Quick Tip #3

PDF Export Preset & Settings 

PDF documents can be exported using many different settings depending on the desired output destination (print, web, working file, etc.).

PDF Tips 

There are many ways to create a PDF file, but not all of them work well for professional printing and/or file sharing. The way in which you create a PDF can dramatically alter the quality of your printing.

The Imaging Center recommends using PDF/X-1a for most print submissions.


  • All transparency and layers are flattened
  • Spot colors are maintained
  • RGB content is converted to CMYK


  • This is a newer PDF standard that takes advantage of modern prepress processes.
  • Retains live transparency & layers
  • Retains CMYK, RGB, LAB, and spot colors
  • Intended for workflows that support live transparencies
  • Definitely worth trying to use!

Recommended Changes to Settings

Marks & Bleed: Only include crop & bleed marks if the file set up for that item requires it. Click ‘Use Document Bleed Settings’ to include previously setup bleed, usually should be set to 0.125″(1/8″)

Output Color Conversion: Change to No Conversion & Include all Profiles

Test Strip Package

The Imaging Center offers a FREE test strip package for our inkjet printers. This includes the Plotter/Graphic Inkjet printer and our Desktop and Wide-Format Inkjet printers. Test strips are highly recommended because they allow you to see exactly what the final print will look like. A test strip or hard proof is the most accurate kind of proof since it is an actual print made using the same materials that will be used to make the final print. Test strips should be checked for color accuracy, contrast, and resolution. 

If you would like to do a test strip, please fill out an Inkjet Test Strip form.

Test strips can take up to 1 business day. Once you are satisfied and “approve” your print, you may then submit the final order for the full-sized image. Remember to save your test strip file in the same exact way as your final image (.jpg test strip for a .jpg final print OR a .pdf test strip file for a .pdf final print).

Once a test strip has been approved, the file can be submitted for processing. Complaints will only be considered if a test strip was printed and approved by the customer. 

Test strips are FREE!! (within reason of course!). Students can print the same test strip for free on three different types of media.

Test strips should be no larger than 2” tall by the width of the document and contain areas of the file that offer the best representation of color and contrast. Please label the file test-strip.

Creating a Test Strip in Photoshop

From the toolbar, select the Crop Tool (c). You can specify the Crop options using the Control bar at the top.  

Choosing W x H x Resolution from the Aspect Ratio menu displays a Resolution field in the options bar and can auto-fill the Width and Height values.

Remember test strips can be 2” by the width of the document, in this case, 27”.

Creating a Test Strip in Illustrator

The quickest way to crop an image in Illustrator is to change the size of your artboard. 

Document Setup > Edit Artboards (Shift+O)

Enter the width and height of the test strip, in this case, 18” x 2”. You can also create a custom name for the test strip.  

File > Save As > Format > Adobe PDF (Print)        

Saddle-Stitch Booklets

Stuff You Should Know

A saddle-stitched bind is among the cheapest and most common methods of bookbinding. Folded sheets are nested by the printer, one inside the other, and stapled through the fold line.

The Imaging Center can print saddle-stitch booklets that are 100 pages or less. The more pages you have, the thicker the book will be. Ideally, this process is most effective with booklets of 64 pages or less. Books with more pages will become bulky once folded and will not lie flat.

A saddle-stitched booklet needs to have pages in multiples of four. This means that your book should have a number of 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 28, 32, 40, etc. pages.

If your book is not in multiples of four, the RIP software will add a blank page to the end of your document, causing your book to print incorrectly.

There are two ways to submit files for printing saddle-stitch booklets. If you don’t require a full bleed, jump to the section: Printing Saddle Stitch Booklets (the Easy Way). If you do require a  full bleed, this requires extra planning; jump to the section: Printing Saddle Stitch Booklets with Crops and Bleeds (also known as the more thought-out way).

Remember, none of our printers can print to the edge of the paper. There will always be approximately a 1/8” white margin around the entire document.

The minimum height for a saddle-stitch booklet is 5.5”.

Students can designate a thicker stock for the cover and a thinner stock for the insides. If there is nothing specified, the booklet will be printed on the same media.

Printing Saddle Stitch Booklets (the Easy Way)

The size of your document will depend on the size of your folded, final booklet.

Since saddle-stitch booklets are folded sheets of paper, you should determine your document size by using standard paper sizes.

There are two standard options when printing without a full bleed in the IC. 

  • 5.5” × 8.5” (letter/8.5” × 11” folded in half)
  • 8.5” × 11” (tabloid/11” × 17” folded in half)

Your booklet will have a thin white border.

To utilize this method, export your final document to PDF as single pages with no crop or bleed marks.

