What Does it Mean to Supply A “Press Ready” File?

Blog » What Does it Mean to Supply A “Press Ready” File?
February 23, 2016
Solution: Print Solutions
Industry: Education
creative team working on a logo design

If you answered, “Supplying a 1-up high-resolution PDF in the correct color mode with crop marks and bleeds,” you get a gold star!

Here are a few tips and tricks that will seriously impress your friendly neighborhood printing company…

High Resolution

Files must have a minimum of 300 DPI (dots per inch) resolution to ensure a high-quality print. Images designed for the web have a low resolution of 72 DPI and will not work well in print materials.

Color Modes

When it comes to print there are three possible color modes and every file needs to be checked to confirm it is built in the correct color according to the final specifications according to how your job is going to be printed.

  • CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black) is the standard color model used in printing full-color documents. Anything printing in full color should be built in CMYK color mode.
  • PMS (Pantone Matching System) is used by the printing industry to print spot colors. This allows you to specify colors by indicating the Pantone name/number and assures you get exact color when the file is printed. If printing with spot colors, the correct spot colors should be included in the file.
  • Black and White: If a document is printing in black, the file should be built in black only (not a build of RGB or CMYK).

Crop Marks, Safe Space and Bleed

All documents must allow for accurate cutting space. Borders are not recommended, as shifting in the printing and cutting process may make borders appear uneven.

  • 3/16” safe zone.
  • 1/8” bleed (Bleed is the portion of the product that will be trimmed off when it is cut to final size and ensures that a white border doesn’t appear on the final piece).
  • Include bleed and crop marks on the final PDF supplied.


We prefer to receive files as high resolution PDFs with crops and bleeds. We can work with other file formats but they may require additional setup before files are “press ready” and may result in additional fees. Please include ALL linked files and fonts for these formats:

Adobe Creative Suite –

  • Photoshop
  • Illustrator
  • InDesign

CorelDraw X3 or earlier

Quark Express 7.0 or earlier

Microsoft –

  • Publisher 2003 or later
  • Word
  • Excel
  • PowerPoint

If you follow these tips, your files will be ready much sooner and with zero hassle, guaranteed!

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For over 25 years, Strategic Factory has been a family-owned industry leader in Maryland, offering only the best in service and craftsmanship in a variety of products and solutions.