How to Create a Print-Ready PDF File

A PDF file is a portable document format that can be viewed and printed on any device. However, not all PDF files are suitable for professional printing. A print-ready PDF file is a PDF file that meets the specifications of the printer and ensures the best quality and accuracy of the printed output. In this article, we will explain how to create a print-ready PDF file using some common tools and software.

What are the requirements for a print-ready PDF file?

A print-ready PDF file should have the following characteristics:

  • The correct page size and orientation. The page size should match the trim size of the final product, and the orientation should be either portrait or landscape. For example, if you want to print a 6 x 9 inch book, your PDF file should have a page size of 6 x 9 inches as well.
  • The correct margins and bleed. The margins are the space between the edge of the page and the content. The bleed is the extra space that extends beyond the edge of the page and is trimmed off during the printing process. The margins and bleed ensure that your content is not cut off or distorted by the printer. The recommended margins and bleed vary depending on the printer and the product, but a general rule of thumb is to have at least 0.125 inches of bleed and 0.25 inches of margins on all sides.
  • The correct resolution and color mode. The resolution is the number of pixels per inch (ppi) or dots per inch (dpi) that determine the sharpness and clarity of the images and text. The color mode is the way the colors are represented by the computer and the printer. For print-ready PDF files, the resolution should be at least 300 ppi or dpi, and the color mode should be CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black). CMYK is the standard color mode for printing, while RGB (red, green, and blue) is the standard color mode for digital displays. If you use RGB images or colors in your PDF file, they may not print as expected or may cause color shifts or errors.
  • The embedded fonts and images. The fonts and images are the elements that make up the content of your PDF file. To ensure that your PDF file looks the same on any device and printer, you should embed the fonts and images in your PDF file. Embedding means that the fonts and images are included in the PDF file itself, rather than relying on external sources or links. This way, you can avoid missing fonts or broken images that may affect the appearance and readability of your PDF file.

How to create a print-ready PDF file using common tools and software?

There are different ways to create a print-ready PDF file depending on the tools and software you use to create and edit your document. Here are some of the most common methods:

  • Using Microsoft Word. Microsoft Word is a popular word processor that allows you to create and format text documents. You can export your Word document as a print-ready PDF file by following these steps:
    • Open your Word document and go to File > Save As.
    • Choose PDF as the file type and click Options.
    • Check the box that says ISO 19005-1 compliant (PDF/A) and click OK. This option ensures that your PDF file meets the standards for long-term preservation and printing.
    • Click Save and choose a name and location for your PDF file.
  • Using Adobe Acrobat. Adobe Acrobat is a software that allows you to create, edit, and manipulate PDF files. You can create a print-ready PDF file from any document or application using Adobe Acrobat by following these steps:
    • Open your document or application and go to File > Print.
    • Choose Adobe PDF as the printer and click Properties.
    • Choose Press Quality as the default settings and click OK. This option ensures that your PDF file has the optimal resolution and color mode for printing.
    • Click Print and choose a name and location for your PDF file.
  • Using online tools. There are many online tools and websites that allow you to convert your documents or files to print-ready PDF files. Some of the popular ones are PDF4me, PublishDrive, and Lulu. You can use these online tools by following these steps:
    • Go to the website of your choice and upload your document or file.
    • Choose the options and settings that suit your needs and preferences. For example, you can choose the page size, the color profile, the margins, and the bleed.
    • Click the button that says Convert, Create, or Prepare and wait for the process to finish.
    • Download your print-ready PDF file and save it to your device.

Conclusion

A print-ready PDF file is a PDF file that meets the specifications of the printer and ensures the best quality and accuracy of the printed output. To create a print-ready PDF file, you should consider the following characteristics: the correct page size and orientation, the correct margins and bleed, the correct resolution and color mode, and the embedded fonts and images. You can create a print-ready PDF file using different tools and software, such as Microsoft Word, Adobe Acrobat, or online tools. By following the steps and tips in this article, you can create a print-ready PDF file for your book, flyer, brochure, or any other print product.

