Guidelines for

Deliver print ready PDF's

What's That Mean?

There are many ways to create PDFs from your document in today's layout applications, however when preparing them for an LSC Communications Digital Solution Center it is important that they are prepared according to the Digital Solution Center's specifications to ensure proper printing.

The below information is specific to the Magazine Digital Solution center in Pontiac, IL however many of the same rules apply to other LSC Communications DSCs. If you have any questions regarding file preparation please contact your Technical Systems Analyst for assistance.

Start Preparing Your Files
  • 1
    Prepare a Great File
  • 2
    Check Your Cover & Spine
  • 3
    Final Check
  • 4
    Submit Your Files!

A file that can be prepared and viewed on-screen, by anyone, anywhere, is a powerful tool in the arsenal of print production. The Portable Document Format (PDF) is just such a file. PDF files give a good impression of how the page will look upon output; however, keep in mind that merely generating a PDF will not fix a poorly constructed page. To ensure its suitability for print, take it a step further and make it a PDFx-1a file - a focused subset of PDF designed specifically for reliable prepress data interchange - which can help you realize the full potential of this flexible and efficient file format. PDFx-1a file format is the preferred file format of the LSC Communications Digital Solution Center.

design tips

Design Tips

Although design and layout programs support many ways to create a document, some things should be avoided.
  • InDesign "Fat" Type. Often when type is wrapped around an image, or if it just flows near it, the type can appear fattened or bold when the PDF is created. This is the result of transparency flattening, layering, and how the PostScript file is written. When InDesign writes the PostScript file, it must flatten all elements on the page into one layer. In doing this it can rasterize type that intersects an image even though this might not be apparent (it may intersect the part of the image that is not visible because it is outside of the picture box mask). The simple way to prevent this is to make sure that the type is "above" the image. To do this you can build your type on a layer above they image or select the type and choose "object - Arrange - Bring to Front". Another method is to "Outline" theaffected text or linework while in InDesign.
  • InDesign or Illustrator Gradients and Vignettes. Vector gradients and vignettes made directly from InDesign or from Illustrator can be very complex to RIP and take excessive time to make plates. Rasterizing the gradient or vignette in Illustrator or Photoshop (at 300 dpi) and then placing it into your layout program as an image will greatly reduce.
  • Typesetting. All typesetting should be done in an application that will retain the vector properties of the text. Do not rasterize the text with pre-press editing software like Adobe Photoshop. The result of doing so will cause screened text on output to a postscript-printing device. Text should be saved as (vector) elements of the postscript file or in the line work layer of a raster file format such as Tiff-IT P1 or CT/LW.

Page Construction

Find out how to construct pages for offset plate

Type and Rules

Read our type and rules requirements


Read about trapping

Prepare Your Colors

See guidelines on preparing colors

Cover & Spine ⇒

When supplying the cover and spine to the LSC Pontiac DSC it is important that they be assembled together into a single PDF file. Not only will this ensure that they are laid out correctly but it will also make upload processing quicker. You will be able to proofread and approve your cover faster so that your cover can be exported on time.

Standard Method
Printing with LSC via the Pontiac DSC
Alternate Method
Printing at the Pontiac plant
⇐ Previous Final Check ⇒

When building a document in your layout application it is important to make sure it is prepared correctly. Here is a check list of items to review before creating your final PDFs.

⇐ PreviousSubmit Files ⇒

You're ready to submit your files!

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