Save time and money by following these artwork guidelines when submitting electronic files to The Forms Outlet, Inc.


We prefer these industry-standard page layout programs (these versions or earlier):

  • Adobe InDesign 2.0 Adobe InDesign CS (Mac or PC)
  • Adobe Illustrator 10 Adobe Illustrator CS (Mac or PC)
  • Adobe PageMaker 7 Adobe PageMaker 7 (Mac or PC)
  • QuarkXPress 4.1 QuarkXPress 4.1 (Mac or PC)
  • Corel Draw 11 Corel Draw 11 (PC only)

We support the programs listed below at an additional charge (these versions or earlier.) We must reformat or rebuild these files in one of the industry-standard page layout programs listed above, which will result in additional typesetting:

  • Adobe Photoshop 7 Adobe Photoshop CS (Mac or PC)
  • Microsoft Publisher 2003 Microsoft Publisher 2003 (PC only)
  • Microsoft Word 2000 Microsoft Word 2000 (PC only)
  • Microsoft Excel 2003 Microsoft Excel 2003 (PC only)

We prefer the native application files for supported software, but we will also accept the file types below. Please ensure that your file is at a high enough resolution for print, and prepared according to the Layout and File Preparation guidelines below (also see "More about PDFs" on our Design Tips: File Basics page):

  • PDF PDF (1200dpi - 2400 dpi)
  • TIFF (minimum 300dpi)

File Preparation - bleed and trim

  • File Names: Please give your file a name which is easily matched to the job (eg. "").
  • Bleeds: If your print job requires printing to the edge, be sure that you include at least an 1/8" bleed past the trim marks.
    More information on bleeds...
  • Trim Marks: Please provide trim marks on your file, but not overlapping the finished page area. Set the trim marks to Registration Color, if available.
    More information on trim marks...
  • Image Area: We recommend at least 1/8" margin between text and trim marks.
  • Trapping: Trapping digital files is the process of compensating for misregistration on the printing press by printing small areas of overlapping color where objects meet, typically .25 point. DO NOT TRAP artwork that you submit to us, as we will handle all the trapping for your files. If you have specific trapping needs, please let us know when you submit your job.
  • Fonts: Save all fonts to paths/outlines. For example in Illustrator 10: Type>Create Outlines. If this is not possible in your software, provide us all fonts that are used in the document. Design Tip: Avoid distorting the shape of fonts, and avoid using more than two or three fonts on a page.
  • Graphics
    • Graphic Files: Save all supporting graphics as either TIFF or EPS files. JPG and GIF files will not reproduce as well. Photos should have a resolution of 300dpi. See "Scanning" below.
    • Placing Files in your Layout: Raster-based images placed in a page layout program should not be sized more than 100%. Scaling your graphic up will give unpredictable results. When possible, graphics should be rotated or scaled within the image program before being placed into the layout program.
    • More information on types of artwork...
  • Colors
    • Spot Colors: When using Pantone or custom spot colors in a graphic program such as Photoshop or Illustrator, ensure that all color names are consistent in your page layout file and all linked images. Colors with different names, no matter how slight the difference, will produce separate plates, resulting in extra costs. Documents should include only the colors that you want printed.
    • Full Color: If your job is to be 4 color process, be sure to convert all spot colors to process before submitting your files. Be sure to convert RGB, CIE-Lab, and indexed color files to CMYK for process separation before sending your document to us.
    • More information on color...
  • Scanning
    • Black and White Logos: Scan using bitmap or "line art" mode at 1500 lpi/ppi and at 100%. Save in TIFF format.
    • Screens/Half-Tones (grayscale images): Scan using 8-bit grayscale mode at 300 lpi/ppi and at 100%. Save in TIFF format.
    • Full Color (process color): Scan using RGB or 24-bit color mode at 300 lpi/ppi and at 100%. Convert to CMYK. Save in EPS format.
    • More information on scanning...


  • Advance Review: The Forms Outlet encourages communication with our customers in the early stages of a design project. An advance review can often prevent delays or error in final output. Send your files before they are completed, if you wish -- we'll review them and offer suggestions.
  • Supporting Files: Remember to provide us with all linked images and non-outlined fonts along with your layout file.
  • File Clean-Up: Cleaned up files prevent errors in output and may save you time and money in the long run. Prior to submitting your files to us, take time to insure that unnecessary items are remove from your files. This includes:
    • items left on the artboard
    • pages not required for output
    • unused colors
    • unused styles
  • Sending Files On Disk: You may submit your camera-ready artwork and supporting files to us on 3.5" 1.4 MB floppy disk or CD-ROM. Please label your disk with your name, company name, phone number, file name(s), and software type and version. Let us know if you need your disk returned to you. Keep backup copies of your job. Do not send us your only copy, as The Forms Outlet, Inc. is not responsible for loss or damage to your electronic media.
  • Sending Files Electronically: Your camera-ready artwork and supporting files can be emailed to us at To protect your files from corruption, please compress files using SIT (Mac) or ZIP (PC). Please keep email files to under 5 MB. Please follow up with us to verify that the file was received and meets our requirements. Get Stuffit (Mac)| Get WinZip (PC)
  • Large Files: File larger file than 5 MB should be sent on disk (see "Sending Files On Disk" above.) We do not currently have an anonymous FTP site for upload, but are considering providing one. Let us know if this would be helpful to you.
  • Send a Printout: Provide us a printout of the file in its finished form showing us the results you expect. Color inkjet or laser output is acceptable. For mulit-color files, please submit both a composite output and separations of the colors in which we are to print. Whenever possible, output proofs at actual size. For jobs with special folding instructions, please include a folded sample.


Please let us know the following when you submit your artwork: