Submit CMYK files to the Printer

By | September 28, 2011

Converting your files into CMYK for commercial printer is easy but that will save money and there’s no chance that the printer will use a wrong format

If you need advertising materials to be mass produced, you need to seek the services of a commercial printer. However, you have to know that commercial printing requires files to be in CMYK format because that is the only mode that their machines can read. This system has been used for almost a century already and there is just no chance that this can be changed. If you submit your files in RGB format, this will not be read properly. And if the printer will be the one to change it, they may charge you extra for doing so because although the process conversion is easy, it can eat up so much time especially for big files and that will waste the time of their employees. The process can also clog up their already busy system.

So as such, you better do it yourself before submitting your materials to the printer. Now you ask, “How do I convert files into CMYK?” Simple, you have to use a type of software like Adobe Photoshop CS2. Even if you do not have background in graphics design, you can easily do it. Here is how:

1. Launch Adobe Photoshop CS2. Go to “File” then click on “Open”. When the folders are launched, look for the file that needs to be converted. If you found it, click on it and hit “Open”.

2. Go to “Image” then “Mode”. The dropdown menu will most likely show that your file is in RGB mode. You will know this because there is a check mark opposite it. RGB is the default format because that is used by most screens—TV, computer, and digital camera displays. But that is not so with commercial printing.

3. To convert the file, just click on CMYK. Sometimes, you will notice a slight color difference in the file while looking at the monitor. Sometimes you wouldn’t. So to ensure that the file was actually converted, go to the “Image” then “Mode” again. The check mark should already be in CMYK this time.

4. Do not just “Save” the file but rather “Save as” in a different filename so that you retain the raw file.

5. Ask your printer if they need a TIFF or a JPG file. You will have to choose any of these file formats after you have clicked on “Save as.” Choose a descriptive filename so that you will not forget, such as, “brochure_cover pic_CMYK”. Do not forget to indicate that this is already in CMYK format so that it is more convenient for you when you browse through your files. And the printer will not have to check your file again.

6. Repeat this simple process for your remaining image files.

7. Save all your files in one folder and place them in a CD or a thumb drive before submission to the printer. Label your medium properly so that it will not be lost among the many things submitted to the printer from other clients.

Converting your files into CMYK for the commercial printer is easy but that will save you money and at the same time, there is no chance that the printer will use a wrong format because you already submitted your files in the correct format. That is just how it is in commercial printing. It is something that we all have to live with.