which can make them appear slightly brighter than they will actually print. Using Photoshop is the easiest way to change your images from RGB to CMYK very quickly. Open the file and click Image > Mode  > CMYK color. This will convert the color values and make the image printer friendly.

Image Resolution

It is important to always use high-resolution images when creating a printed piece. The higher the resolution, the sharper your image will look. Ideal image resolution is 300dpi. To see what the resolution of an image is, or to change it, open it in Photoshop. Click Image > Image Size and a dialogue box will appear that tells you how big the image is. Note that if you change the resolution, the size of the image itself will also change.

image-resolution-photoshopCreating a PDF

Creating a PDF is the easiest way to ensure that your document will get sent to the printer with all its pieces correctly in place. There are certain rules you should follow when exporting a PDF from an Adobe program which are highlighted below.

InDesign

To create a PDF from InDesign, go to File > Export. Name your file accordingly and select your file destination. Be sure to change the format to Adobe PDF, then press Save. A dialogue box will appear.

Change the following options:

• Select Adobe PDF Preset: Press Quality

•  If your document has a bleed, click on Marks and Bleeds and check off Use Document Bleed Settings.

• Click Export

create-pdf-indesign

Illustrator

To create a PDF from Illustrator, go to Go to File >  Save As. Name your file accordingly and select your file destination. Be sure to change the format to Adobe PDF, then press Save.

A dialogue box will appear.

Change the following options:

• Select Adobe PDF Preset: Press Quality

• If your document has a bleed, click on Marks and Bleeds and enter a value of .125” on top, bottom, left and right.

• Click Save PDF

create-pdf-illustratorPhotoshop

Before you create a PDF from Photoshop, make sure your color mode is CMYK, your resolution is 300ppi and your layers are flattened.

Once this is done go to File >  Save As. Name your file accordingly and select your file destination. Be sure to change the format to Photoshop PDF, then press Save.

A dialogue box will appear.

Change the following options:

• Select Adobe PDF Preset: Press Quality

• Click Save PDF

create-pdf-photoshop

Have you found these tips helpful?
If so, please share!


Tags: print, graphic design, graphic designer, digital printing, bleeds, tutorial, color, Adobe Creative Suite