File > Export > Adobe PDF (Print)

Adobe PDF Preset > PDF/X-1a or PDF/X4 

Export As > Pages
Confirm that the Pages option is selected. You want single pages when exporting this way. 

Marks & Bleeds > Make sure all marks & bleed options are unchecked.


Open your file to make sure that all the pages are in the correct order

Printing Saddle Stitch Booklets with Crops and Bleeds 

There are a few different ways to properly prep your saddle-stitch booklet document to print with crop and bleed marks. This will help achieve a clean and accurate cut after printing.

You will need access to Adobe Acrobat Pro and Adobe Distiller. These programs are available in all computer labs on campus.

You will also need to export your document using InDesign’s Print Booklet feature. This process will help you create an imposed file.

Step One – Creating a PostScript file using InDesign

File > Print Booklet

Select Print Settings 

  • Printer > PostScript File
  • PPD > Device Independent
  • Print Blank Pages > Checked

Select the Marks and Bleeds tab in the Print Booklet dialog

  • Crop Marks > Checked On
  • Bleed Marks > Checked On
  • Offset > 0.0833”
  • Use Document Bleed Settings > Checked On

Click OK. This will return you to the Print Booklet dialog window.

Select the Setup tab in the Print Booklet dialog

  • Pages > All 
  • Booklet Type > 2-up Saddle Stitch
  • Margins > Auto
  • Print Blank Printer Spreads > Checked On

Select the Preview tab. Make sure your file looks correct.

Click Print.

Your file will now be saved as a .ps file (PostScript file)

Step Two – Creating a PDF file using Acrobat Distiller

Open Acrobat Distiller

Default Settings > PDF X-1a:2001

Settings Menu > Edit Adobe PDF Settings

You will have to know what your exact document size is. This example is for an 11” × 17” booklet exported with crop marks, using document bleed settings.

Enter the exact width and height of the document.  

Select Save As. 

Save the .joboptions file with the image size and brief description of the PDF settings.

Click Save.

With Acrobat Distiller Open, you should now see your newly saved setting.

File > Open

Select and open the .ps file.

The .ps file will process and then be replaced with a PDF file with the same name. If saved correctly, the progress bar should say Status: Ready.

Open the file in Acrobat to double-check that your file has been saved properly, in the correct page order, and in the center of the page. 

For More Information

Bringing Your Own Paper

General Information

The Imaging Center accepts student-supplied paper to be printed on our Canon 810/910 laser printer. All paper must be for LASER printers and not inkjet printers.

Students should still submit their files for print using our laser print forms, found HERE. You will be prompted to include important information about the paper that you plan to print on. If accepted, you will be sent an appointment link to drop off your paper at the IC.

All paper must be brought into the Imaging Center in its original packaging with the weight and g/m2 clearly marked. If the original packaging is not supplied, the IC will not print using the supplied media. The original packaging or a spec sheet must be brought in each and every time that a print job is submitted.

The paper must be cut to a specific standard size (8.5″ × 11″, 11″ × 17″, 12″ × 18″, 13″ × 19″, etc.). If you submit the paper that is sized 12.5” × 19”, the IC can cut it to size for you at a cost of $1.00/cut.

When submitting a print job, please supply between 5-15 sheets of the same paper type for testing purposes. For example, if you submit a textured sheet of paper, settings must be modified slightly so that the toner adheres properly on the page.

Turnaround Times & Proofing

The standard turnaround time for bringing in your own media to use on the Canon 750/850 is 24 hours (one business day). During midterms and finals, turnaround times may increase.

If you are running a large job and want to see a proof copy, turn in a print submission for only one or two pages of your document. This will be completed within 24 hours. Once you are satisfied and “approve” your print, you may then turn in the final order for the full amount of pages & copies that you want. 

A sample page or proof page is highly recommended because it allows you to see exactly what the final print will look like. Students will still be responsible for the price of any additional sample pages once changes are made.   

Accepted Paper Types

The Canon 810/910 can handle a variety of media weights and types up to 13” × 19” in size and 16# bond (60gsm) to 120# cover (298gsm) in weight.

Some 120# cover papers with a texture may not process through the printer.

The IC recommends the majority of digital printer paper from Neenah or French Paper. When ordering from Neenah, make sure you are purchasing digital paper. They often sell similar papers in large sheets that must be cut. That paper is not meant to run through a digital press.

Unaccepted Paper Types

The Imaging Center will not accept the following media at this time: vellum, newsprint, Canson, metallic, transparency, or watercolor papers, in addition to most adhesive labels or stickers.

The Imaging Center does reserve the right to deny submitted paper types at any time.

Quick Tip #2

What is a Bleed? 

