Frequently Asked Questions

In what format do you want my files?

All files must be in PDF format.

Can’t I just send you the working file and you can make the PDF?

No. The great thing about PDF files is that all your carefully compiled page elements are built right into the file. Your PDF is made from your files and your fonts on your system. This completely avoids the problems of missing pictures or incorrect fonts.

Do you have special requirements for PDF files?

No. If you are comfortable generating PDF files for Commercial Pre-Press there are no special requirements. If you are not sure or want to optimize your file size for us, see the “Making PDF files” section on the Best Practices page and download our Settings.

Can I email files?

Because email has seemingly random size limitations and unpredictable delays we prefer you to upload files to our FTP site.

How do I know if my files were uploaded completely?

You should be able to see your files in our directory, hit the refresh button on your FTP software if necessary. If we are removing the files quickly you will see them move to the /Done directory. This means we have already taken them to use. We are aware that some FTP softwares on the Windows OS do not display the files or directories correctly. The only solution for this would be to try a different FTP program.

Common Mistakes!

Not checking each page before sending it to us.

Believe it or not computers seem to be capable of messing things up. For that reason it is critical that the person most familiar with the job look at each page after the PDF is made and before it is submitted to us. Our Pre-Press system is completely automated so it is possible for a job to reach the press without anyone (on our end) noticing editorial mistakes.

Choosing colors from the default palette in the page layout program.

Defying common sense, Adobe, Quark etc. fill up their pallets with colors that look great on the screen but will print completely different. The most obvious example is the standard blue; it looks like a nice deep blue on the screen but it’s CMYK values are 100% Cyan and 100% Magenta which will print purple, not blue at all. Solution: Find good CMYK values to assign to your colors.

Not providing any Bleed image.

A Bleed is when a page element (picture, background, etc.) is meant to run right off the page, not stopping at the margin (resulting in no white border). Because the trimming process is not perfect, extra image is required. For optimal results, make sure there is at least a 0.25 inch bleed on each side where a bleed effect is desired. For example if you are printing a 8.25×10.25 book and want bleed on all sides, the (with bleed) size would be 8.75×10.75.

Sending pages that are in the RGB (Red,Green,Blue) color space.

Since printing is done in the CMYK (Cyan, Magenta,Yellow,Black) space, RGB files do not reproduce as expected. Sometimes this is just the result of incorrect Distiller settings. Surprisingly, this is a common problem with files supplied by big name ad agencies who should know better.
Solution: Double check that you are using Distiller settings that do not convert the color space to RGB. Our Distiller settings (see Making PDF Files on Best Practices) are a good choice. (Note: you can not change RGB files to CMYK during the convert to PDF process, it must be done by hand in your layout/photo editing software.)
*If the problem is with a supplied file there is not much that the average user can do except request a corrected file. In some cases we may be able to convert the file with the help of some fairly expensive specialty software (Enfocus, Pitstop, etc). Contact us as soon as you suspect a problem.

Ignoring the Distiller output log.

During the covert to PDF process a log is generated listing all errors. You can set the Distiller preferences to delete the log on successful jobs so that when you see a log file next to your newly generated PDF you know that some kind of error occurred. The most common errors are font related. For example, if a font could not be embedded that font will not print correctly. Solution: Read the log file and determine if there is reason to believe that the file will not reproduce as intended.

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