Resources

Uploading Files

Due to the large size of print files, email is not a sufficient means of sending and sharing files. Depending on the project and client-specific needs, we may share files via DropBox or an FTP server. Please contact us for a username and password as well as individual instructions.

File Prep

There are two basic ways to prepare files for printing by Imlay International (click title below to jump to section):

Like anything else, there are trade-offs between the two approaches: Using PDF/X-1a gives the designer or production artist the maximum amount of control and also keeps to an absolute minimum the chance of errors being introduced after the files leave the designer. Using PDFs also minimizes the size of the files transmitted. Using native files enables the Imlay prepress staff to identify and correct more potential problems, to color-correct photos, and to make text corrections. At Imlay we prefer to receive PDF/X-1a-compliant PDFs, but we’re happy to work with your native files if you think you need the extra help.

Whether you’re sending PDFs or native files, once you’ve prepared the files as described below, Zip the file(s) or folder(s) and upload them to our ftp server. When your upload is complete, send an email to to let us know we have your file. If you have questions about any aspect of file prep, call Imlay at 703 914-0526 or send an email to .

Preparing PDFs

Making PDF/X-1a-compliant PDFs is easy using today’s professional graphics applications. Adobe InDesign and Illustrator both ship with presets for making PDF/X-1a’s, as does QuarkXPress.

InDesign

In InDesign, in the Preflight dialog (Window -> Output -> Preflight), with the “[Basic]” profile selected, make sure the document contains no errors. (If any errors are indicated, correct them before proceeding.) In the File menu, select Document Setup…. Under “Bleed and Slug,” make all four bleed values 0.125 inch (p9). All slug values should be 0. Click OK. Make sure all document elements that bleed extend to the bleed guides. Save the document.

In the File menu, select Adobe PDF Presets -> [PDF/X-1a:2001]. In the resulting Save dialog, give the PDF an appropriate name and save it into a folder where you will be able to locate the PDF file when it’s ready. Click Save. In the subsequent dialog, you only need to make a couple of changes before making the PDF: Under “Marks and Bleeds,” check “All Printer’s Marks,” then uncheck “Color Bars.” Change the value for “Offset” to 0.125 inch (p9). Check “Use Document Bleed Settings.” Click Export. Depending on the length and complexity of the document, it may take some time to make the PDF. You can monitor the PDF creation process in InDesign’s “Background Tasks” window.

InDesign Export PDF

Changes to [PDF/X-1a:2001] settings in InDesign CC

QuarkXPress

In QuarkXPress, in the Usage dialog (Utilities -> Usage…), make sure that all the fonts used in the document are installed and active, and that the status of all pictures is “OK.” On the master pages, make a bleed guide at 0.125” (p9) outside each trim edge. Make sure all document elements that bleed extend to the bleed guides. Save the document.

In the File menu, select Export -> Layout as PDF…. In the resulting Export as PDF dialog, give the PDF an appropriate name and save it into a folder where you will be able to locate the PDF file when it’s ready. At the bottom of the dialog, select “PDF/X-1a:2001” from the PDF Style pop-up menu. Click on Options…. In the subsequent dialog, click on “Registration Marks” in the list at left.  Select “Centered” from the Mode pop-up. Use 0.003″ as the value for Width. Use 0.25″ as the value for Length. Use 0.125″ as the value for offset. “Include Bleed Marks” should be checked. Click OK to exit the PDF Export Options dialog. Click Save to save the PDF. Depending on the length and complexity of the document, it may take some time to make the PDF, so make sure that XPress has finished making the PDF before you move or send the PDF file — XPress puts up a progress dialog so you can easily determine this.

QuarkXPress PDF Export

Changes to PDF/X-1a:2001 settings in QuarkXPress 10

Illustrator

In Illustrator, in the Find Font… dialog (Type -> Find Font…), make sure all fonts used in the document are installed and active. In the File menu, select Document Setup…. Under “Bleed and View Options,” make all four bleed values 0.125 inch (p9). Make sure all document elements that bleed extend to the bleed guides. Save the document.

In the File menu, select Save As…. In the resulting Save dialog, select “Adobe PDF” from the Format pop-up menu at the bottom of the dialog, give the PDF an appropriate name, and save it into a folder where you will be able to locate the PDF file when it’s ready. Click Save. In the subsequent dialog, select “[PDF/X-1a:2001]” from the Adobe PDF Preset pop-up. Then select “Marks and Bleeds” in the list at left. Check “All Printer’s Marks,” then uncheck “Color Bars.” Change the value for “Offset” to 0.125 inch (p9). Check “Use Document Bleed Settings.” Click Save PDF.

Illustrator save as PDF

Changes to [PDF/X-1a:2001] settings in Illustrator CC

Preparing Native Files

InDesign

In InDesign, in the Preflight dialog (Window -> Output -> Preflight), with the “[Basic]” profile selected, make sure that the document contains no errors. (If there are any errors showing, correct them before proceeding.) In the File menu, select Document Setup…. Under “Bleed and Slug,” make all four bleed values 0.125 inch (p9). All slug values should be 0. Click OK. Make sure all document elements that bleed extend to the bleed guides. Save the document.

In the File menu, select Package…. In the resulting dialog, make sure that no errors are indicated in the list at left. (If there are any errors indicated, correct them before proceeding.) Click Package…. Fill in the fields in the Printing Instructions dialog appropriately, and click Continue. In the subsequent Create Package Folder dialog, give the folder in which all the files will be collected an appropriate name and save it in a location where you will be able to locate the folder when the files have been collected. Check the following boxes at the bottom of the dialog: Copy Fonts (Except CJK), Copy Linked Graphics, Update Graphic Links in Package. Click Package.

InDesign Create Package Folder

Options to check in Create Package Folder dialog in InDesign CC

QuarkXPress

In QuarkXPress, in the Usage dialog (Utilities -> Usage…), make sure that all the fonts used in the document are installed and active, and that the status of all pictures is “OK.” On the master pages, make bleed guides at 0.125” (p9) outside each trim edge. Make sure all document elements that bleed extend to the bleed guides. Save the document.

In the File menu, select Collect for Output…. In the resulting Collect for Output dialog, make sure you are saving into a new folder that will contain only the files associated with the current document and that the folder is in a location you will be able to find when the files have been collected. Check the following boxes at the bottom of the dialog: Layout, Linked Pictures, Printer Fonts, Screen Fonts. Click Save.

QuarkXPress Collect for Output

Options to check in Collect for Output dialog in QuarkXPress 10

Illustrator

In Illustrator, in the Find Font… dialog (Type -> Find Font…), make sure that all fonts used in the document are installed and active. In the File menu, select Document Setup…. Under “Bleed and View Options,” make all four bleed values 0.125 inch (p9). Make sure all document elements that bleed extend to the bleed guides.

In the Links palette (Window -> Links), make sure that any linked graphics are embedded: Select the non-embedded linked graphics and then select Embed Image(s) from the Links palette menu.

Save the document. Note that Illustrator has no means of gathering the fonts used, so you will need to either (1) gather the fonts manually, or (2) use your font manager (e.g., Suitcase Fusion) to gather the fonts.