Printing file supplying specifications

Supplying your print file for your book or magazine can be quite a job. The files must meet certain quality requirements. Here we provide information on how the files should be delivered. Hopefully this will save you a lot of hassle and we will have a good print file. This saves a lot of time, also for the production process.

Delivery in cPDF

A print file must always be delivered in PDF format. The best is a cPDF file (certified PDF). This is a print-ready work file for the printing company. Generate a cPDF from your graphics program such as InDesign.  If you do not have a graphics programme, our advice is to ask a designer. We can help you with this and work with various designers.

Photos and images

All images and photos should be at least 300 dpi. At this dpi level, your print will look its best. Below this number of dpi, photos and images can become blurred. You are responsible for this. Make sure that both photos and images are free of rights.

Bleed + cutting marks

Bleed is the margin around the print file outside the size of your print product. It is important that all Printing has cut marks. Images that run to the edge of the printed material should also run in the bleed area. For the cover of your book or magazine, we can provide a working drawing. That way you know exactly what the margins are and of course what the spine thickness is. The inside of your book or magazine must always have at least 3 mm bleed and be provided with cutting marks. If you get stuck and need help with the layout of your Printing, we will help you where possible.

Watch your lines and overprint

Lines used in your layout must be at least 0.25 mm thick. If the lines are thinner, chances are that they will no longer be visible in the printed product. Another point of attention is overprint, a setting that can cause deviating colours. In InDesign, you can turn on 'Preview overprint' in 'View'. If you see the colours change then overprint is on. Turn off overprint to prevent this.


If you use transparency, make sure it is flattened. If not, the software that makes the print cannot process it properly. So make sure you always flatten the transparency. This is how to do it in Indesign:
• Create a new profile under menu File > Define
• Click on New > Name preset: Smoothing
• Click on Standard > PDF/X-1a:2001
• Click on OK > Done
• Now go to File > Presets Adobe PDF, and you will see this saved profile at the bottom

If you are using transparency in your file and want to export it to PDF, go to File > Presets Adobe PDF > Smoothing..

Full colour | CMYK

Do NOT submit your print file in RGB, but in CMYK. In offset printing, the total colour print in CMYK values may not exceed 280%.

Black = Black

If the inside of your book is black, use only 100% black. Do not use CMYK for text, images and photos. It avoids wasting time if you check your file for the correct colour value.

Colour advice | BLACK

Deep black is composed of CMYK values: C 50 / M 40 / Y 40 / K 100. This build-up gives the black a powerful appearance. Because the structure of this black consists of four colours, a print in deep black is considered a colour print. If the inside of your book or magazine is only black, only use 100% black. For a cover you can use this CMYK structure. Last TIP; if your text is smaller than 15pt, deep black does not add any value but it can fully close fine lines.

PMS | Colour profile

If you want an extra PMS colour in your print (e.g. gold), this is only possible with offset printing. Because the colour will be mixed especially for you (the PMS code), it is advisable to always state the PMS colour and the code, including in the request for your quotation. Note that the colour dries differently when printed on coated paper than on hvo. We will gladly help you show the difference. To have files printed in the desired colours as much as possible, it is important to specify the correct colour profile for your print file. This can be done in your layout programme when exporting your document to PDF. The colour profile to be supplied depends on the type of paper you are having the file printed on, whether it is matt or glossy.

Text on the spine

If you want text on the spine of your book, make sure you leave at least 1.5 mm distance from the edge of the spine. This is necessary to prevent the spine text from hitting the edge directly or running through to the front of your cover or back cover.

Foil printing

A common finish on a cover is foil printing. This often adds value to your book. A common colour is gold or silver, but there are several colours, including matt and gloss. If you are going to use this, the Spot UV should be created in the same format as the cover and as an extra PDF print file. Whatever you want to print in Spot UV must be formatted in 100% cyan.

Embossing | Die-cutting

An embossing is a height difference (thickening) in your cover. The embossing is often of an image or text. The opposite is a die-cut, which adds depth to your cover, mainly for hardcover books. Also called negative embossing. To create an embossing/punch (a stamp), we use the same format as the cover and an additional PDF print file. What you want to have as an embossing/punching must be made in 100% black.

Flaps or folds on your book

Do not forget to specify the folding line in your PDF. For a cover with flaps, you should also indicate the folding marks in your print file in addition to the cutting marks. In the graphics programme InDesign, this can easily be done via the 'export PDF' menu.

PDF export

When exporting a PDF from InDesign, it is important that the settings are correct. Below is an instruction to achieve the best result for a print-ready file. The settings for a cover and an insert file differ slightly (see step 2).

1. In the 'General' tab, select 'High-quality printing'.

2. Choose 'Export as pages' if it's for the inside material. Choose 'Export as spreads' if it's for the cover.

3. If 'Optimise for quick display on web' is checked, turn it off.

4. Go to the 'Characters and bleed area' tab.

5. In this menu, check the following options: 'Cut marks', 'Use document bleed settings' and 'Include white space around page'.

6. Under 'Shift', enter the number of mm. of bleed. For example, if you have set 3 mm. of bleed in the document, enter the same in 'Shift'. This ensures that the crop marks are outside the bleed area.

7. Press 'Export' at the bottom right of the menu and the print-ready PDF file will be created.

8. After you have submitted the files, we carry out an extensive file check to make sure everything is indeed print-ready.

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