To have a positive relationship with your printer you need to know how to format your print files for the printer you have chosen. This can be a simple as emailing a file you have been working on. In other cases the printer may ask you to save the file with special settings that make the color information harmonize with traditional printing protocol.
One of the major differences between the color information used by your desktop printer and the information used with a printing press is in how color is perceived. Desktop printers view color as Red, Green and Blue, opaque colors you cannot see through. Commercial printers view colors as Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black, transparent colors that when combined form a full color picture. White is actually the presence of magenta, blue and yellow, and black is the absence of magenta, blue and yellow. Unless you have played with a prism, that probably doesn’t make sense.
Many printers will request that you send a file that includes CMYK information. This means that the one file will actually supply the printer with four separate pieces of information that can be turned into a printing plate for each color. MS Publisher can create this type of file. Other publishing software probably does as well.
Other printers will do this file conversion for you. Most word processing programs cannot create CMYB information. The printer must use their own software to convert your file into a format that they can use. This is an invaluable service as many businesses really don’t need the power of Adobe Illustrator or MS Publisher to function effectively. No business can function without a word processing program (unless it hasn’t entered the computer age).
Many online companies offer you online design tools. Any files you create using their tools will automatically be formatted for that printer.
Print File Format Q&A
Will the finished job look the same as it did on my monitor?
Most of the time the appearance of the finished job is quite close to what you see on your computer monitor. But you will find that there are differences. Monitors use the RGB process to render color. Shifts occur when information is converted over to CMYB. The differences are usually insignificant.
I really like the price of an online printer, but my file format is incompatible. Are there any options I can use?
Many companies will allow you download a trial copy of their software. The trial can last anywhere from 10 to 30 days. If you have the time to learn the software, this is one option. Another option is to pay Adobe a small fee, and get your file converted to PDF format. PDF is compatible with many publishers who avoid document formats.
In some cases you will end up choosing your printer based on the ability you have to communicate through file formats. Some printers can communicate with most of the software out there. Others can only work with a select few. Each printer will specify which formats they work best with. If you shop around, you will find a quality printer you can work with.
If you are in the market for printing services, try the printing price search here at PrintingChoice.com. Each of the printing companies featured in this powerful search tool accept the most common file types and give personalized support to make sure your print job goes smoothly, even if files are not your forte.