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Tips for File Preparation

To insure the most efficient processing of your files, follow these file preparation tips.

Electronic File Preparation

  • Prepress is primarily Macintosh based. We accept files created with the following applications: QuarkXpress, InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, PDF (please see our PDF PostScripting Instruction Kit).
  • In addition we are equipped to handle the following PC files. We support the following programs in PC platform: QuarkXpress, Illustrator, Photoshop, PDF
  • We are also prepared to receive electronic files on the following media types: CD-ROM, DVD, Zip Disk, FireWire HD, USB HD.
  • We can also receive files by E-mail and FTP. Please compress files before sending, if files are sent without being compressed data loss will occur. Please contact your sales representative for setting up an account for you, or you can use our public account if you wish. Setting up your own account with your own user name and password increases security.

File Requirements

  • All digital files linked to your final documents must be supplied these include all fonts both screen and printer fonts, directly imported graphics and graphics placed into illustration files. Include only the most recent versions of these files. Disks should be clear of unnecessary files as they add confusion to the job and take up unnecessary space.
  • Page size should match size of printed piece before folding.
  • Pages should be setup as single pages, we will create the imposition of pages.
  • Folds should be indicated in your documents. Folds should be indicated with dashed crop marks placed near the edge of the page indicating correct panel size.
  • ¼” of bleed image should extend beyond your page edge also allow ¼” safety.
  • Colors should be correctly specified as CMYK process of PMS depending on the inks used on the press run. Also you should identify the process build of a spot color meant to be converted to process for printing, as different programs or versions of programs may identify a spot color process build differently. PANTONE regularly updates its spot to process definitions.


  • All fonts used in a document must be supplied, also fonts used in illustration files must also be supplied. We suggest use of postscript type 1 fonts. Postscript fonts are comprised of a screen font and a printer font. Both must be supplied for proper output of your files. Prepress does have its own fonts, but due to the ability to edit fonts and differences from font manufacturers we can not insure proper output without the exact fonts used to create the document.
  • Do not stylize fonts but rather use the correct font style as this insures proper output.

Collection Software

  • InDesign and QuarkXpress both have collect for output directly without the use of external software. Files should be collected by the page layout application, or with the aid of a collection utility software. All links and fonts must be collected, including fonts used in placed EPS files. Do not collect fonts into a single suitcase.


  • All images linked to the final document must be supplied in order to print the document correctly. Images placed within art which is imported into the final document must also be supplied. Some software such as Adobe Illustrator will allow you to embed an image in the illustration, this can be seen in the Links dialog box.
  • Links to any imported images must be established, and updated to the most recent versions of the images.
  • When placing TIFF images into a picture box in Quark, the box must not be set to “none”. Use white instead (other process colors may be used with grayscale images to achieve colorized effects).


  • White should not be used as a color when making spot color gradients. A gradient of 100% Pantone 293 should go from 100% Pantone 293 to 0% of Pantone 293. Please let us know if this is desired as this is not a function of illustrator.
  • In illustrator you should open the swatches pallet and select all unused colors and delete.
  • The Illustrator “Document Effect Raster Settings” must be set to High Resolution (300 dpi or better) or else transparency and other raster effects will generate low resolution image son output. This setting is global to the document, and must be set before creating / saving files with transparency and effects.
  • Proper resolution of scans used for 175 line screen printing should be 2100 dpi and saved as bitmap. Although scans of 300 dpi and 1800 dpi bitmaps are acceptable.
  • When using OSX and storing files on a Windows or Unix based server, Samba should not be used as data loss will occur.

PostScript & PDF’s

  • PDF’s should NOT be generated directly from either Quark or InDesign. Instead PostScripts should be generated and distilled to PDF in Acrobat Distiller, using the appropriate Distiller Job options. When printing PostScript to disk please refer to our PostScripting Instructions Kit.



100 Castle Road
Secaucus, NJ 07096

t: 201.863.8100
t: 212.929.4687
f: 201.863.5443

If you have any questions regarding File Prep. please contact your Command Web Offset sales representative or production coordinator for assistance. They will put you in touch with one of our prepress technicians.