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In the past five or six years at Allen Press, we have seen a significant increase in the number of our customers who do their own typesetting and page building on microcomputers. Typically these customers use one of several popular, increasingly sophisticated and powerful "desktop publishing" or "DTP" programs. In response, we have equipped ourselves with the necessary hardware and software and have put together a team of experienced electronic publishing specialists devoted to processing desktop files and producing high-resolution output to film or paper for offset or waterless printing.
As we have for over fifty years, we continue to offer high-end typesetting services for the majority of our customers. We also understand that the advantages of desktop publishing for the customer in theory are 1) more control over the final product, 2) lower costs, and 3) shorter schedules. We say "in theory" because these advantages require a knowledgeable customer and the appropriate communication between the customer and Allen Press, particularly at the beginning of the printing process.
If you know and understand DTP and want to create your own page files, we welcome the opportunity to work with you and to help translate your efforts into high-quality printed material. We also want to meet your expectations in terms of quality, cost, and schedules. That is why our guide was written and why it approaches desktop or electronic publishing from the printer's point of view. It contains practical advice about ways you can ensure that the progress of your page files from disk to printed pages is as trouble-free as possible.
Allen Press, Inc. — 810 East 10th Street — Lawrence, Kansas 66044 — (785) 843-1234 — FAX (785) 843-1244
|Table of Contents|
|Application vs. Postscript TM Files||Table of Contents|
The PostScript file is the data that goes directly to the imagesetter, including copies of graphics. PostScript files are safer in that no changes can occur to your file; however, there are two disadvantages to sending us PostScript files: 1) if a last minute change is needed, you have to produce the changes and send us new PostScript files. We can't modify a PostScript file. 2) PostScript files must be created with correct settings for a specific imagesetter, line screen values and DPI in your Page Setup and Print dialogues or they will not print or impose correctly. See Appendix A for instructions on writing proper Postscript files. We will want to test one of your PostScript files before launching it into production.
|Sending PDF files for output||Table of Contents|
We can also accept properly prepared PDF files for output. Please see Appendix B for the procedure to create PDFs appropriate for output. We will want to test one of your PDF files prior to lauching it into production.
|Page Layout Applications||Table of Contents|
Our preferred page layout applications are QuarkXPress® and Adobe® PageMaker®. We are capable of working with both Mac and PC versions of both applications. Whatever you use, your digital files should be accompanied by a final hard copy output at 100% with all color breaks marked on it. This may seem redundant, but it assures us that, first of all, your files are printable-if your printer will not print them, ours probably will not either. Your proofs will also show us what your files are supposed to look like. It is also a good idea to send us a preliminary test file for a sample output so that we can evaluate it for potential problems-including whether we need your XTension (QuarkXPress) or Addition (PageMaker) for output-in advance of the entire job.
Clickhere for more notes on these applications.
|Proper Page Setup||Table of Contents|
Set your page or document size to the trim size (the final size) of your publication. This is very important: if you set your pages up as "facing pages", put even-numbered pages on the left, odd-numbered pages on the right. Make sure that your margins do not vary from file to file. Use master pages for positioning of running heads/feet so they are always in the same place. This consistency in margins and spacing is vital if your publication is to go directly to imposed film or plate.
|Bleeds||Table of Contents|
If you wish to print an object all the way to the edge of a page or a cover, a "bleed" will be necessary. Extend the edge of the graphic 9 pts. or 1/8" past the edge of the page. A 1/8" bleed tolerance will be sufficient to allow for minor movement of the paper during the trimming process.
|Fonts||Table of Contents|
Allen Press must have the identical fonts you have used to construct your page files. We ask you to send copies of those fonts along with your job. You should create a folder called "job fonts." Place copies of your screen and printer fonts in that folder and send it along with your page files. We may legally use copies of your fonts as long as we do not retain them after imaging your job.
We recommend using Adobe PostScript TM fonts. True-Type(r) fonts are not recommended. They create conflicts with PostScript versions and will not match PostScript versions even if they have the same name. TrueType fonts are single files, the screen and printer information being contained in a single scaleable font file. Other versions of fonts can be identified by the different icons that will appear in the printer font file. Selecting "Get Info" on a chosen printer font file will usually identify the manufacturer.
Macintosh screen fonts are either loose or in a suitcase; if they are loose the Finder calls them "font" in the window under "kind"; if they are in a suitcase, they are called "font suitcase". Printer fonts are never in suitcases; they are always individual files, and are called "PostScript TM font" in the Finder window.
Avoid system "bitmap" fonts. These are fonts designed strictly for your computer screen or dot-matrix printer and do not yield good results on an imagesetter. Macintosh bitmap fonts are normally named after cities (Geneva, Monaco, New York, Chicago) which makes them easy to identify. Windows fonts can be examined in the Control Panel under Fonts. The font listing will describe the font in brackets at the end of the name/size description. Fonts described as a monitor standard (EGA, VGA, 8514) or a non-PostScript printer standard (Plotter) are bitmap fonts.
When formatting your text for italic and bold typefaces, it's best to select the bold or italic typeface in the font family, such as Times Bold or Times Italic, rather than selecting Times and then assigning it a bold or italic style from the style menu.
