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

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated May 20, 2021)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016


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. ...


Pasting Text with Track Changes

Track Changes is a great tool for developing documents. If you want to copy text from one document to another, with ...

Discover More

Viewing Files of a Certain Type

When you choose to open a file, Word normally displays only those files that end with the .DOCX or .DOCM extensions. If ...

Discover More

Using the REPT Function

Excel includes a handy function that allows you to repeat characters or strings of characters. How you use the REPT ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Printing and Exiting Word in a Macro

When you print a document, Word remains busy in the background until the printing is done. If you try to end the program ...

Discover More

Adding a Horizontal Watermark with a PostScript Printer

In Windows, printer drivers translate formatting into a printer control language, like PostScript, that the printer ...

Discover More

Two Printed Copies to Different Paper Trays

Many modern printers include multiple paper trays that can be used for different types or colors of paper. Word allows ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is eight more than 2?

2024-05-25 20:45:55


One more note: If your data in the list changes, you will need to refresh the pivot table.

2024-05-25 20:32:04


Part 3 was the last one, please read them starting from the one posted at 20:25:01 EDT

2024-05-25 20:28:25


Part 3
You could explicitly enter the first character in the filter-cell F1, but I advise against it: you will get an error if such choice is not valid, but if you force it to be accepted that value will be remembered and mess up your available selections.

The only thing is, that your list will not be based on the content of the cell A1, but I hope this is acceptable. This is because you cannot use formula in the filter cell. You could create a macro that would put the value from the cell A1 into the filter cell F1, when a new value is entered in the cell A1, but I do not see a benefit for this, unless the value in the cell A1 is generated by other process, rather than entered manually.

Please note that the generated list of values shows unique values only. if a particular value exists twice or more times it will be shown only once. However, you could add the Count of List into the Σ Values area like I did - this will let you know how many times each value exists in your list.

Please also note that the listed values are not case sensitive.

2024-05-25 20:27:16


Select all data in both columns (B and C) and click on Insert-Pivot Table. Confirm that your Table/Range covers all your data including the column headings. Select the location for the pivot table in an existing worksheet; in my demo it is the cell E1 in the same worksheet. (see Figure 1 below)

In the Pivot-Table-Fields pane ( see Figure 2 below) ), drag the FirstChar field to the filters area, and the List field to the Rows area. Now all you have to do is to click on the filter arrow and select from the list of available first characters. You can even select multiple filter values, if you check Select Multiple Items. (see Figure 3 below) .

For a cleaner look, remove row and column grand totals (in Pivot Table properties).

Figure 1. 

Figure 2. 

Figure 3. 

2024-05-25 20:25:01


I will post this in parts, because something in full post is triggering a rejection.

For earlier versions of Excel, I think an effective solution can be one based on a Pivot table used in a non standard way. It works with the newest versions too.
The data needs to be rearranged a little to allow for column headings, and a helper column, which will contain just the first character of each entry in the list. So, in the cell C2 enter:
Then copy this formula down for all the rows with data (doble-click on the small-square handle in the bottom-right of the cell, when the cell C2 is selected).

2024-05-25 19:06:39


Re: And, finally, if you think that the value in cell A1 might not be found in B1:B65, then you need to allow for that. The formulas so far will return a
>#CALC! error if this is the case. So, you can wrap your formula in an IFERROR function, in this way:


The FILTER function takes one more argument that specifies what to display if nothing is found:

=FILTER(B1:B65,LEFT(B1:B65,1)=""&A$1, "Not found")

This makes the use of IFERROR unnecessary

2024-05-25 16:24:07

J. Woolley

Here are two interesting points illustrated by this Tip:

1. As noted by Erik, the Tip's text comparison formulas ignore case, so an expression like
is TRUE. For case-sensitive comparison of text, use
which is FALSE. For more on this subject, see

2. Excel's TEXT(Value, Format_Text) function is supposed to require text like "@" for the Format_Text parameter, but the undocumented integer value 0 in the Tip's second formula seems to produce the same result as "@".
2a. Curiously, any numeric value for the Format_Text parameter is the same as "@" if the Value parameter is text or logical.
2b. But if the Value parameter is numeric and the Format_Text parameter is a non-zero integer, the function returns the Format_Text parameter.
2c. And if the Value and Format_Text parameters are both numeric but the latter is not an integer, the function returns the the Format_Text parameter combined with a rounded version of the Value parameter.
See (see Figure 1 below)

Figure 1. 

2024-05-25 15:47:56


If you are planning to use helper cells, be aware that formula in the article above doesn't acknowledge any matches if A1 contains more than one character, even if the ID starts with the same multi-character value entered in A1.

The formula below uses only the first character in A1 even if more than one is entered by accident:
=IF( LEFT(B1,1) = LEFT($A$1,1), B1, "")

If you want to match more than one starting character, the following formula will count any ID that starts with whatever is in A1.
=IF( LEFT(B1,LEN($A$1)) = LEFT($A$1,LEN($A$1)), B1, "")

All three formulas handle numbers as text and ignore letter case (Abc = abc = ABC).

This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.


FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.