PDF Printing 101: How To Prep Files for Print

PDF Printing

You’ve finally finished proofreading your work, and you’re ready to print. That’s the easy bit, right? 

Well, maybe not; if you’ve ever tried to print a PDF file, you may have noticed your margins being cut off too early, color changes, and sizing issues. This isn’t a rare problem when it comes to PDF printing. 

But if you want your PDF files to look as good in print as they do online, there are things you can do. A minimal amount of knowledge about PDF files can take you a long way. 

Read on for all the basics of PDFs and how to format them for print. 

What Is a PDF? 

Back to basics, a PDF is a portable document file. It’s one of the most common document types, and you can identify one by checking the extension at the end of the file name (.pdf). 

The reason to use a PDF is if you want to protect your document from unwanted edits. For example, you wouldn’t want your readers editing a monthly newsletter, invoice, or brochure. 

These documents are almost always distributed in PDF format. 

How to Prep a File for Print 

PDF files are optimized for online distribution, and printing them can cause difficulties. If you’ve ever printed a PDF to find the margins cut off, low image resolution, or blurry fonts, you’re not alone. 

To ensure a high-quality printout, there are a few things you need to do to the file before printing. Make sure all your images are high resolution (at least 300dpi).

Next, be aware that the colors will look different in printed form to your computer. Basic RGB (red/green/blue) combinations won’t translate perfectly. Make sure you do a test run to check you’re happy with the colors. 

Finally, choose a sizing layout. A postcard would be 8.5″ x 5.5″, a sheet would be 8.5″ x 11″, and a brochure would be 11.25″ x 8.75″. Make sure you add a slight margin bleed to allow space between your content and the edge of the page. 

PDF Printing Tips

Unfortunately, if you’re not an expert, printing a PDF is often a case of trial and error. What makes it more tricky is that formatting options are different depending on if you’re converting from Word, Illustrator, InDesign, or Photoshop. 

However, there are ways you can simplify the process. There are services that automate turning formatted documents straight into print-ready PDFs.

There are lots of options for pdfdocument formatting, but you should choose one with tutorials. Long strings of code can seem confusing at first, but a basic tutorial will show you all there is to know. 

PDF Printing Made Easy

So there you have it, PDF printing for dummies. Such a seemingly simple task can throw you off, but if you learn a few basic skills you’re ready to go. 

No more messy margins, jarring color schemes, and unreadable images – your PDF files can easily be optimized for printing format. 

Did you find this article helpful? We have plenty more; check out our other pages for more valuable tips on everything tech and business. 

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About the Author: Amanda Byers

Amanda Byers is a graduate of Columbia, where she played volleyball and annoyed a lot of professors. Now as Zubuz’s entertainment and Lifestyle Editor, she enjoys writing about delicious BBQ, outrageous style trends and all things Buzz worthy.