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Handling print projects is a major part of every designer’s workday. It is important to know how to prepare your documents to send off to the printer. There are several issues with printing that have to be addressed, such as fonts, and making sure that all of your assets are included in the file that you send to the printer. Otherwise, the outcome of your project may not end up as expected. Creating your work in InDesign is similar to working with Photoshop and Illustrator.

The tools are roughly the same. The great thing about InDesign is that it supports native Photoshop and Illustrator files, so you don’t have to go through the extra steps of saving them as a Tiff or an EPS file. You can leave them as native Psd and ai files.

In the example, we are going to set up a few name badges for an event. Different types of guests will have different labels, but the background will be the same, the company logo will be the same, The logo for the event will be the same, but the labels will be different.

For the best printing results, your image files should be in CMYK color mode. It is okay if you have edited your images in RGB, just be sure to convert them to CMYK when you are finished.

When you are importing images, if the image is larger than the box and you can’t see it, right-click on the image box and choose Fitting> Fit Content to Frame.

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Notice that the logo has white around it. To remove this, go to Object>Clipping Path> Options. Ideally, images should have a clipping path embedded in them from Photoshop, but sometimes we don’t have that luxury. You will have to play with the Threshold settings until all of the white portions of the image disappear. If you are using a tiff, you can also use an alpha channel from Photoshop.

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If you are using a repeating element, like our logo, you can copy the image and then right-click the next empty frame where you want to place the image file and choose paste into. This will paste the image, complete with clipping, into an empty image frame.

Once you are finished with your design, InDesign has a handy feature called Package that will help to ensure that everything that belongs in your folder to be sent off to the printer is actually there, so there aren’t any missing fonts or images. This is extremely important because it is your job to assemble everything for the printer. If the job doesn’t come out right because one of your logos was missing, it is your fault and you or your design firm is financially responsible.

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Simply go to File>Package, and a dialog box will come up. Here you will be able to view all of your images, all of your fonts, and you will be able to make sure that everything will be embedded in the package. The great thing about the Package settings is that you can embed fonts, so that you don’t have to flatten your artwork. This will save you a lot of time. Keep in mind that you will have to check with your printer, because some printers won’t install fonts and their policy may be for you to flatten your artwork or to convert all of your text to outlines.

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The Fonts tab will list all of your fonts, tell you their names and if they are protected. It will tell you the font’s status, meaning if it is linked to your file properly or not. If it is missing, you can choose Find Font, which will let you track down the missing font and relink it with your project.

You can also view the output of your document, which will show you how much is Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. This is important information and is just another handy feature of the Package process.

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Another added feature that is really nice is that InDesign asks you if you’d like to make notes to the printer. You can list your contact information, as well as any special instructions or notes that you’d like to leave the printer to ensure that the job goes as you intended.

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You will receive a warning about packaging fonts that you don’t own, and InDesign will ask you to name a folder where your collected files will be placed.

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Conclusion

Printing with InDesign can be easy and efficient. InDesign has many tools and capabilities that will help make it much easier to gather your files and ensure that every asset is present when you send it off to the printer.