The Importance of Preflighting

As you may imagine, the term "preflighting" has its roots in aviation, referring to the series of preparations and checks airline pilots must perform prior to takeoff. In printing, preflighting is the process of analyzing native digital files to ensure that the print production process will go smoothly. This helps eliminate schedule delays, errors during printing and costly reruns.

book printingAt Sentinel Printing, we use the latest software to carefully preflight every document we receive to save you time, money and headaches. By locating and correcting errors prior to printing, the preflighting process helps avoid costly reprints. Many times, proper file preparation can help eliminate some common problems even before you send us your files. To that end, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Pay Attention to Layouts - Be sure that the dimensions of your layout files match the trim-size dimensions of your finished product. It sounds simple, but is often overlooked and can become a time-consuming problem to correct in the prepress stage. If you need help determining appropriate layout margins for your projects, give us a call!

Select Appropriate Fonts - At Sentinel Printing, we recommend using Type 1 PostScript fonts rather than TrueType fonts for your projects. Many TrueType fonts are not fully compatible with high-resolution imagesetters and can deliver unpredictable results during prepress production. Also, be sure to include both the screen and printer fonts when sending us your files.

Pack it Up - Once you're project is ready to be printed, you will need to send us your layout files, images and fonts. These items can be hard to find individually on your computer - especially on complex projects - and the file collection features found in layout and design programs aren't always easy to use.

The good news is that many page layout software include a preflight option within the program, that are ideal for designers.  Adobe InDesign and Adobe Acrobat both come with a preflight option.  We preflight files through a software that is basically a plugin for Acrobat called PitStop.  Enfocus PitStop is a program we highly recommend to our customers, that want a more advanced preflight software.  We can give pointers on how to setup the PitStop preflight profiles to fit your needs.  A great deal of time and money can be saved by using this software to ensure that we receive every file we need to produce your job - the first time.