Download a printable PDF version of the Flight Check List

Avoid Printing and Finishing Delays With a Preflight Checklist

Failure to include all items required by your service provider or failure to properly prepare digital files or camera ready artwork can result in both time delays and create addtiional costs. Use of a comprehensive preflight checklist can save time, money, and frustration.

Preflight Checklist Items for File Prep

  1. _____ Printing Setup
    Check placement of crop marks and bleed allowances. 1/8″ for bleeds is typical but could vary by printer.
  2. _____ Font Styles
    Use only the actual fonts for bold, italic, and other font styles.
    True vs. Fake Italics | True vs. Fake Bold
  3. _____ RIP
    Avoid problems that keep files from printing by cropping images before placing in document, simplifying blends, avoiding nested graphics.
    Ripping | RIP Errors / Fixes
  4. _____ Trapping
    Find out in advance who will do trapping on the files and submit accordingly.
    Avoid the Need for Trapping
  5. _____ Imposition
    Find out in advance whether file is to be submitted in reader spreads or printer spreads.
  6. _____ Extraneous Elements
    Remove references to unused fonts and colors. Remove non-printing items from the pasteboard.

    Preflight Checklist Items for File Submissions

  7. _____ Digital File / Camera Ready Artwork
    Use a digital format preferred and accepted by your printer. Verify software version and platform, PostScript or PDF requirements. If supplying camera ready artwork, prepare it in accordance with the service provider’s requirements.
    Sending Files to Your Service Provider
    Composite vs. Pre-Separated PostScript or PDF
    Delivering your files to your service provider
  8. _____ Fonts
    Send both screen and printer fonts for Type 1 fonts. Send the same format (Type 1, TrueType, OpenType) as used in the document. Send all the fonts used, including fonts in EPS graphics (or, convert fonts in graphics to outlines before placing in page layout application).
    Sending Fonts to Your Service Provider
  9. _____ Graphics
    Send all graphics used, in the right format as required by the service provider and at the proper resolution for the output device. Convert graphics from RGB to CMYK.Supply original source files for graphics.If providing images for scanning, mark them for cropping, include required size and placement information. IncludeFPO placeholders.
    Sending Graphics to Your Service Provider
  10. _____ Media / Transfer Protocol
    Label disks with your name, address, phone number, and any job number supplied by the service provider. When sending files on disk, use a type of media supported by the service provider, properly formatted for their platform, and using a supported compression method. Include only the most current version of the document to be printed and no unneeded or alternate versions of text files, fonts, or images on the disk. Verify preferred compression method (ZIP, etc.) when transferring files electronically.
  11. _____ Backup Copies
    Never send your only copy of a file to your service provider. Make backups. Keep copies of all application files, fonts, images, PostScript, and PDF files.

    Preflight Checklist Items for Hard copy

  12. _____ Job Sheet
    Include a filled out job sheet (your own or one supplied by the printer) that includes your name, company name, address, phone number, job number, directories and file names and descriptions of everything on the disk, name and version of software used, font names, and printing instructions.
  13. _____ Proofs
    Include composite laser or color proof printed after ALL changes and corrections. Check proofs to ensure they accurately reflect the graphics, fonts, bleeds and include crop marks if required. Note on proof if it is not a 100% size representation of final product. Label all proofs with your contact information.
    Contract Proofs | Digital Proofs
  14. _____ Color Separation Proofs
    Check that all colors separate properly. Indicate on separation proofs which color/plate it is. Label all proofs with your contact information.
  15. _____ Dummy
    Indicate folds, diecuts,etc.Dummy vs. Comp

Most service providers will charge extra for such things as converting RGB images to CMYK, outputting laser proofs, creating bleeds, and other corrections. Refer to this preflight checklist before submitting files to your serivce provider in order to avoid priinting and finishing delays and added expenses.

There is also preflight software which helps to automate the preflight process. However, it should never be used as a substitute for manually checking your files and submissions.


Download a printable PDF version of the Flight Check List