How to Preflight Your Job File

What is preflight?

Basically, preflight is going over your completed job files to identify and correct potential problems before the files are output to film. Printers borrowed the term “preflight” from the procedure pilots use before taking off.

Just as in air travel, proper preflighting can make all the difference in ensuring a smooth, successful outcome for your project. Proper preflight procedures not only reduce your prepress costs, but also make sure your job is accurately output within your turnaround time.

What to look for

Some of the most common issues seen when preflighting files are:

  • Wrong or missing fonts and supporting graphics
  • Incomplete or corrupt files
  • Incorrect names or formats for spot and process colors
  • Graphics and images in RGB (computer) color instead of CMYK (print) color
  • Low-resolution photographs taken from the Internet or digital cameras

Preflight checklist

You don’t have to be a printing expert to preflight your job files. Simply double-check your job before you submit it to make sure you’ve included everything. The following are a few questions to ask when preflighting your job.

  • Have you thoroughly check for typographical errors?
  • Have you supplied all the necessary files, including fonts and linked images?
  • Have you provided a list of all the fonts in your job?
  • Are your page dimensions, orientation and margins correct?
  • Have you created bleeds where ink prints off the edge of the paper?
  • Have you deleted unused colors and removed unwanted objects from the pasteboard?
  • Are your photographs properly formatted with the correct resolution and color settings?
  • Have you included a printed sample with your files?
  • Have you provided clear instructions?

More information

This has been a very brief overview of preflighting, and you may encounter additional challenges as you prepare your print jobs. If you have any questions about preflight, contact your Customer Service Representative (CSR) or call us at 360-664-4343.