How to Check Files for Print Readiness Using Adobe Creative Suite

Illustrator

  1. Click Transform under Window drop down or (⇧F8 for Mac) to open the dialog box that will show you the sizes of artboards and components
  2. If you have a document with multiple page sizes, check the size of each artboard using the Artboard Tool (⇧O for Mac) and separate the different sizes into individually sized documents.
  3. Use Artboard Tool to check the size of each artboard (⇧O for Mac)
    • Are the width and height set to the correct finish size?
  4. Click Document Setup under File drop down (⌥⌘P for Mac)
    • Is the bleed set to the minimum requested by your vendor?
  5. Hover over Document Color Space under File drop down
    • Is this set to the color space specified by your vendor?
  6. Are your background colors and/or photos pulled out far enough to supply the bleed set by your document set up?
  7. Open Links dialog box by clicking Links under Window drop down
    • Are all of the link’s resolution at the minimum your vendor specified?
    Embedded links may not give you correct information.
    Note: Your raster image may be 300 dpi originally, however the resolution drops in proportion to the size of enlargement i.e., a 300dpi file enlarged 200% will be 150dpi.
    • Are all of the links in the color space specified by your vendor? Grayscale images are acceptable for both CMYK and RGB requirements. Embedded links may not give you this information.
    • You can “Relink” your embedded images under the Links options menu, make sure you click the “Link” check box when choosing the file to place.
  8. Click Swatches under Window drop down to open the dialog box
    • “Add Used Colors” in the Swatches menu options, this will add any colors you created but did not save as a swatch to give you a quick view list of all colors. You can also Select All Unused and trash them.
    • Are all swatches in the color space specified by your vendor? Hover over each swatch color to determine its color space.
  9. Click Find Font… under Type drop down
    • Are there any fonts within the document?
    • Do you need to correct any missing fonts identified with a yellow attention icon?
    • If your vendor needs you to convert fonts to outlines make sure you do so by selecting all the text, ungrouping it and click Create Outlines under type drop down (⇧⌘O for Mac)
  10. View the layout at Actual Size or 100% (⌘1 for Mac) and scroll around the page
    • Are all the linked components of a quality acceptable to you? Your images may technically be high resolution, but that does not always mean high quality.
  11. Package your Illustrator file by clicking Package under File drop down (⌥⇧⌘P for Mac)
    • Copy Links, Collect links in separate folder, Relink linked files to document and Copy Fonts when prompted
Adobe Illustrator Links dialog box
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Adobe Illustrator Swatches dialog box
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 Adobe Illustrator find font dialog box
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EPS files will need to be evaluated in the native program used to build them, use the Illustrator and Photoshop instructions for checking your file. An EPS file often has an unnecessarily large file size, you can save it as a PDF from Illustrator or Photoshop for a smaller more manageable file.

Most vendors will prefer that you send only one finish size within each indesign document as it eliminates confusion and any additional work your vendor may need to do with your files to send them to their printer. If you have a document with multiple page sizes, check the size of each page using the Page Tool (⇧P for Mac) and separate the different sizes into individually sized documents.

  1. Click Document Setup under File drop down (⌥⌘P for Mac)
    • Are the width and height set to the correct finish size?
    • Is the bleed set to the minimum requested by your vendor?
  2. Are your background colors and/or photos pulled out far enough to supply the bleed set by your document set up?
  3. Open Links dialog box by clicking Links under Window drop down (⇧⌘D for Mac)
    • Are all of the link’s resolution at the minimum your vendor specified?
    Note: Your raster image may be 300 dpi originally, however the resolution drops in proportion to the size of enlargement i.e., a 300dpi file enlarged 200% will be 150dpi
    • Are all of the links in the color space specified by your vendor? Grayscale images are acceptable for both CMYK and RGB requirements.
    • Do you need to correct any missing links identified with a red question mark icon?
  4. Hover over Colors under the Window drop down click Swatches to open the dialog box (F5 for Mac)
    • “Add Unnamed Colors” in the Swatches menu options, this will add any colors you created but did not save as a swatch to give you a quick view list of all colors. You can also Select All Unused and trash them.
    • Are all swatches in the color space specified by your vendor? The icon to the right of the swatch name will give you a visual queue on which color space it’s built in.
  5. Click Find Font… under Type drop down
    • Are there any fonts within the document?
    • Do you need to correct any missing fonts identified with a yellow attention icon?
    • If your vendor needs you to convert fonts to outlines make sure you do so by selecting all the text, ungrouping it and click Create Outlines under type drop down (⇧⌘O for Mac)
  6. View the layout at Actual Size or 100% (⌘1 for Mac) and scroll around the page
    • Are all the components of a quality acceptable to you? Your images may technically be high resolution, but that does not always mean high quality.
  7. Package your Indesign file by clicking Package under File drop down (⌥⇧⌘P for Mac)
    • The dialog box will give you an overview of fonts, links and color space calling out any potential problems with a yellow attention icon, if all is well, click Package…
    • Copy Fonts, Copy Linked Graphics, Update Graphic Links in Package, and Include IDML when prompted
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Adobe Indesign Find Font dialog box
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Acrobat Pro

  1. Hover your cursor in the bottom left corner of the file, a document size will pop up. Your document size will be inclusive of any crop marks or bleed within the pdf.
    Note: InDesign adds .58″ to the document width and height when you include crop marks and bleeds .25″ or smaller, i.e., a 24″x36″ file will be 24.58″x36.58″ with crops and bleed.
  2. Click Preflight from Edit drop down menu (⇧⌘X for Mac)
  3. Click arrow to the left of “PDF analysis”
  4. Click “List page objects, grouped by type of object”
  5. Click Analyze and watch for the following
    • If your vendor doesn’t accept fonts, your file shouldn’t have “text objects”
    • Resolution of your images are listed along with their color space (CMYK and RGB) if any of the images are a lower resolution than your vendor’s requirements or if any of the images are in the wrong color space these should be corrected before sending it to print.
  6. For a more detailed look at your document, Adobe Acrobat Pro has a Print Production tool that you can set as a shortcut to check all of your files, its menu includes preflight, ink manager and output previews which will tell you what is happening in the document. You can find this under the Edit menu and clicking “Manage Tools”.
  7. View the layout at Actual Size or 100% (⌘1 for Mac) and scroll around the page
    • Are all the components of a quality acceptable to you? Your images may technically be high resolution, but that does not always mean high quality.
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is GVH-preflight-acrobat.png

Files like bmp and gifs are created specifically for screen viewing or animation and are rarely acceptable for print, however you may use this method to check them.

Photoshop

  1. Click Image Size under the Image drop down (⌥⌘I for Mac)
    • Is the file large enough to print to your final size, including the bleed your vendor requires?
    • Is the file’s resolution at the minimum your vendor specified?
  2. Hover over Mode under the Image drop down
    • Is the file in the color space specified by your vendor? Grayscale images are acceptable for both CMYK and RGB requirements.
  3. View the image at 100% size (⌘1 for Mac)
    • Is the quality acceptable to you? Your images may technically be high resolution, but that does not always mean high quality.
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