How to prepare your files

Preparing Files

Proper electronic file preparation is the key to a successful project. Well prepared files and support will ensure that your job will print exactly as you intended and at the lowest possible cost.

Here are some file preparation tips to help make the process go smoothly and to minimize the cost of producing your job. Please take a moment to review the following specifications and tips.

Indicate what program, platform and version you are using for your files (e.g., QuarkXpress 6.5, MacOS X, or InDesign, WindowsXP). This is important information for us. This tells us which computer to load the file onto and ensures that the job will reproduce exactly how you intended it to look.

Provide a hard copy (laser print) of the final file and indicate if it is scaled to fit on the paper. As an alternative, send a Pdf marked as low-res for viewing, with all fonts and art embedded. If you are submitting PDF files for imagesetting, please indicate that the files are "pressready", not just for viewing.

Include all fonts used in the document and in linked or embedded art. There are over a million fonts. If we have to search for the fonts you used it may add to your cost. Using a different version of the same font may cause copy to reflow. Include all linked and embedded files in an editable format.

Please limit file names to 31 characters. Our Windows server has a limit of 31 characters for file names. Linked files with longer names must be renamed and re-linked.

Layout Tips

Do not float your document on an oversize page. Build your file to the exact document trim size, extending 1/8 inch extra image on all sides if there are bleeds. Do not build your layout into printer spreads. It is faster and easier for us to impose multi-page documents laid out as facing pages or single pages. For best quality printing results, build pages or documents and place art files in Quark or InDesign. Illustrator is not a page layout program and does not define page size or margins in postscript. Illustrator files must be placed in a page layout document in order to be properly placed on a press sheet.

We recommend the following applications:

QuarkXpress     Adobe Illustrator
Adobe InDesign     Adobe PDF
Adobe Pagemaker     Macromedia Freehand

Preferred files for links include:

EPS or Tiff files, created from Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator or Macromedia Freehand

Please always check your linked files to make sure they are updated and have the same name that the layout program is looking for.

Do not save linked files in GIF, PICT, or Microsoft PowerPoint formats, as these can lead to unexpected and undesired results.

Photos must have their own clipping paths saved as EPS files, not TIFF files.
The standard resolution for photo files is 300 dpi (when used at 100% size in the layout) for continuous tone images, and 800 to 2400 dpi for bitmap line art.
Delete all extra channels and paths that are not being used in TIFF files.


If you are using spot colors, print your document in separations as well as a composite before sending your job to us. This will show you which elements of your document will print on which color plate, and can alert you to potential printing concerns, eg., more color plates than you expect.

Trapping Requirements

There is no need to set individual element or global trapping. Our Rampage rip will handle all the trapping of your files automatically. If you have specific trapping needs, please let us know when you submit your job.

Proofread, proofread, PROOFREAD! Spell check is great, but can only catch so cannot distinguish between form and from, or its and it's, for example. Reading, rereading and even reading your work aloud is always a good idea. The least expensive time to correct errors is before we start working on your job. Typos result in rework that is charged as author’s alterations.

Changes and Revisions

Once you have received a proof from us and have changes or revisions, please indicate all changes directly on the proof. We can easily make minor changes and save you some money by not having to re do any work we have already completed on the original file. If you must furnish us a revised file, please ask us to send you the latest version. We often make adjustments to your file to make your job print and fold better. Please keep the name of any linked files so that the links remain active.

The Cricket Press, Inc. prepress staff looks forward to working together with you and your team so that the end result will always be of the highest quality. Using our industry knowledge and experience, we will work with you to refine any file you have in order to minimize production delays due to file conversions or incompatibilities.

Please feel free to Contact Us with any questions.
Phone: 978-526-7131

Download our Prepress Tips Sheet in PDF format

You will need Adobe Acrobat® Reader to view the file. The reader can be downloaded for free from