printing directions

Formatting Your File

paperjampdx Uncategorized


Hi All!

I’m back to explain how to format your file correctly for printing! This past month, we’ve realized that many of our customers are uneducated on how to give us files, preventing us from printing orders as requested, and making our turnaround time much longer than average. I hope to lay down exactly how to work your file for a printing press in order to print your order more accurately and much more quickly.

First thing’s first, when creating your file, determine if it needs BLEEDS! Any document that has color or imagery that touches the edge of the document, needs bleeds. Bleeds are extensions of your document 1/8 of an inch on each of the four sides. This means, any images or colors that meet the edge of your document need to be extended 1/8 of an inch on each of the four sides. In order to achieve a document with a bleed, it is easiest to create your document layout by adding .25 inches to each of your two dimensions, height and width.

This allows for .125 inches or 1/8 of an inch extension on all four sides. Bleeds are necessary for printing, as they allow for a more precise cut after your file has been printed in a grid-like organization on large sheets of paper. It’s easy to check your document’s dimensions by looking under Document Preferences, Document Set-Up, or File Information (depending on which program you use to design your files).

Secondly, your file’s resolution is insanely important! A higher resolution = a sharper image. We recommend saving your file with a 300dpi (dots per inch) resolution. Any image saved under a 200dpi will appear blurry and/or pixelated (two things we dread!). And any image saved over 300dpi will be too large of a file, bogging down the printing process. In order to save your file at a higher resolution, you can go into the Preferences, Document Set-Up, or File Information, again, to alter your dpi.

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72 dpi

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300 dpi

Thirdly, your file must be in a PDF format. Typically our customers design their files in Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator, saving these files as PDFs is very simple. When saving files in Photoshop or Illustrator, there is an option for saving your file as a PDF instead of a PSD or AI file, in the drop-down menu under Save-As. You’re also able to save Microsoft Word documents and Powerpoint slides as PDFs in the same fashion.

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Lastly, sending your file can be complicated! If you’re sending your file to us via email, it needs to be under 10MB. If your file is over 10MB, we will not receive it; we won’t even get a notification that your email was sent. If your file is over 10MB, you can upload it to our website ( under the Send Us Your Files tab. We can receive your file either through email or our website, so no need to worry about your file getting lost!

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I hope I’ve covered the basics of how to format your file for printing! We are always willing to help you troubleshoot file problems, though we do recommend trying these steps prior to asking for our help.

It’s always nice talking to you all!