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Guidelines for the supply of print ready digital files

The following guidelines are provided to help prepare artwork for submission to PCL Waikato Print. It is important to prepare your documents correctly as this will minimise some of the common problems that can occur when printing digital files.

These guidelines are not exhaustive or fail safe, for additional assistance please call our administration team on 07 838 4302

File formats

Our preferred method of supply is PDF although we do accept files supplied in other formats such as from the Adobe suite and Microsoft Office. If supplying files in their native format please make sure to also supply all linked images and fonts used in the document, (‘package’ in InDesign).


Since Canva is an online design tool that is not necessarily a program designed to create print-ready files, there are a few caveats to using this tool that you should be aware of:

Canva does not provide a CMYK colour option. All documents are saved as RGB which may cause colour inconsistencies between your design and the printed product. Our prepress department will have to convert your RGB file to a CMYK printing profile. This may cause our prepress department to have to spend more time on your file. The more issues with your PDF, the longer our prepress department will spend on your file and you may be charged for the excess time spent fixing your files. Be aware that not all elements within your Canva file can be edited once exported to PDF.

Please note, that when colour settings are changed, the colours in your artwork may look different when printed.

Microsoft Office

Please note that although these are common programmes for document creation they have not been designed for desktop publishing and print. Page and line reflows and font and picture issues can potentially arise when printing from these formats. To minimise these risks please follow the following guidelines.

Ensure the document size is the correct size for print. Word can default to US letter size and Powerpoint’s default size is ‘screen size’ due to its design for on-screen presentation.

Use ‘page breaks’ in Word rather than hitting the return key until you reach a new page, this will help prevent text reflow.

Use standard fonts. Macs and PCs can only display and print fonts installed on them. Special or lesser used fonts may not be installed on our equipment and will therefore be substituted using an alternate font causing potential reflow and missing data issues.

PDF Creation

As a general rule choose the highest quality setting for your PDF files, often termed ‘print quality’, ‘press quality’, ‘high quality’ or 300dpi resolution or more. Always embed your fonts. Your software programme will have this facility somewhere, search google if necessary. If this is done it will not matter whether we have the fonts you have used. As with Office, if our machines don’t have the font used in your document it will substitute for something else leading to potential unwanted results. To preserve image quality do not compress the graphics when you export the PDF.

For all methods of supply:

Images and Graphics

For printing purposes, all your images should be a minimum of 300dpi at the size they are to be printed. Web images and screengrabs are typically 72dpi and look fine on screen but are not of a suitable quality for print, often appearing pixelated or ragged on output – nor will it help using software such as Photoshop to increase the resolution from 72dpi to 300dpi. All images should be supplied in CMYK format (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key – Black) not RGB (Red, Green, Blue). RGB colour is based on light properties and suited for viewing on screen. CMYK relates to inks and the four colours used when printing in colour. Conversion from RGB to CMYK can cause unwanted colour variations. Logos and Line Art, (vector graphics), should have all fonts embedded or outlined.


When using bold or italic fonts in your document please make sure they are the actual styled version of the font from the font list, not italicised or bolded from the keyboard. (e.g. please do not use command ‘I’ to make italics or command ‘B’ for bold).

Trims and bleeds

Bleed is the term for any colour or image that goes right to the edge of the page. What actually happens is that the picture or image is extended 3mm beyond the edge of the page and that excess image or colour is cut off in the finishing process. Please ensure this is actioned on all elements that go to the edge of the page. Text or images that are not meant to be trimmed off the edge should be positioned at least 5mm in from the edge of your layout (‘safety’ area). Items placed closer than this are in danger of being trimmed off or appearing inconsistent in the margins. In the example below, the bleed area (shown here in blue) extends 3mm beyond the trim edge of the page (represented here by the red line).


Pages, Leaves, Panels and Stapled (Stitched Booklets)

To avoid confusion please provide document specs in terms of ‘pages’ - 1pp equates to 1 side of your sheet, whereas a leaf refers to both sides of the sheet i.e. 2pp.


A panel is formed when a sheet is folded e.g. when an A4 is folded to DL format it becomes a 3 panel brochure.


Please note: when producing a stapled (stitched/saddle stitched) booklet the cover should be 4 pages (add blank pages if necessary) and the text divisible by four so that the booklet can be stapled and finished properly (again, add blank pages if necessary to make divisible by 4).


Final check

Please make sure you check your document before you send the final version to us. Make sure everything is correct, including spelling, graphics, layout, page numbers and page bleeds. Additional work required to correct files may delay your delivery date and incur additional costs in order to rectify.