Avoid placing type in a graphic that is then placed inside another graphic that in turn is imported into your page application file. The imagesetter will have a difficult time locating this font.
Finally, if you have included text in an EPS graphic file, we must have the screen and printer fonts for that text before we can correctly produce your graphic. If you can, convert the text in EPS graphics to outlines. This will eliminate the need for the fonts. See Adobe(r) Illustrator(r)/Macromedia Freehand TM.
|Font Icons||Table of Contents|
|Rules and Lines||Table of Contents|
Our presses can print a rule as thin as 0.3 points; do not use rules any thinner than that. Don't use hairline rules; they are too fine for our presses to hold.
When working with graphics that have rules applied to them in the page layout application be sure to view them at 400% to ensure that the graphic and the rule are touching each other. A gap between these elements will not be visible when printed to a 300 or 600 dpi laserprinter, but it will show when printed to a high-resolution imagesetter. This also applies to rules coming together at corners, and any rules that are meant to be touching a graphic.
|Trapping||Table of Contents|
If your files contain color information-spot or process color-"trapping" may be necessary to achieve printability. Faulty trapping information renders film output useless, so that the responsibility for correct trapping information is an issue. If you wish to print a single color or process color all the way to the edge of a page or a cover, a "bleed" will be necessary.
We can create or adjust traps and bleeds for you on request. For some graphic files we may need the native format file rather than an EPS file (e.g., Macromedia Freehand TM ) to create the proper trapping.
Be sure to mark color breaks on the hard copy version of your files or we cannot be responsible for how the colors will separate.
If you send us 4-color scans, they must be converted to CMYK mode for separations. If you want to have duotones, please call us first. See Adobe® Photoshop®.
|QuarkXPress||Table of Contents|
Make sure all picture boxes that have CMYK or grayscale TIFFs are filled either with any color except "none". If they are filled with "none", the pictures will have jagged edges or strange white areas in the middle. Illustrator/Freehand EPS images, Photoshop bitmap images, or Photoshop EPS images that have clipping paths do not have this limitation.
|Adobe PageMaker||Table of Contents|
When placing graphics on the page, do not select to store a copy of the image inside the document. We would like you to send us the original copies of the graphics when you send us your complete job. This allows us to open and fix them if there is a problem and keeps the size of the Pagemaker file manageable.
Likewise, when saving the document, do not choose to copy any linked files or files for remote printing except when saving to disk for the Service Provider.
|Images and Graphics||Table of Contents|
Creating high-quality, printable graphics and placing them correctly in your page files can be the most complicated and difficult aspect of electronic publishing, especially when it comes to halftones and color. Unless you understand the issues of tonal range, dot gain, the relationship between line screen value, DPI, and shooting percentage, we suggest that you let us scan, digitize and place your artwork in your page files. We can also scan your artwork and return it to you as low-resolution digitized files for you to place. These will be exchanged for high-resolution files at the time of imaging.
You may, of course, do your own scanning and placing and assume responsibility for the quality of the output. If you are scanning and/or placing artwork in your page files, call us in advance and allow enough time for testing one of your files. Also, refer to the following Adobe Photoshop notes.
Text information in an EPS graphic file requires that we have the font file for that text to print properly. See Fonts.
There are many graphics formats, but only a few tend to be reliable. Try to stay with EPS and TIFF on the Mac and PC. Using other file formats can be risky. Test your files to make sure they print properly before committing to them, and call us if you have any questions.
Here are a few tips about graphics:
|Adobe Photoshop||Table of Contents|
|Nested Graphics||Table of Contents|
If you place a graphic within a graphic that is then placed in your page layout program (for example, you place a Photoshop TIFF file into Illustrator, then place the Illustrator file into QuarkXPress), the graphic may not print correctly.
If you do nest graphics, be sure to send us the nested graphic too (i.e. in our example above, send us the Photoshop file as well as the Illustrator file), and embed the graphic in the EPS file.
|Adobe Illustrator/Macromedia Freehand||Table of Contents|
|Sending Text for Pagination||Table of Contents|
If you wish to send us word-processed or text files rather than page files, request a free copy of the Allen Press Guide to Electronic Manuscripts (1998) for details. In general, text should be submitted in a popular word-processing format to ensure ease of translation into our systems. Best bets are Microsoft Word® 4-5.5 (Macintosh or PC), or WordPerfect® 4.2, 5.0, 5.1, 6.0 (PC). Most any other word processor can be translated from Mac or PC formats, but the results vary.
A good practice is to send ASCII (text-only) copies along with the word processor file. The ASCII version loses all text formatting, but can be read reliably when all else fails. Keep in mind that text files are for capturing keystrokes only. Allen Press will be responsible for creating the appropriate style and format. Efforts on the part of an author to heavily format text are usually wasted since normally much of this formatting is stripped out at translation time. Sometimes undesired formatting must be removed by tedious manual labor before the text file can be used. Never include graphics in a word-processing document. If you have electronic graphics, save them in a separate file (see Graphics).