A bleed is printing that goes beyond the edge of the sheet after trimming. It is the portion of the background that will be trimmed off after the file is printed and cut down to the finished size. A bleed gives the printer a small amount of space to account for the movement of paper and design inconsistencies.

Artwork, background colors, and other non-critical design elements are often extended into the bleed area.

When a document does not have a bleed, there is a good chance that either:

  • there will be a small white gap between the edge of the printed area and the cut line OR
  • your image will be cut into; thus important design elements or text will be cut into

Bleeds are usually 1/8” from where the cut is to be made.

The Imaging Center has a cutting tolerance of 1/16”. Anything that comes within 1/16” of the cut line could potentially be cut off. Text or other design elements that you want to ensure are not cut off, must be placed more than 1/16” away from the expected edge of the design.

What is a Border? 

By default, the Imaging Center will print your image in the center of the sheet or roll of paper. If you want a white border surrounding the image, you need to build that into your file. Border thickness is important because if the border is too thin, it may look uneven after trimming. The thicker the border, the better the finished cut print will look. 

Note: The text that is near the “cut line” in the second image will be trimmed off.

Quick Tip #1

To streamline the printing process, please combine multiple like-sized PDF (or .jpg) files into one single PDF file. 

Option 1

File > Create > Combine Files into a Single PDF

Please note, the Imaging Center cannot print a PDF portfolio. 

Acrobat - Combine Files
Option 2

Select the Add Files button in the left-hand corner of the Combine Files dialog box. In this dialog box, you will be able to select additional files to be included in the combined PDF. 

You can drag and drop files to make sure that the files are in the correct page order.

Select the largest file size via the icons within the Options menu located in the center of the dialog box. 

Select Combine. 

Video Tutorial

IC Quick Tip | Combining Multiple Files into a Single PDF file

Convert Color to Grayscale in Photoshop

In order to qualify for black & white pricing on the plotter printer (Epson T5270D), your image must first be converted to grayscale. If your image is submitted in color, you will be charged for the color price.

For the best results, you should always work from a duplicate file. You don’t want to toggle back and forth between different color spaces (especially on an original file) as you can lose critical pixel data. 

Before converting images, it’s best to do the following: 

  • Do as much editing as possible in the original color mode
  • Save a backup copy before converting. Be sure to save a copy of your image that includes all layers so that you can edit the original version of the image after the conversion.
  • Flatten the file before converting it. The interaction of colors between layer blending modes changes when the mode changes.
Open file in Photoshop
Image menu > Mode > Grayscale
Click Discard

Photoshop converts the colors in the image to black, white, and shades of gray.

NOTE: The technique above minimizes file size but discards color information and can convert adjacent colors to the exact same shade of gray. Using a Black & White adjustment layer increases file size but retains color information, letting you map colors to shades of gray.

For more information, check out


Convert Color to Grayscale in Illustrator

In order to qualify for black & white pricing on the plotter printer (Epson T5270D), your image must first be converted to grayscale. If your image is submitted in color, you will be charged for the color price.

For the best results, you should always work from a duplicate file. Illustrator preserves editing capabilities but to keep yourself organized, it’s in best practice to save a separate grayscale IC print file.

Illustrator - Select All Objects
Open file in Illustrator
Select all of the objects whose colors you want to convert.

To select all objects in a file, choose 

Select > All. (To deselect all objects, choose Select > Deselect)

Illustrator - Unlock All
Don’t forget to unlock all layers & objects on your artboard! 

Object menu > Unlock All

Illustrator - Edit Colors - BW
Edit menu > Edit Colors > Convert To Grayscale
Illustrator - grayscale

NOTE: Use the Edit > Edit Colors > Adjust Colors command to convert objects to grayscale and adjust the shades of gray at the same time.

Your Illustrator file is now ready to save as a PDF file! Happy printing 🙂

For more information, check out


Convert Color to Grayscale in Adobe Acrobat

In order to qualify for black & white pricing on the plotter printer (Epson T5270D), your image must first be converted to grayscale. If your image is submitted in color, you will be charged for the color price.

Sophie and Bubba
Open PDF file in Acrobat

Select Print Production from the toolbar on the right

Preflight Menu
Select Preflight
Acrobat - Preflight
Pull down the Essentials tab & select Prepress, Color, and Transparency
Acrobat - Preflight Menu
Choose Convert to Grayscale from the Convert Colors menu  

Select Analyze and Fix

Adobe will prompt you to save your file and a Save As PDF dialog box appears. 

Save your file with a unique name. 

Acrobat - Green Check
Once you select Save, Adobe will convert your file.

If there are no issues, you will receive a green checkmark .

For more information, check out