How to Prep Files for Print – A Guide To Getting The Best Results

Kendall Press happily provides this short course on what is meant by “HI RES FILES” for printing.  Here’s how to prep files with the best resolution for printing to ensure that you get the finest possible print output quality from your print shop.
First, here are Key Enablers:
  • A high-resolution file is defined as 300 DPI or higher, and in CMYK mode for printing. They can be TIFFs and EPS files BUT PDF IS THE BEST OPTION
  • Preflighting is the process of checking digital files prior to sending off to printing.
  • Font problems are the most common problem encountered with digital files. Things like missing and strangely morphed fonts that computer to computer transmission conspire to create


  • Because of the difference between the way additive and subtractive colors are seen, color variations will be experienced when viewing colors from different light sources.
  • ADDITIVE PRIMARY COLORS: The red, green, and blue (RGB) components of light are called additive primaries. The display of all monitors is RGB.
  • SUBTRACTIVE PRIMARY COLORS: A color system in which pigments, cyan, magenta and yellow of printing inks, are mixed to form other colors. Subtractive colors are created by light being reflected rather than emitted.
  • RBG COLORS vs CMYK COLORS: All computer monitors create color via RGB components. The RGB mode has many millions MORE colors than the CMYK spectrum. There is just one problem with all of this. Print is NOT RGB.


  • PREP 300 DPI images at desired print size using CMYK.
  • Deliver a PDF with all fonts, colors, layout complete and ready to print and deliver this with the original (native) files of Illustrator or InDesign WANT MORE TECHNICAL INFORMATION? SEE: HIGH RESOLUTION FILES definedAND: IMAGE SIZE Define High Resolution Photography |
  • The image is described by the number of pixels that make up its width by the number that make up its length. For example, an image 1280 pixels wide by 1024 pixels tall contains more detail than an image 800 pixels wide by 600 pixels tall. The 1280 x 1024 image is at a higher resolution. Multiplying the two numbers together and dividing by one million results in the familiar megapixel number we associate with digital cameras.
  • ALSO CHECK OUT PDF preparing Adobe PDF files for high resolution printing from ADOBE. The article is a little dated (from a software release level standpoint) but very good detail for the technical mind that needs to prep files for print.
FAQ, prepping hi res files for print, print, print tips

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