Need help? Get help! – Call us at 1-800-388-8831!
We’re available by phone Monday through Friday to answer your prepress questions.

We fully support both Mac and Windows platforms and the latest versions of the most popular design and layout programs including Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop and QuarkXPress. (We also offer some limited support for other applications including PageMaker, Freehand and Microsoft Applications.)

Our goal is to help you construct your files so that your final printed piece is the best that it can be. By following our basic guidelines, you will be on your way to a speedy, streamlined, stress-free printing process where you’ll know that your files will print exactly as you wish.

Please take a moment to go through the checklist to the right.

Common Errors to Avoid:
Our top 10 digital file problems

1.) Low image resolution
2.) Fonts - missing or not embedded
3.) Missing or insufficient bleeds
4.) Insufficient margins
5.) Missing support files (images/graphics)
6.) Wrong document size or setup
7.) Wrong color space
8.) Incorrect black
9.) Un-anti-aliased fonts
10.) Files not proofed for accuracy before submission.

Acrobat Settings
Click the links below to view our recommended settings for creating press ready pdfs. (Please note: Requires proper document setup.)
Adobe InDesign (CS3)
Adobe Illustrator (CS3)
QuarkXPress (6.5)
QuarkXPress (7)

View our Articles on Printing:
We have created a couple of pdfs that address several common printing issues. Please take a look and let us know if you have any questions.

Bleeds, Trim and Safety Margin

Color: CMYK, RGB & Spot Colors Defined

All Printed Black is not Created Equal

Why is Image Resolution Important?


Free Design Templates
For your convenience, we have created templates for many of our most common products. Click here to view our product categories.

FILE PREP CHECKLIST

Press Ready PDF

  • Document is set to final, desired size (avoid small layouts set up in default page sizes).
  • Images are at 300 dpi at 100% of final size.
  • Fonts are embedded or converted to outlines.
  • Bleeds are set up to 1/8" if images or graphics extend to the edge of the final piece.
  • Important text, graphics and logos have a margin of at least 1/8" from the edge.
  • All support files (linked images and graphics) are embedded.
  • Color space of layout and source files are set to CMYK mode or, if a spot color project, all files utilize proper spot colors.
  • Black type is set to 100% black, and large black fields are set to a rich black.
  • Fonts are anti-aliased.
  • All files are in a finished, proofread state (proofreading is the customer's responsibility and Express Color is not responsible for any errors printed once a proof has been approved or if changes are communicated verbally.)
  • The files uploaded for the project are complete and include only the files needed to output the current project (with no other unnecessary files).
  • Native Files:

  • Document is set to final, desired size (avoid small layouts set up in default page sizes).
  • Images are at 300 dpi at 100% of final size.
  • Font files used in the layout and support files are included enclosed in a folder, or all type has been converted to outlines.
  • Bleeds are set up to 1/8" if images or graphics extend to the edge of the final piece.
  • Important text, graphics and logos have a margin of at least 1/8" from the edge.
  • All support files (linked images and graphics) are enclosed in a folder
  • Color space of layout and source files are set to CMYK mode or, if a spot color project, all files utilize proper spot colors.
  • Black type is set to 100% black, and large black fields are set to a rich black
  • Fonts are anti-aliased
  • All files are in a finished, proofread state (proofreading is the customer's responsibility and Express Color is not responsible for any errors printed once a proof has been approved or if changes are communicated verbally.
  • The files uploaded for the project are complete and include only the files needed to output the current project (with no other unnecessary files).

  • Call us, toll free at 1-800-388-8831 or locally in Portland, Oregon at 503-254-5537

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    Call us toll-free at 1-800-388-8831 or 503-254-5537 locally in the Portland area,
    or visit our shop at 8028 East Burnside Street, Portland OR 97215-1527