Printing Adobe Illustrator Files

Graphic Design

If you are printing your business cards and notecards, you want to make sure you are saving those files correctly for print. A file optimized for print is significantly different than a file optimized for the web. As a result, your print quality can be impacted considerably by color mode, dpi, and file format.

Spelling & Grammar

Double, triple, and quadruple check all text for spelling and grammar. In Illustrator, you can check spelling by going to Edit > Check Spelling. I always recommend having a friend proof a piece, too!

Embedded Files

If you added any file to your piece, such as a jpg, png, or tiff, make sure to embed that file into your template before saving it. Embedding ensures your template will always contain those files. This step is particularly helpful for your printer. To embed, follow these steps:

  • Select the element/file.
  • Go to Windows > Links. In your Links Tool Panel, you will see the element.
  • In the top right-hand corner, click on the small arrow. A drop-down will appear.
  • Select Embed Image(s). You are set!

Proofing Your Print

You can request a proof from your printer to ensure you have the most accurate representation of your final piece. Be prepared that some printers will charge a fee, but it is the most proactive step to take with proofing. You could also print your document with an at-home printer.

Saving for Digital Printing

I always save my final Illustrate file with the file name either -final or -released. This practice ensures that I can make edits to this file for future reprints.

  1. Double check your document profile. Your document should be set to CMYK with a 300 PPI (pixels per inch). If your file is under 300 pixels per inch, they will be visible and pixelated when printed.
  2. Select all type. Go to TYPE < Create Outlines (or press Command Shift O). Outlining transforms live type into vector artwork, i.e., turns your letters into shapes so that your printer can access the files.
  3. Go to File > Save As. Select ADOBE PDF from the Format drop-down menu. Press SAVE.
  4. A Save Adobe PDF popup will appear. This box contains several preset options, select “Press Quality.” To reduce the file size as much as possible, you can un-check “Preserve Illustrator Editing Capabilities.” Select “Save PDF” in the bottom right-hand corner of the dialog box.
  5. That’s It! Your piece is set for printing.

How to Save Adobe Illustrator Files for Print

You might also like Working with Color in Adobe Illustrator and How to Use Cursive Fonts in Your Blog Design. Want more Graphic Design Tutorials? Check out these postsDo you have a question about saving files in Adobe Illustrator? If so, leave a comment below!

How to Save Adobe Illustrator Files for Print