Paper weight is a measure of how thick and heavy a sheet of paper is. Different types of paper have different basic sheet sizes, which affect how they are weighed and compared. Here is a brief description of the different paper weight designations between bond, offset and cover weight paper:

  • Bond paper is a light-weight paper, also known as ledger or writing paper. It is commonly used for copying, printing, and writing. The weight of bond paper is measured by how much 500 sheets of its basic sheet size (17 x 22 inches) weigh in pounds. For example, 24 lb bond paper means that 500 sheets of 17 x 22 inches paper weigh 24 pounds.
  • Offset paper is a medium-weight paper, also known as book or text paper. It is commonly used for printing books, magazines, flyers, and brochures. The weight of offset paper is measured by how much 500 sheets of its basic sheet size (25 x 38 inches) weigh in pounds. For example, 60 lb offset paper means that 500 sheets of 25 x 38 inches paper weigh 60 pounds.
  • Cover paper is a heavy-weight paper, also known as cardstock or card paper. It is commonly used for printing covers, cards, posters, and invitations. The weight of cover paper is measured by how much 500 sheets of its basic sheet size (20 x 26 inches) weigh in pounds. For example, 80 lb cover paper means that 500 sheets of 20 x 26 inches paper weigh 80 pounds.

To compare different types of paper by weight, it is helpful to use a common unit of measurement, such as grams per square meter (gsm) or points (pt). GSM is the weight of one square meter of paper in grams, and pt is the thickness of one sheet of paper in thousandths of an inch. You can find some conversion tables and calculators online, such as this one.

AKUAFOIL
Radiance never seen before – dazzle you can afford! Akuafoil gives you a wide range of CMYK colors with a sparkling foil finish and an ideal reflection that is priced to give you a true competitive advantage. State-of-the-art features allow you to produce large solid areas as well as reversed out areas of foil. You can produce foiled half tones, gradients and have multiple colors in foil on the same design. The design possibilities are limited only by your imagination, giving your customers an exquisite edge.

BROWN KRAFT CARDS
For a homegrown, personalized touch! Thick, rich, light brown kraft paper has natural fibers and subtle visible flecks to give Kraft Cards an organic look and feel. The stock is 100% recycled lending to its rustic, eco-friendly appeal.

EDGE BLACK CARDS
Give yourself an edge over the competition with EDGE Black Cards! Sturdy, multilayered EDGE Black Cards consist of a black-colored core fixed between two layers of bright white, premium uncoated face stock. The bold edge color on these 32pt ultra thick cards gives them a sleek and modern appeal so they stand out from the rest!

FOIL WORX
Bring extra flair and shine to your business! Choose from either gold, silver or copper foil accents for variety of products and have them printed on 14pt uncoated or 16pt silk laminated. The combination of foil with either finish are a surefire way to make a statement. Please note that the same color foil must be used for the front and back of your product. Drill Holes are a standard feature and are included with all of our Hang Tags products.

NATURAL CARDS
14pt Natural stock is a light cream, natural white color with a smooth finish. Our selection of Natural products includes Business Cards and Announcement Cards with Round Corners options. Our half scored Greeting Cards and flat Announcement Cards have the option to add matching Natural Blank Envelopes. The stock is environmentally friendly with a minimum of 30% post-consumer waste content.

PAINTED EDGE CARDS
Get an edge over the competition with Solid PAINTED EDGE business cards! This card is a sturdy, ultra thick, 32pt with plenty of room on the edge for featuring color accents. Choose from a selection of eye-catching, vivid colors, or classic white. Create an unmistakably bold and solid statement.

METALLIC PEARL PAPER
Our 14pt Metallic Pearl paper is a unique stock that shimmers in light when viewed from different angles. The stock itself is embedded with Pearl fibers that give the paper an overall smooth, metallic look. Printing on this stock will give your CMYK colors a subtle shimmer, however heavy ink densities or coverage may diminish the effect. Our half scored Greeting Cards and flat Announcement Cards have the option to add matching Pearl Blank Envelopes.

RAISED FOIL
Suede with Raised Foil Add a flash of brilliance to suede cards that you can see and feel. The combination of raised foil contrasted with the velvety smooth suede foundation creates a tactile experience that customers can see and feel. Metallic embossment effects can enhance amazing detail in images, special accents, and logos. The Suede Cards are printed on 16pt card stock, laminated on both sides with 1.5mil scuff resistant, soft velvet laminate, which give them a substantial thickness of 19pt.

