Pre-Press Specifications

Check It

Each manufacturing facility has unique specifications and requirements so it is imperative to adhere to all of our file specifications. Do not assume what is required at other facilities will necessarily work for all of our production needs. During customer file creation should proper file specifications get overlooked or missed, that can result in errors in the finished product.

File Specifications

(1) Proofing

Submit print files via our ftp site: CLICK HERE TO SEND FILES

By the time your project is submitted for printing, you need to have thoroughly proofed the files. Please make sure you pre-flight and proof all files for accuracy before sending them to press. Our pre-press systems are automated and your files are not personally reviewed or proofed by any of our technicians or representatives. Interprint does not assume liability for errors on printing proofs that show in that completed project, regardless of the origin (see the two related topics on resolution and built black type below). Interprint is not responsible for the proofing of your files or proofreading of the proofs. All projects at Interprint are produced with proofs for customer approval, before the production process can occur.

Please Return All Proofs – We Need Them To Make Your Order. All hard copy proofs need to be returned to Interprint before we can proceed with the printing and binding of your project. This includes both the Epson color proof and folded/stitched Gerber proof. It is imperative that all proofs sent to you are signed by the buyer, then are returned back to Interprint so our production can begin.
* Proofs are used by our machine operators during the production of your order.
* Proofs are like blue prints or building plans. Without them we can’t build your project.

(2) Recommended Files – For printing only send files in CMYK format


Interprint recommends PDF files (CMYK). The accuracy of the processed data (your supplied files) depends on the features that are used in the creation of the document (i.e. transparency, color management, overprinting, etc).

Even using popular software to create a PDF file will not guarantee the file will process exactly the way it appears on the monitor.

Unfortunately, there are different issues that can arise depending on the platform (MAC or PC), the software used, the version of the software and even the features within the software used / selected to create the document during your file creation.

WYSIWYG , which is an acronym for “what you see is what you get” , the content (text and graphics) displayed onscreen during editing and file creation appears in a form “closely” corresponding to its appearance when printed or displayed as a finished product. The key here is that WYSIWYG is not absolute, and there can be a difference from the appearance on screen (your monitor) and the end printed product. Some software settings you may select will then display differently (on your monitor) compared to the “processed” file, which is necessary and part of the prepress / printing process.

(3) File Size – Send Files The Correct And True Size, Plus Bleeds

trim size info 4When preparing your document page size, then uploading your files to our prepress system, it is important that they are set up with the proper trim size that was intended and quoted for your project.

Should you receive the warning displayed in the illustration shown here, it means that your document is not matching the project specifications we understood your project was planned for. When documents do not match the pre-set specification for our program software, your page will be cropped incorrectly, and items on that page can be cut off and printed incorrectly. When viewing proofs online the “whole incorrect sized document is displayed”, therefore it can be hard to determine how the actual trim area will be on the actual printed piece.

The recommended and safest way to see and understand page position and cropping is always to review hard copy proofs which are produced on every project, please request to review hard copy proofs if desired. Your submitted PDF document size files need to match the trim size of your project, and the additional bleed provided should be .125” on all four sides.

(4) Your Computer Monitor / Display

Your computer monitor displays color in the RGB color model. RGB monitors can display more colors than can be matched in print. Conversely, some CMYK colors cannot be matched on-screen. Moreover, RGB gamuts vary widely between devices with some gamuts being considerably wider than others. WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) doesn’t always apply. The color you worked so hard to get “just right” on your monitor doesn’t look the same when you print it. By their very natures, monitors and printing presses reproduce color in completely different ways. A monitor uses the RGB color model. A printing press, by contrast, uses the CMYK color model. Moreover, RGB and CMYK have different color gamuts, or ranges of reproducible colors. It’s always best and recommended to review the hard copy physical proofs to ensure you are satisfied with color and content before the project is produced.

(5) When Reviewing Your Proofs

If you do not mark changes or errors on your proofs that need to be made, errors will show in the finished printed product. There is no substitution to checking your proofs carefully to ensure accuracy. Please note that Interprint DOES NOT review proofs as our prepress systems are automated and not physically reviewed by any Interprint Employee.

(6) USPS Mail Regulations

Interprint DOES NOT provide advice or approval to customer’s proofs, designs or physical attributes of the printed piece in regards to USPS regulations and compliance issues. It is recommended that you work directly with the USPS in all matters concerning standards, regulations and acceptance of the printed piece and ability to mail in accordance with the USPS. Your artwork / files are used “as is” therefore it is very important that all the correct information is included and set up correctly for the mailing process. Please note that Interprint DOES NOT review proofs as our prepress systems are automated and not physically reviewed by any Interprint Employee.

For assistance with mailpiece design questions and review of your mailpieces, contact a Mailpiece Design Analyst by contacting the MDA Support Center:

  • Phone 855-593-6093

  • Send a request via email to

  • The MDA Support Center is open Monday – Friday, 7:00 am – 5:00 pm, CT.

(7) Submit High Resolution Files

When reviewing proofs, please keep in mind that images viewed on your monitor where you designed your project, and the hard copy color proofs, are either presented or made from different equipment, and media, compared to the traditional offset printing process / press that your order will be printed with. It is important to ONLY submit high resolution files. It is your responsibility to submit files in the correct High Resolution format.

(8) Do Not Build Black Type Or Art

Do not build black type, or other elements intended to just print in black, in CMYK / 4-color process. This will cause undesirable printing results such as color variation and poor registration in the end printed product. When reviewing proofs, black type built in CMYK can be hard to visually detect during the proofing process. It is your responsibility to submit files in the correct printing file format.

