File Preparation for Riso Submission

Your files should be separated into individual black & white images for each color that is to be printed. This is similar to preparing files for screen printing. 100% black in each color layer, will print out as 100% of whichever color you are printing. 90% black will print as 90% and so on. 

Arrange layers in ‘print’ order.

File Prep

Prepare a multi-page PDFx file in the following specification:

  • B & W / Grayscale
  • Color-separated

Additional File Recommendations

  • Outline type: This is particularly important if you have manipulated or custom fonts.
  • Flatten: Be sure to keep a copy of your original file in case you need to make changes.

File Type & Page Order

Files submitted must be saved as a black & white, multi-page PDF file. Files should be color-separated and flattened. Each color should be black & white and on a separate page. Please see the fish example below

Your flattened PDF file should consist of 1-5 pages:

  • Page 1: Color 1 in B & W / Grayscale
  • Page 2: Color 2 in B & W / Grayscale
  • Page 3: Color 3 in B & W / Grayscale
  • Page 4: Color 4 in B & W / Grayscale
  • Etc.
Rendered Image (color composite)
Page 1: Color 1 (YELLOW) in B&W
Page 2: Color 2 (BLUE) in B&W

Naming Convention

YourName_FileName_Riso-colors-in-file-order | Example: RachelDeBoard_Plantlove_Black-HunterGreen-Lime.pdf

Color Composite Version

In addition to the color-separated pdf, upload a color composite (rendered) version of your final print. This is so the printer can check the proof against your rendered image.

Proof Approval

The IC requires proof approval of Riso prints, either in-person or via locker pick up, before giving a pick-up date and appointment. We do not offer digital proofs for the Risograph.

The IC will contact you via email when your proof is ready for pick-up. Once you approve the proof, we will email you a pickup date and time, and a link to sign up for a pick-up appointment. 


The Risograph printer has a resolution of 600dpi. Use this resolution for your images.

Maximum Printable Area

Tabloid – Printable Area: 10” x 16” 
Letter – Printable Area 7.5″ x 10″

For full-bleed design, add a security bleed of at least 1/4” around 3 sides of your artwork. Leave at least a 1” margin on the lead edge of the paper. 

The top 2” of the sheet of paper are where you are most likely to see roller marks or a series of faint lines carrying ink over from print to print. 

We offer letter size printing. However, we do not recommend it for heavily inked images. 

Type Weight & Size

Type size should not go below 6pt

The same text should not be printed in two colors, as misregistration will cause some illegibility. Do not set type in Photoshop, use Illustrator or InDesign to avoid your text being rasterized. 

Type size under 12pt should be set in registration black (100/100/100/100) and for type over 12pt use a 100% black.

Channels & Layers

When working with a CMYK file in Photoshop, when your file is ready to print, open the Channels Menu and select Split Channels. This will create new grayscale files, one for each color channel from your template. 

Alternatively, if you have prepared your color separations in layers instead of channels, you can use the File > Export > Layers to Files function to split them into individual files. Then open each file, convert it to grayscale, and print it. 

Double-Sided Printing

It is incredibly difficult to achieve a perfectly aligned double-sided print. 

Slight track marks from paper feeding rollers can also appear, especially when printing more than two layers and areas with heavy inking. 

Please make an appointment with IC staff to discuss your Risograph print submission. 

Need Extra Help?

If you have further questions about file setup, please contact us by email or by scheduling a consultation.