Frequently Asked Printing Questions

frequently-asked-printing-questionsWe have compiled a list of frequently asked printing questions. If you can’t find the answer you are looking for in these frequently asked printing questions, you may want to download our free Ultimate Guide to Online Printing. In addition to answering common questions, it has many tips to help you with your printing project.

What file formats are accepted for printing files?

We highly recommend submitting PDF files (high resolution with fonts embedded) for printing. This embeds the fonts and graphics so that the file is almost like a photo. That ensures that fonts and graphics won’t shift on the page, which can happen when a native file is opened on a different computer. You also want to make sure that the PDF file contains bleeds and the color profile is set to CMYK.

What is the difference between RGB and CMYK?

RGB (red, green, and blue) refers to the primary colors of light. This is the standard format used for digital cameras, scanners, video monitors, and television screens. CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) refers to the primary colors used in printing. The terms four-color process printing or full-color printing refer to these four colors. Printing presses cannot reproduce RGB colors, so it is best to convert to CMYK before saving printing files.

What is a bleed?

Since printing presses cannot print right to the edge of the paper, pages are printed larger than the finished size and then cut down to size. Pages should be set up with 1/8 inch additional on all four sides. Thus, if your finished page is 8½ x 11 inches, it should be designed as 8¾ x 11¼.

You should also keep in mind the safety area of the page. Since most printing jobs are printed on larger paper and then cut down to side, no text or critical graphics should be too close to the edge of the page. Allow at least 1/8 inch between critical text and the edge of your page.

Is there an extra for pages with bleeds?

Unlike other online printing companies that charge up to 20% extra for bleeds on a page, we do not charge extra for pages that bleed. The prices on our instant price calculators include bleeds.

What is the best resolution for printing purposes for graphics and photos?

Graphics and photos should be at least 300 dots per inch (dpi) to ensure that they do not look grainy when printed. Keep in mind that computer screens have a resolution of 72 dpi. So a photo that looks good on a computer screen will not necessarily look good when printed.

What margins should be used on pages?

You want to ensure that your pages have adequate margins on all four sides, but especially on the bound edge. Perfect binding, wire-o binding, and plastic coil binding use about 1/8 of an inch on the bound edge for the binding. Be sure to allow sufficient room on perfect bound books so they can be easily read without spine be broken. We recommend at least 3/4 of an inch margin on the bound side.

What is the spine dimension for a perfect bound book?

It is recommended to submit covers for perfect bound document as three files — the front cover, the back cover, and the spine. The size of your front and back cover should equal the finished size of your document plus 1/8 inch bleed on all four sides of the page.

To calculate the spine size, use this formula:

For 60# uncoated text and 80# matte and gloss text stock:
Number of pages divided by 440 = spine in inches

For 70# uncoated text and 100# matte and gloss text stock:
Number of pages divided by 370 = spine in inches

Include the cover when counting pages. When adding text to the spine, do not make the size of the text exactly equal to the width of the spine. Leave blank room on both sides of the text.

How do I count pages in multipage documents?

Count pages like pages in a book. Do not count sheets of paper. Thus, an 8 ½ x 11 sheet of paper with printing on both sides would be counted as two pages. Our instant pricing calculators assume printing on both sides of the sheet of paper.

Are there any additional charges not included in your instant pricing calculators?

Our instant pricing calculators detail all options and costs, so you know exactly how much your printing job will cost. Only UPS charges are estimated. Once your order is shipped, we will charge you the actual UPS cost, without any additional handling charges.

What if the finished size of my document is not equal to your standard sizes (5½ x 8½, 6 x 9, and 8½ x 11)?

When your document is between the sizes listed (between 5½ x 8½ and 8½ x 11), just select the next largest size. Then note in the comments section when ordering what the finished size is. For instance, if your document’s finished size is 7 x 10, select pricing for 8½ x 11.

How do I place an order?

You start the ordering process by selecting a product on the left hand side of our web pages or in the bottom footer area under Pricing Calculators. This will take you to the appropriate pricing calculator, which starts the ordering process.

What is the minimum number of copies that can be printed?

Our minimum order quantity is 25 copies, and you can order in increments of 1 copy.

Do you offer any discounts?

We always give nonprofit organizations a 10% discount. Note in the comments section that you are a nonprofit organization, and we will deduct the discount from your order.

All other individuals should sign up for our e-mail newsletter (the link is in the footer of every page) to receive monthly coupons and specials.

How do I upload my printing files?

You have two options:

  1. You can upload your files on our website at the time your order is placed or at a later time.
  2. You can upload your printing files to our ftp site. For details instructions, click here

When will I receive my PDF proof?

If your order is placed before 12:00 PM EST, your PDF proof will be posted for review on our website the same business day. Orders placed after 12:00 PM EST or on a non-business day will have the proof posted by the following business day. If you request a hard copy proof, you must first approve the PDF proof before your hard copy proof will be processed.

Do you recommend hard copy proofs?

If you have any concerns about your files and are not under a tight deadline, we recommend getting a hard copy proof. Proofs are printed on the paper selected for the job and bound as requested, so you see exactly how your order will be printed. The cost for hard copy proofs is $25 if shipped via UPS ground service and $50 shipped via overnight UPS service. Hard copy proofs are typically shipped 1 business day after PDF approval.

What if I find an error in my file during the proofing process?

As long as you have not approved your order for printing, new files can be submitted. After proof approval, files are immediately sent to print, so it may not be possible to make changes.

Will the colors on my printing job exactly match my computer screen or laser?

We print exclusively on digital presses. To keep prices low, we use a pleasing color standard, which means the colors look good to the average person. We cannot match PMS colors or other exact colors. Keep in mind that images on your computer screen are rendered in RGB color format, while we print in CMYK which can make colors look slightly different.

How long does it take to print my order after proof approval?

For books, booklets, catalogs, and magazines, your order will be printed within 4 business days after proof approval. For an additional charge, you can also order 3 day, 2 day, and 1 day processing. For all other print jobs, your order will be printed within Your order will print within 5 business days (weekends and holidays are not counted) after proof approval. For an additional charge, we also have 3-, 2- and 1-day turnaround.

How many days will UPS shipping take?

We ship all orders from our facility in Madison Heights, Michigan, via UPS ground service. This UPS map shows UPS shipping days from our facility. You can also select 3-day, 2-day, and overnight service.

What are your payment terms?

All printing charges must be paid in full before printing starts. After your order is shipped, we will charge your credit card actual shipping costs, which can differ from the estimate generated when you order. Your credit card will be charged twice — once for the printing cost and once for the shipping cost. We accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover. Please note that the charge will appear with our parent company’s name, Integrated Concepts Group, Inc. We also accept PayPal. When paying by check, we will not start to process your order until we have received your check.

What is your return policy or guarantee?

If you are not completely dazzled by your print job, we will either reprint the job or give you a full refund, no questions asked.