Preparing Files: Best Practices

When preparing your file(s) for printing, you'll want to follow a few best practices, which are outlined below:

  • Create your publication using a page layout program. We recommend Adobe InDesign for all page layout work. You can create documents using Microsoft products such as Word, Publisher, PowerPoint, etc.. However, some limitations or issues might arise when printing your final piece.
  • Define bleed, if desired. Bleed is a printing term that is used to describe a document that contains images or elements that touch the edge of the page, extending beyond the trim edge and leaving no white margin. When a document has bleed, it must be printed on a larger sheet of paper and then trimmed down.

    To bleed an image or color off the edges of the page within InDesign, do the following:

    1. From the File menu, choose "Document Setup."
      The "Document Setup" dialog box will appear.
    2. Expand the "Bleed and Slug" section to set bleed measurement.
      Note: We recommend 1/8” (0.125”).
    3. Click OK. Your page will appear with a red guideline just outside the edge of the page in your document window.
      Note: Remember that when laying out your document, the image or box of color must extend past the edge of the page in order to truly bleed out to the red margin outside the edge of the paper (the thicker black line).
  • Create a high resolution PDF with crop marks and bleeds. Once your document has been finished and proofed, saving as a PDF will lock in your formatting, fonts, and picture resolution. Failure to do so could result in formatting changes between computers when sending a file from a native application like InDesign or Word.

    To set crops marks and bleeds within InDesign, do the following:
    1. From the File menu, choose "Export."
      The "Export" dialog box will appear.
    2. From the "Format" field, select "Adobe PDF (Print)."
      Once the file is saved, the "Export Adobe PDF" dialog box will appear.
    3. From the "Adobe PDF Preset" field, choose "High Quality Print” or "PDF/X-1a:2001."
    4. Select the "Marks and Bleeds" menu.
    5. In the "Marks" section, select "Crop Marks." 
    6. In the "Bleed and Slug" section, select "Use Document Bleed Settings."
      Note: If you have defined a bleed in your InDesign document, then the number you used will now appear in the boxes for "Bleed."
  • Check logo usage and branding guidelines. A few tips are provided below:
    • Review University Communications and Marketing's The Miami Brand guidelines.
    • To obtain logos, visit PhotoShelter.
    • Remember that the Miami logo cannot be squished, compressed, or squeezed. Its original proportions must be kept.
    • The Miami "M" should always be filled with red or white. If you are placing the Miami logo on a colored background, it should have a white outline and be filled with red or white.
    • Use the "hollow" Miami "M" ONLY on a red or white background so the interior is red or white.
    • Jpegs will have a solid white box around the logo. EPS files will not.
    • View the samples (from The Miami Brand guidelines) of common misuses of the logo on University documents.
  • Choose correct paper type. Typically, this step requires two decisions: Gloss or matte finish; text weight or cardstock. Text weight is thinner and easier to bend and most often the paper used in books and magazines. Cardstock or Cover stock is thicker and intended for use on booklet covers, postcards, or business cards.

  • Submit the job online by visiting the Arnold printing portal.