11 Steps to PreFlight

PreFlight is a way to just go over your file to make sure any common errors when it comes to printing are easy to fix. You can set up different profiles for different output destination, so a project you might use for print might have different PreFlight needs then a project used for web or strictly a PDF. In this guide I will touch on the basic of printing outputs. I will show you how to set up a profile that we accept and will make your printing experience more streamlined.

1. Open your PreFlight panel if it already isn’t open. Go to the window pulldown, then output and PreFlight. This will open the PreFlight panel. It will display a few different pieces of information but only if errors are in your profile. You can see ahead of time if you will encounter any errors in your PreFlight by looking at the bottom left corner to see if the No Errors panel shows any.

PreFlight Error Bar
2 Errors in the bottom left of InDesign

PreFlight Textbox
Notice the errors in both text and image linking.

2. From the PreFlight panel menu, click on the menu button (shown below) and choose Define Profile.

Define Profile
Menu Location in PreFlight Panel

3. Once the PreFlight Profiles dialog box opens, you will now be defining new changes that best fit your document so click on the plus sign on the left hand side.

4. For the Profile Name you can name it anything you would like, if you follow this guide to send us a file you can name the Profile KCP so you know that it works with our standards.

5. To the right you will now have a few different options to choose from. First General is just for adding a description of what and why you would use this profile. Feel free to put whatever you would like into this box.

PreFlight general
General dialog box

6. Next is Links, by default Links Missing or Modified and Inaccessible URL Links are listed, we plan on keeping these setting for this profile.

7. For color, this is where it gets a bit tricky depending on if you are printing digital or offset. For digital prints you are fine with leaving all of these setting off. However for offset if you plan to use spot colors or printing in CMYK I would suggest reaching out to us if you need help. For offset CMYK printing click on COLOR > Color Spaces and Modes not Allowed and check that, then check everything but CMKY.

PreFlight CMYK
Remember these setting are only for CMYK if you want spot color they are different.

8. Now we will open IMAGES and OBJECTS, check the box, and open Image Resolution. The default setting of 250 will give you a nice image depending on the size of the piece printed. However we always suggest the lowest resolution of an image for print should be 300. If you are printing for larger pieces the larger the resolution should be. Below this is Non-Porportial Scaling of Placed Object, I prefer to have this on, so none of my images come out looking stretched out or crushed. Last thing in here is the Bleed and Trim hazard. This is helpful to make sure nothing important gets cut off. When making a booklet I suggest Check for Objects Near Spine so everything is clear after binding.

9. Under the TEXT drop down, the only thing I would suggest for the best when it comes to printed material is the Minimum text size, however due to legal notices at the bottom of some pages it might not fit your needs, if you are going for clear crisp looking text I would set it to at least 6pts.

10. We are almost done, the DOCUMENT drop down. Select Bleed and Slug Setup, you can leave the standard of 0.125 inches for all the sides, just make sure its checked.

11. That’s it click SAVE. Now when you go back to your PreFlight dialog box, make sure this profile is selected in the Profile Drop down.

If you have any questions feel free to reach out, we can also review your needs and setup a Profile for your project.

Print Ready Files

PrePress Files
Warning with PreFlighting

Making print ready files is a process of preparing your digital files to work with our printing presses. This is the connection between the design process and the print process. At Kelly Commercial Printing we focus on the technical processes involved in your printing success. We go above and beyond when it comes to handling your projects and have everything printed just as it was intended. We want your next brochure, booklet, mailer, and more to look just the way you want it and have it as eye catching on paper as it was on screen.

PrePress Process

Our prepress team is trained to comb through your files to make sure everything is print ready, if something is wrong with the file we offer services to help correct the file from our end or we can give you the output of what went wrong so you can fix it yourself. Sometimes it is an easy fix and other times it might require a full overhaul of the work. Kelly Commercial Printing does offer a quick guide to preflighting your document, this however doesn’t cover everything for every job and is just a quick overview of what to expect. For your own custom quote on prepress services feel free to reach out to us.

Ready to Print?

That is great, to send us your files you can either email us your files if they are small enough, or contact us for files larger than 25mb, and we can set you up with access to our file uploader. If this isn’t something you are comfortable with and are located within the tristate area, we are more than willing to drive to you to pick up your files on a CD or USB Drive.

Creating reports and comments

After you create a profile, open a PDF document and open the Preflight dialog box. Choose the profile from the list and click the Analyze button as in Preflighting a file. A summary report then appears directly in the Preflight dialog box. The summary is an initial description of any errors found or a list of checked items and a statement confirming the file meets the conditions specified by the profile.

For a more informative document, you can create a report that lists the text summary and highlights on all pages in the document where errors are found. Click the Create Report button in the Preflight dialog box after analyzing a document to create a new PDF file as a report summary. When you open the PDF, you’ll see the first page listing the summarized comments for errors found, and on each subsequent page you’ll find highlights marking each area where an error was found as shown below.

Preflight Report Page
Preflight Report Page

Preflighting a File

Acrobat requires you to have a file open in the document pane in order to run a preflight check unless you use a batch sequence or droplet. To preflight a document, be certain a file is open and click the Preflight tool in the Print Production toolbar. In the scrollable and resizable window, you see a number of preinstalled profiles listed with a description for the kind of preflighting each profile performs. Use the scroll bar on the right side of the window to display additional profiles, and open & close the various disclosure triangles. If the number of items gets too many, try using the Show & search/filter options.

The Options menu contains a number of menu choices for editing profiles, importing and exporting profiles, and creating profile reports.

Preflight Menu
Preflight Menu

If a profile exists containing the conditions you want to check, select a profile and click the Analyze button. After analyzing a file, a summary report appears in the Results tab in the Preflight window. Any errors in the file are reported in the summary. The summary report is listed in a hierarchy with subnotations listed under parent categories. Click the icon to the left of each category to expand the list.

If you see errors reported after preflighting a file, you need to fix the problems either in Acrobat using Preflight’s FixUps, the Print Production tools or back in the original authoring program, and recreate the PDF file.