Software Programs in Printing

As a commercial printer we get files from all kinds of software programs. There are many high quality graphics programs that are made for printing RIP's. You can or will use multiple programs to produce a print job. Indesign, Quark, and Pagemaker are page layout programs. Illustrator is made to create graphics and vector art. Some typesetting is available in Illustrator. Photoshop is made for images. I would not recommend typesetting in Photoshop. This is a list of preferred programs that most commercial printers will support:
InDesign
Quark Express
Adobe Illustrator
Freehand
Photoshop
Pagemaker

Then there are many programs that meet with varying successes and qualities that people try and use. It is usually dictated by what they have available to them. These programs are not made necessarily to print from on a commercial print rip. Some of these are:
Corel Draw
Powerpoint
Excel
Word
Publisher
These sometimes will work fine but at other times just will not rip or will error out with no explanations. The normal answer is we printed this before and it worked fine or we printed on our color laser printer and it was fine. It's not that these programs can't work it's just that they are not consistently successful, like programs that are made for professional graphic printing and professional graphic RIP's.

Your best chance of success would be to turn it into a high quality PDF file. Convert all colors from RGB to CMYK. Pick spot colors from the Pantone palette. Don't just create a color blue let's say. Include all fonts and supporting graphics or change the fonts to outlines. Did you include bleed if the image goes to the edge of the sheet? If it does you must pull all graphics and colors an 1/8" past the trim. If you know you are digital printing a 1/16" will be sufficient. Put the page size of the document as the trim size. Choosing the right software program can have crucial effects on the quality of your printed product and how much your commercial printer can help you in resolving issues.

See also:
CMYK No-No
Picking a Printing Company
Printing Terms

Written by Buzz Tatom
buzz@odeecompany.com
The Odee Company