Does your business find that the files they send to print often look different from what they intended? Printing can be quite complicated, especially if none of your staff members are skilled in print and design. There are a few major problems that most people run into when sending files to their copy service.
1. Sending the File in the Wrong Format
Most printers use files in a vector format. These files are commonly .PDF, .AI or .SVG. Other printers will accept files in .GIF, .JPG or .DOC—but it's rare comparatively. You should always ask which file format is necessary for printing. There are many programs you can use to convert files from one file type to another. In general, though, almost every copy service will be able to use .PDF (a universal portable document format).
2. Using Files That Are Too Small
All image and document files have a size, also known as a resolution. If a file is too small, it will always look a little blurry when it's printed. But the size that is required depends on how large you're attempting to print it—so you need to ask the printing service what their minimum resolution is. If your original file is too small, you can't just make it bigger; it will still be blurry. You need to start with a file that is that size or larger.
3. Not Properly Embedding Fonts and Images
If you're sending a .doc file or something similar, you should be aware that the fonts and images aren't necessarily embedded. This means that you can see them because it's on your computer, but when it's sent to someone else they won't be able to see it. This can lead to a lot of confusion because it may not be obvious to them that the fonts have changed or images are not available.
4. Using the Wrong Margins and Document Settings
In general, most documents are very specific standardized sizes, such as letter size and legal size. Even if not, there are certain margins that are difficult to print. Most printers need at least an eighth of an inch as a margin around to print properly—otherwise it will be more expensive to print all the way to the end of the page. It's not always necessary to have the exact size, but it is necessary to have the exact ratio between width and height.
When in doubt, always head down to the copy service yourself and ask to see a preview. They should be able to load your file up and show you exactly how it will look when it's printed on their devices. They can also give you tips on how to improve the quality of your print while you're there.