A good rule of thumb is to use only character formatting—i.e., the formatting you can do on single characters or words (bold, italic, superscript, subscript). Any other special features of your word processor should not be used, especially such features as automatic page numbering, automatic footnote placement, automatic headers and footers.
|Data Transfer||Table of Contents|
Due to the size and number of files required for page layout documents and their graphics, modem transfer (this includes dial-up email services such as Compuserve) is generally not a good idea. Some journal-sized files take as much as 12 to 24 hours of long-distance phone time to move by modem. Federal Express is just as fast and much cheaper.
Allen Press has a direct connection to the Internet that will make the rapid sending and receiving of files possible for those clients who also have direct access. Call us for updated information.
We can accept files from PCs on 3.5 inch disks, Zip and Jaz disks, and CDs. If your files are too big to fit on these media, utilities are available to compress and/or split the files onto multiple disks. If you compress your files, let us know what compression format you are using.
Mac users may submit their files on 3.5 inch disks, Jaz and Zip drive disks, and CDs.
No matter how you send your files, you will want to assure that we understand what you have sent us by filling out and sending along a white Digital Prepress Envelope, which has checklists to fill out on front and back. Please contact your Account Manager to receive a supply, or email Sue Proctor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Blueline Corrections||Table of Contents|
We blueline all DTP jobs. Unless corrections at this stage are extensive, we prefer to base those corrections on the marked-up blueline itself and make them in the original files used to generate film. If you insist on sending a replacement file, we may have to output the entire job again to ensure consistency among pages. Unless corrections are sent as individual pages, this is an expensive option. The reason for this has to do with the changes we have made in your original files for proper imaging: e.g., substituting fonts, adding graphics, reconfiguring page and printer setups, and converting spot to process color.
|Archiving||Table of Contents|
We assume that you maintain copies of the files that you send to us. If you have sent us files on disk we will return them to you just as we received them. We will not save or store these files at Allen Press after printing. If, however, you have asked us or we have found it necessary to create or enhance artwork, place scans, or in any way modify or add to your files, we will copy these files to the media of your choice and return them to you for a fee that covers labor and materials. Call for a quote.
|The Most Important Advice to Follow||Table of Contents|
The most important thing you can do to ensure the success of your paginated files is to communicate. Fill out the white Allen Press Digital Pre-Press job envelope completely so we know what to expect. Let us know what you intend to do before you do it, especially if it involves changing procedure, software, fonts, computers, or anything else that could impact the nature of your work.
Remember, we see many files in different formats on a regular basis. We are aware of many potential problems and can help you avoid them. Ask questions. Ask to talk to the people who will handle the work whenever you have a technical question. By staying in close communication with us and proceeding carefully, your work will go more smoothly with fewer delays and problems.
|Glossary||Table of Contents|
ASCII File—A text file containing ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) characters only.
Bitmap fonts—Low-resolution fonts designed for computer screen only (e.g., Chicago, Geneva, New York).
Bleed—An image or color that extends past or "bleeds" off one or more trim edges of a page.
CMYK—Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black. The four "process" colors used by printers to reproduce full-color images.
DCS—Desktop Color Separation. A color separation file format which splits an EPS color file into its CMYK elements, along with a composite preview file, for a total of 5 files.
DPI—Dots Per Inch. Describes the resolution of an output device or a monitor.
DTP—Desktop Publishing, which refers to typesetting done on microcomputers and low-end scanners using off-the-shelf page layout and scanning software.
EPS—Encapsulated PostScript. A file format that stores outlined images in PostScript language commands. This is the best format for high-resolution black and white line art.
FPO—For Position Only. Refers to low-resolution graphics to be replaced with high-resolution graphics later in the production process.
LPI—Lines Per Inch. A unit of measurement for halftone screens. PAINT-Low resolution bitmapped graphic.
PCX—Low resolution file format produced by PC PaintBrush(tm). PICT-The basic Macintosh format for displaying graphics on the monitor at low resolution, or 72 dpi.
PostScript(tm)—A page description language developed by Adobe Systems, Inc. and used by many laser printers and imagesetters.
PPI—Pixels Per Inch. Describes the resolution of an image in Adobe Photoshop.
Process Color—See CMYK. RGB-Red, Green, Blue. The primary additive colors used in color computer monitors.
RIP—Raster Image Processor. Hardware and/or software that translates PostScript into bitmapped page elements for output on an imagesetter.
RTF—Rich Text Format. A generic wordprocessing format that uses codes within an ASCII file to preserve formatting.
Spot Color—The use of one or more extra colors on the page, usually referred to as PMS (Pantone Matching System) color. These colors do not separate into 4-color process, see CMYK.
TIFF—Tagged Image File Format. A high-resolution bitmapped image. The preferred format for halftones and highly detailed line art.
Trapping—The printing of one ink on top of another to achieve a third color or to overlap for registration.
| Appendix A:|
Preparing Postscript files for Allen Press
from your Quark and PageMaker files
|Table of Contents|
Any questions should be directed to Sue Proctor or Steve Fair in Prepress.
| Appendix B:|
Preparing PDFs for Allen Press
from your Quark and PageMaker files
|Table of Contents|