Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Preparing Files for a Commercial Printer.

Preparing Files for a Commercial Printer

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 12, 2017)

When it comes time to do your final output, you may want to consider working with a service bureau to prepare camera-ready copy. A service bureau is a company that will take your files and output them on a high-resolution printer or phototypesetting system. Camera-ready copy is final output that is suitable for final printing. A service bureau could be anyone, ranging from your local print shop to a national commercial printer.

If you decide to work with a service bureau, make sure you contact them as early as possible. Chances are good that they will want your output in PDF format; it seems to be the accepted standard for generating final output these days. Some service bureaus, however, may want your original Word document, as well. This is particularly true if they will be doing more than just printing for you. If this is the case, you will need to discuss the following points with them to make sure you both understand what is necessary in order to get the highest quality final product:

  • What fonts are used in your document? Does the service bureau have the same fonts, from the same font vendor?
  • What printer driver are you using? Does it match the printer driver used by the service bureau to output to its equipment?
  • What is the size of your final printed output? Will the bureau's equipment handle the dimensions you are using?
  • Exactly what does the service bureau need from you? Does it need the original Word files, a PDF created from your Word files, or perhaps a PostScript output file?
  • What is the timing of your project? When must you have the files to the service bureau in order to receive the camera-ready copy when you need it?

When looking for a service bureau, consult the Internet or the Yellow Pages (if you can still find one) under the heading typesetting or typesetters.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (8308) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Preparing Files for a Commercial Printer.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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