How to Pick the Best File Format for Printing
Did you know more than 55 percent of people trust print advertising over any other format? Printing still plays a big role in marketing, as well as other departments in your business.
The key to effective print ads and even meeting reports is in quality. You want to make sure everything you’re printing is crisp and clear, with great colors.
So, what’s the best file format for printing? It depends a bit on why you’re printing, but this guide will help you pick the right format every time.
Evaluate Your Project Needs
Before you decide on a file type, you should take a look at your printing needs. If you’re printing out an email, you may not need to worry too much about the file format.
If you need to print a high-quality flyer people can read from across the room, the file type is more important. Images can be particularly difficult to work with. They need to be clear and legible from a distance.
Most image files for printing are either vectors or rasters. Most photographs are raster images. They become more pixilated as you zoom in.
Vectors are created from geometric shapes. You can scale them up and down with no loss of detail. If you need to print a large billboard ad, a vector image option is often a good choice.
The Best File Format for Printing Rasters
If you’re working with photographs, you’re using rasters. There are many different file formats out there. Only a few of them will give you a high-quality printout.
RAW is technically the highest quality file you can get for a photo. These files are often enormous because they’re uncompressed. For that reason, most printers can’t handle them.
A TIFF is usually the highest quality image format for printing. This format doesn’t compress the file, unlike some other formats. You get the quality you need in a format your printer can handle.
What about printing formats like JPEG? While this file type is common, it actually compresses the image. This can result in a loss of detail and quality.
You can print using a JPEG, but you may notice the image is pixilated or fuzzy. Since JPEG is a compressed file format, you can’t enlarge one without pixelation.
The Best File Format for Vector Printing
What about vectors? It might surprise you to learn that the trusty PDF is actually the best file type for printing vectors.
Most vectors start out as EPS files, but you need to convert them to rasters before printing. A .net PDF file is a great format to rasterize to since it incorporates high-quality print settings.
Another great thing about PDFs is that they’re accepted almost universally. Whether you need to print on your local office printer, at home, or send to a commercial printer, your file will be accepted.
Present Your Business in Sharp Focus
The best file format for printing will depend a bit on the type of image you want to print and your project needs. In most cases, you can’t go wrong with high-quality TIFF and PDF files.
If you’re not sure, check in with your printer. Ask them for their preferences for different types of projects. Using the right file formats can help your business present itself professionally. Looking for case studies on developing your business sense? Check out our extensive library and expand your knowledge of what works in businesses like yours.