Whether you are using Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign or some other program to create your design to be used on something that will be printed you’ll need to make sure that file is saved in a way that is considered Print Ready.

What is a Print Ready File?

A print ready file is a design file that has been prepared in a way that makes it ready to be accepted into a printers software with minimal or no need for alteration of the file.

This is important for a few reasons:

  • It reduces cost due to there being no design fees from the printer
  • It reduces the time to start production which can get your project done quicker
  • And eliminates potential inconsistencies between what you provided to the printer and what is delivered as the final printed product. You’ll know what you’re going to get!

Creating Print-Ready Files using the Adobe Creative Suite

The most common tools used in Graphic Design and for creating print-ready project files is the Adobe Creative Suite of products or what is now known as the Adobe Creative Cloud.

We’ll explain what needs to be done to create a print-ready file for Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign by saving the final art file as a Print Ready PDF.

The first thing we want to mention is that all files regardless of the platform they are created on MUST have a “crop” and “bleed” built into the document.

These areas are used to ensure there is enough room for the printer to cut off excess paper and not cut/crop the actual design you have prepared.

To ensure you have enough space for the printer include .125″ bleeds and set your margins or guides at a minimum of .25″ on all sides to keep important content.

When saving your print-ready PDF file with bleeds, make sure you have the “trim marks” and “use document bleed settings” features turned on in Illustrator & InDesign or for Photoshop you can use Print with Preview’s crop marks and bleed options, or you can create the crop marks manually.

How to Create a Print Ready File in Photoshop

1. Ensure your file is in CMYK mode.

2. Flatten your design so there are No Layers.

3. Save the file as a Photoshop PDF.

4. Use the High-Quality Print Adobe PDF Preset.

  • Preserve Editing Capabilities
  • Optimize for Fast Web Preview

5. Click Save PDF

How to Create a Print Ready File in Illustrator

1. First, convert all text to outlines. 

2. Then Save the File as an Adobe PDF.

3. Start with the High-Quality Print Adobe PDF preset.

  • Make sure it’s CMYK and 300 ppi. 
  • Preserve Illustrator Editing Capabilities
  • Embed Page Thumbnails
  • Create Acrobat Layers from Top-Level Layers

4. Click Save PDF

How to Create a Print Ready File in InDesign

1. Save the file as an Adobe PDF.

2. Start with the High-Quality Print Adobe PDF preset.

  • Optimize for Fast Web View
  • At least 300 pixels per inch

3. Click Export

It really can be that easy!

So now you know how to make sure your file is Print Ready before it goes out the door to your print partner.

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