File Preparation Information

The IC Riso can run two colors at a time. However, your files should be separated into individual gray scale 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. Typically lighter colors should be printed first.

It is possible to make your files using color, but remember simply converting to gray scale may not work. If you convert yellow to gray scale, it could end up looking like a light gray. As a result, the yellow may be hard to see as yellow ink is already fairly light. If you’re looking for a bright yellow, those parts of your file should look black when saved. 

For images prepared in Photoshop, separate out each color layer or channel into an individual gray scale file. 

For images prepared in Illustrator or InDesign, separate out each color layer into individual gray scale PDFs that can be printed from Acrobat.

Your final file should be 11” x 17” in portrait orientation. The top of your file is the lead edge of the paper when it is loaded in the printer. 

File Type

PDF (multi-page PDF file separated by color). Remember, the Riso only can print one color at a time

Naming Convention (required)


Example: MichellePeck_CatonRug_Red-Blue-Yellow-Black.pdf


  • Name: Michelle Peck 
  • File: Cat on Rug
  • Color 1: Red; Color 2: Blue; Color 3: Yellow; Color 4: Black

Your flattened PDF file should consist of 2-5 pages:

  •  Page 1: Rendered Image (color composite) of your final piece
  •  Page 2: Color 1 in Black & White / Grayscale
  •  Page 3: Color 2 in Black & White / Grayscale
  •  Page 4: Color 3 in Black & White / Grayscale
  •  Page 5: Color 4 in Black & White / Grayscale


The Risograph printer has a resolution of 600dpi. Use this resolution for your images. 360dpi will also work but if you are working with thin lines, we recommend 600dpi

The Line setting is perfect for vector-based or text-heavy art or designs. Gradient and Halftone settings should be used for any art with tonal variations (photos, color gradients, etc.)

Maximum Printable Area

Tabloid – Printable Area: 10” x 16” 

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. 

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 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. 

See the different File Preparation Guides for more detailed information about various methods of file preparation. 

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.