Print Specs Overview
Acceptable File Type for Submission
Communication Arts accepts digital files for print advertisements in the following file formats:
PS (PostScript). These files are generated by printing a file to disk rather than to a printer.
PDF/X. These are PDF files that meet an industry specification for printing.
PS (PostScript) files are created by printing a desktop application file to disk rather than to a printer. PS files should not be confused with EPS (Encapsulated PostScript), which is a different type of file format. PDF/X (Portable Document Format/Exchange) files are created by converting PS files to Adobe PDF files that meet standards defined by the DDAP organization and recognized by the ISO.
A PDF/X file embeds all fonts and images and ensures that all elements conform to the level of the internationally accredited PDF/X standard. PDF/X also eliminates the most common errors in file preparation. By adopting a PDF/X workflow, not only will you gain the confidence that your print-ready files will reproduce as you intended, you will save time and money as well.
While PS files are accepted, most potential problems are eliminated by completing all steps and providing a PDF/X file. If, after following the instructions on our site or in this guide, you still have any technical questions, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or phone our production department at (650) 815-4277.
Overview: Making a PDF/X File
The following is a brief overview of the steps required to create a PDF/X file. Detailed instructions are included throughout this guide. You can also find a complete step-by-step guide here.
If this is your first time producing a digital ad for Communication Arts, please download the complete Digital File Specs (1.5 MB). In it you'll find many useful files that will make the process of creating PS and PDFX files much easier. PC users will need to call our production department for assistance.
Prepare your document in its native application such as InDesign, Illustrator or Quark. Make sure that your document adheres to all File Specifications. Set up your file according to the document specifications, or copy your ad into one of the template files provided for download (5.5 MB), making adjustments as necessary.
Create a PS (print to PostScript) file. Instructions are provided giving detailed steps for printing to PostScript from several different applications. In order to create a valid PS file, the proper PostScript Printer Description file must be installed (as outlined in step 1).
Convert the PS file to a PDF/X using Adobe Acrobat.
Send your PDF/X file to a service bureau for output. A dot-based, SWOP-approved proof should be produced from the same file you submit to CA, and the proof should accompany your digital file.
After reviewing the proof for color accuracy, complete a Digital File Information Form and submit it to CA with your ad and proof.
Fax your completed Digital File Information Form to (650) 326-1648 and mail both the proof and the PDF/X file on a CD-ROM to Communication Arts.