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The five most common errors when creating print data

Creating print data yourself can be tricky. Despite many tutorials, our colleagues from Customer Services have noticed that some errors occur more often than others when creating print data. Here are the top five errors when creating print data – and of course, you will find out how to avoid them.

Caution: Trip Hazard! Avoid these errors when creating print data

1. The correct data format is set in Word but is not carried over into the PDF export.

You have drawn up a Word document in the right size, but after export the FLYERALARM print data check nonetheless throws up an error message due to the format? The most frequent cause of this: PDF data can be generated via the Print function. Despite this misleading name, this path is not suitable for professional offset or digital printing. Instead, the PDF should be generated via the function Save as (Word 2007 / 2010) or Export (Word 2013 / 2016).

Generally, the creation of print data using Microsoft Word is to be advised against.

2. Although you have set up the special colour correctly for ballpoint pens, you get an error message.

You can have many ballpoint pens printed with Pantone C or HKS K colours. However, even if you have set the full-tone colour correctly, the data check occasionally throws up an error message. Why? If there is no error in the creation of print data, you may simply have forgotten to select the correct full-tone colour when ordering the pens in the configuration step Options. For example, if you have set up a Pantone colour in your print data but accidently ticked HKS, the print data check will generate an error message.

3. You have correctly set up a partial coating or hot-foil finish as the fifth colour channel, but an error message appears nevertheless during the data check.

You have considered all safety buffers, minimum line thicknesses and grammages when setting up your foil or coating finish – and yet you still get an error message when the data is uploaded? The most frequent cause of this: JPEGs and TIFFs. You cannot export these if you have set up a finish in your print data. Instead, you have to export a PDF file. All relevant information are contained in this.

4. You have created your print data with OpenOffice exactly as per the specifications – but the colour space is still not correct.

If you create your print data with OpenOffice, your data will automatically be in the RGB colour space. However, for printing we recommend the CMYK colour space, ideally with the correct ICC profile. If you send your data for printing in the RGB colour space, there may be colour differences between the preview on the screen and the finished print product. That is why we recommend a layout program that can handle CMYK colour spaces (e.g. Illustrator, InDesign, Scribus, Affinity Designer, etc.). Alternatively, you can send your print data to our colleagues in the Data and Layout Service and have it optimised there for an additional charge.

5. A format error is shown, but you set up the document precisely in the correct size.

This is often the result of a very trivial error: when exporting your PDF file, under Marks and Bleed you probably accidently ticked All Marks or Trim Marks. Remove the tick here and recreate the PDF – the error should now be resolved.

These questions regarding potential errors when creating print data are also often posed to our Customer Services colleagues:

Is black writing legible on gold paper?

Yes, black paper can be printed on like any other type of paper. The appearance of your layout in colour terms will of course be affected by the gold paper, but black writing is still extremely legible.

In the case of 4/4-colour print products, it is possible to provide a two-sided PDF. Is that also possible for 4/1-colour print products?

No, unfortunately not. If the front and back of your print products are to be printed in different colours, you must provide a separate PDF file in each case.

Can you print transparent labels and stickers with white?

No, unfortunately that is not possible for transparent labels and stickers. Instead, choose the product “Labels on a roll with spot white colour” – here you can use white as a print colour. Note: as described in the data sheet, in this case the colour white must be set up as a special colour.

Can ballpoint pens be printed with white?

Yes and no. All ballpoint pens that can be printed with full-tone colours (so Pantone or HKS) can also be printed with white. Simply create a full-tone colour for this purpose and name this colour channel white. For ballpoint pens that are printed photo-realistically in CMYK, this doesn’t work.

Can large-format print products such as posters, plans or banners be drawn up in Word?

Unfortunately this is only possible to a limited extent, as only print products up to a maximum size of around 55 x 55 cm can be drawn up in Word. Using OpenOffice as an alternative, you can draw up print products up to 300 x 300 cm. For large-format print products, you should nevertheless access proper layout software.

Do you still have questions about errors when creating print data?

Do you have further questions about errors when creating print data? If so, comment on your problem directly here in the blog. Or ask our colleagues directly. If you would rather hand your project over to genuine professionals, you will be in good hands with the Data and Layout Service at FLYERALARM.

You can also very easily design many of your print products and promotional items online. You need no layout software and no previous knowledge of designing promotional items for this purpose. Using drag-and-drop, you can simply pull together your individual layouts – including a live preview on a 3D model and in perfect print quality.

Get in touch with FLYERALARM

Data and Layout Service

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