Microsoft Word files for offset printing?

In general, don’t use Word files for offset printing. Microsoft never intended Word to be used for offset printing applications. Aside from quality issues, Color Word files can’t be separated into spot colors, only printed in 4 color process. If you have to use Word to create a file to send to your offset printer, here are a few things to look out for:

If your project is going to print in one color, set up your Word file in black and white!  Your color choice can be incorporated on the press in your color choice in place of black. If you set up a color in Word, it can only be separated into the 4 primary color components: Cyan, yellow, magenta and black.

For example, if you set up your word file in a medium blue. Let’s say that the blue’s color components are 80% cyan, 30% magenta, 20% black. If your offset printer uses the black separation, he/she will only get a 20% tint of what you’re expecting.

Even if the cyan plate is used in this example, only 80% of solid can be achieved. Even if the job is converted to grayscale, the blue won’t translate into a solid color and you’ll have a tint instead of a solid where you expect it.

Offset printers have tools to convert Word files for suitability with offset printing, but it could take some work, and it’ll cost money.

If you want more than one color from a Word file, it’s full color or nothing! Color word files can only be printed in full 4 color process. Word is not capable of creating files that can be separated into spot colors. Given the typical quality of a file created by Word for offset printing, it’s a waste to spend on four color process printing.

Convert your Word files to PDF before you send them to your printer. It’ll avoid unexpected formatting changes. Your offset printer won’t know if it’s what you intended.

If you want the best results for your offset printing project, use the proper tools. For page layout, the industry standards are AdobeinDesign or Quark Xpress. For vector art, it’s Adobe Illustrator, and for bitmapped files, it’s Adobe Photoshop. Sure, you can use other capable programs, but not all printing companies support them.

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