File Preparation

PDF Export Settings

To ensure your data is best prepared for offset print, we recommend saving your files as PDF/X-3:2002 standard.

In the following you will find a step-by-step guide through the required export settings of Adobe InDesign; when exporting from Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, you will have less functions available for ink management, but the overall settings are the same.

You will notice rather quickly that PDF export in any professional layout software is structured in a similar manner, and most of them offer PDF/X-3 standard in a preset or drop-down menu. Unfortunately we are unable to list instructions for all programs available and kindly ask you to check your program's help files or tutorials if needed. Thank you in advance for your understanding!

1. PDF Standards

When using Adobe InDesign, save your PDF through File menu > "Export...", should you use Illustrator or Photoshop plesase choose File > "Save as...".

You will find the PDF/X-3:2002 Standard in the Adobe PDF Presets drop-down menu.

2. Compression 

You will notice that the correct image compression of 300 dpi is already set just by choosing the PDF/X-3 Standard.

No further changes are required here and you can move on directly to the next section.

3. Marks and Bleeds

Your file requires bleed on all sides in order to achieve a high quality print result.

The bleed is not added by default, so this is where you need to enable the checkbox "Use Document Bleed Settings".

As soon as the checkbox is enabled, InDesign will read your document's bleed settings and add them as greyed out. Should you receive a value of 0", please double-check that your document canvas is the correct size according to our file templates (and correct your document size and bleed settings if required).

Please take note: The amount of bleed required varies with products ordered; you will find the correct file setup information in our file templates. Furthermore, please do not add printer's marks. By adding these you are changing the final document size of your file which will lead to an upload error and the file will be declined by our automated data check during upload.

4. Output

In this section you are able to set the documents color conversion and output intent. This is useful in case your document contains left over RGB elements, which InDesign will automatically convert to CMYK mode when choosing this option. Please take note, this function does not replace the neccessity to create your graphic elements in CMYK, it should rather be seen as a helpful added feature to convert your CMYK to the correct print profile.

Should you choose to convert to color destination, please ensure you select "Preserve Numbers". This way the number values of e.g. your black settings are kept and you don't run risk to accidentially convert a pure 100% K black used for texts to 4 colored black.

For offset print in our North American facilities, uses Coated GRACoL 2006 (ISO 12647-2:2004) color profile.

For poster print, please use ISO Coated v2 300% (ECI) color profile. You can download the newest version at download section.

5. Conversion of Spot Colors to CMYK

If your file contains spot colors (such as Pantone/HKS), you need to convert them to process colors to print a project as 4/0 or 4/4. InDesign allows you to do this by using the Ink Manager. By enableing the "All Spots to Process" check box, all spot colors are converted to CMYK during export. This may result in color shifts (similar to the behavior of converting RGB to CMYK) and we kindly ask you to thoroughly check your document before file submission and if required make adjustments.

Please only use this function if you are not using spot colors in your file that mark special production elements such as spot UV or die cuts!

6. Save Presets and check your PDF

We recommend saving these setting as preset. This way you can choose them next time conveniently through the PDF presets drop-down menu and ensure that no check marks were forgotten or other errors occured.

Please contact us any time should you have further questions.