(9) Making Changes At The Proofing Stage

If a change is made on a page of a magazine, catalog or brochure, please note that the entire page may be re-ripped. Therefore, it is imperative that you re-check all information of the entire new proofs. Do not just look at your changes, review everything on the new proof for accuracy. It is VERY important review all proofs carefully before the project is printed.

(10) Natives Files Can Be Problematic

Customer Supplied Media – Customers who supply native files run a greater risk of problems with the way their files process. Issues with fonts, placed images, transparency, and overprinting are more common with this traditional postscript workflow. The popular file format to supply is PDF.

  • PC and Mac.

  • Submit print files via our ftp site: CLICK HERE TO SEND FILES

  • Please provide hard copy dummy or mock up at the time you submit your files so we may compare to our proofs.

(11) File Formats We Process

  • Popular file format to supply – PDF
    PDF Setting: High resolution PDF/X-4 setting. (CMYK)
    Color Profile: SWOP2006_Coated3v2. Regardless of what profile is attached, we strip out all profiles attached to the file, then add back SWOP2006_Coated3v2 at the processing stage.

  • Native file formats from popular desktop publishing software: QuarkXpress, InDesign.

(12) Print Documents

  • Only send the documents that you want us to output. Delete all other files from the disk/media you supply to Interprint.

  • Make sure the document is the actual size being printed, plus 1/8″ bleed. If not, please specify enlargement or reduction for imaging. Bleed Info: Any image that bleeds off the page must extend at least 1/8″ (.125″).

  • Gather all “output documents”, “fonts” and “supports” and place them into three individual folders.

  • When creating a book, have all the pages in one document as single pages, not spreads.
  • When creating a book:

    Saddlestitch Products (Self Cover or Plus Cover) All pages in one document as single pages, not spreads (including the cover)

    Perfect Bound Products:
    * Text (inside pages): All pages in one document as single pages, not spreads.
    * Cover: Create a separate document for the 4 page cover, as a spread, including the spine (check with your Interprint representative for correct spine width)

  • Supply laser prints with your job so we may compare them to the proofs.

(13) Fonts

  • Supply all screen and printer fonts, or truetype fonts used in the job and linked supports.

  • Supply all fonts and placed images with your linked supports.

  • Do not assign type attributes (bold, italic, bold italic); instead, use the correct font.
    This will avoid using a type style you do not have an actual screen and printer font for.

(14) Print Graphics

  • Do Not Send Low Resolution Files, Only Send Hi Resolution Files. All photos and graphics need to be at least 300 dpi. All line art or bitmap images needs to be 1200 dpi. Photos and graphics supplied less then 300dpi (what can be found on most websites are usually only 72 dpi.) will reproduce poorly.

  • Warning On Low Res Files Or Upsampled Files: Web images are mostly lower resolution like 72 or 96 dpi files. This resolution is fine for Internet viewing, but is not acceptable for use in printing. Do not save images or graphics from a website to use in your print project. Upsampling – Is when a low resolution image is saved to a higher resolution with no changes in dimensions. Upsampling adds more pixels/dots per inch (dpi), but creates blurry or non-desirable results in the printing image. The only way resolution can be somewhat improved, is by decreasing the image size, or by recapturing the image at a higher quality setting. When you upsample low res files, you can still net poor results, even though a pre-flight software screening will pass the file. Such screening software now sees the file “labeled with higher resolution”, but most often the image is still far below the desired printing results. To further complicate low res files, modern proofing equipment can camouflage the look of lower resolution files, by looking clearer or crisper on the proof, compared to the end results in the actual offset printing. The key to success is to supply hi res files prepared properly for the offset printing process.

  • Do not build black type, or other elements intended to just print in black, in CMYK / 4-color process. This will cause undesirable printing results such as color variation and poor registration in the end printed product.

  • CMYK – Only send files in CMYK format

  • ICC Profiles: Our preference is that NO ICC profile is attached to the file. Once your file is processed for press, this profile will be used: SWOP2006_Coated3v2. Therefore, regardless of what profile is attached, we strip out all profiles attached to the file, then add back SWOP2006_Coated3v2 at the processing stage. If you must attached an ICC profile, be sure this profile is used.

(15) Perfect Binding And Saddlestitch Layout Specifications

Perfect Binding and Saddlestitch Binding require different page / file set up. Please review our file specifications before files are designed or set up. Use the below illustration as a guideline to set up your documents for either Perfect Binding or Sadddlestitch products. If you have any questions regarding preparing your files, please contact us before your start your documents.

* Gutter Area – Safe Margin Zone –  See below illustrations for gutter area / safe margin zone.

* Saddlestitch Gutter – Requires safe margin zone of 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch depending on how many total pages your project has.

* Perfect Binding Gutter – Requires safe margin zone of 1/2 inch to 5/8 inch depending on how many total pages your project has, and due to the glued spine and hinge involved in our perfect binding process.

Gutter Safe Zone

(16) Bleeds

  • Bleeds 1/8″ (.125″) SHOWN AS THE GRAY AREA IN ILLUSTRATION ABOVE: Any image that bleeds off the page must extend at least 1/8″ (.125″). Your documents must contain “bleeds” of at least 1/8 that extend past your desired trim size.

  • Safe Margin Zone / Live Area 3/16″ (.1875) – SHOWN AS THE BLUE AREA IN ILLUSTRATION ABOVE:  All type and critical graphics not intended to bleed, keep out of the safe margin zone. Any copy in this area is in danger of being trimmed or obstructed.

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