HOLOGRAPHIC FOIL
Holographic Raised Foil brings a multicolor, 3-D (three-dimensional) effect to your printed product.

SILK CARDS
Class up your act with Silk Cards! Silky smooth to the touch with a matte appearance, Silk Cards are laminated on both sides giving these cards an attractive look and feel, while further making them water and tear resistant. These long-lasting 16PT cards are a surefire way for your customers to bring sophistication to their image and to stand out from the crowd. Silk Cards are printed in full color and come with Spot UV coating options.

SUEDE CARDS
Feel the difference with Suede Cards — soft to the touch, they bestow a hint of luxury to brands and create marketing pieces that stand out from the competition. Suede Cards are printed with high quality equipment on 16pt card stock, then they are laminated on both sides with 1.5mil scuff resistant, soft velvet laminate, which give them a substantial thickness of 19pt.

Radiance never seen before – dazzle you can afford! Akuafoil gives you a wide range of CMYK colors with a sparkling foil finish and an ideal reflection. State-of-the-art features allow both large solid areas as well as reversed out areas of foil. You can have foiled half tones, gradients and multiple colors in foil on the same design. The design possibilities are limited only by your imagination.
For a homegrown, personalized touch! Thick, rich, light brown kraft paper has natural fibers and subtle visible flecks to give Kraft Cards an organic look and feel. The stock is 100% recycled lending to its rustic, eco-friendly appeal.
Sturdy, multilayered EDGE Black Cards consist of a black-colored core fixed between two layers of bright white, premium uncoated face stock. The bold edge color on these 32pt ultra thick cards gives them a sleek and modern appeal so they stand out from the rest!
Bring extra flair and shine to your business! Choose from either gold, silver or copper foil accents for variety of products and have them printed on 14pt uncoated or 16pt silk laminated paper. Please note that the same color foil must be used for the front and back. Drill Holes are a standard feature and are available as Hang Tags products.
14pt Natural stock is a light cream, natural white color with a smooth finish. Our selection of Natural products includes Business Cards and Announcement Cards with Round Corner options. Our half scored Greeting Cards and flat Announcement Cards have the option to add matching Natural Blank Envelopes. The stock is environmentally friendly with a minimum of 30% post-consumer waste content.
Solid PAINTED EDGE business cards are sturdy, ultra thick, 32pt card weight paper with plenty of room on the edge for featuring color accents. Choose from a selection of eye-catching, vivid colors, or classic white. Create an unmistakably bold and solid statement.
14pt Metallic Pearl paper is a unique paper stock that shimmers in light when viewed from different angles. The stock itself is embedded with Pearl fibers that give the paper an overall smooth, metallic look. Printing on this stock will give CMYK colors a subtle shimmer, however heavy ink densities or coverage may diminish the effect. Also available as half scored Greeting Cards and flat Announcement Cards with the option of add matching Pearl Blank Envelopes.
Suede with Raised Foil adds a flash of brilliance to suede cards that you can see and feel. The combination of raised foil contrasted with the velvety smooth suede foundation creates a tactile experience that you can both see and feel. Metallic embossment effects can enhance amazing detail in images, special accents, and logos. Suede Cards are printed on 16pt card stock, laminated on both sides with 1.5mil scuff resistant, soft velvet laminate, which give them an effective thickness of 19pt.
Holographic Raised Foil brings a multicolor, 3-D (three-dimensional) effect to your printed product.
Silk laminated business cards are silky smooth to the touch with a matte appearance. Silk Cards are laminated on both sides giving these cards an attractive look and feel, while further making them water and tear resistant. These long-lasting 16PT cards are a surefire way to bring sophistication to your image and to stand out from the crowd. Silk Cards are printed in full color with Spot UV coating options.
Feel the difference with Suede Cards — soft to the touch, they add a hint of luxury to brands and create marketing pieces that stand out from the competition. Suede Cards are printed with high quality equipment on 16pt card stock, then they are laminated on both sides with 1.5mil scuff resistant, soft velvet laminate, which give them an effective thickness of 19pt.