Tips and tricks in designing and submitting your documents.


We prefer to receive files in PDF format (for information on converting your files to this format please contact the helpdesk), but we also accept Microsoft Office Applications and graphic files (JPEG, TIFF, etc.)



You’ve scoured Google Image Search and found the perfect photograph to put on the cover of your full color printed brochure, you send it off to Repro, but when it’s delivered the next day the photograph is all jagged and ugly looking, what happened?  You’ve just run into one of the most vexing issues in the desktop publishing world, low resolution graphics.  To start we need to think of the two different worlds that graphics exist in; screen and print. 

Screen resolution is generally 72 dpi, this means that every square inch has 5,184 (72 x 72) dots or pixels in it, since the ability to run programs and to load web pages is dependent on the speed of the computers processor and speed of internet connection, graphics intended for screen use cut quality corners quite liberally in order to maximize these resources.  The file types most associated with screen graphics are .GIF and .JPG.

Professional print resolution is ideally 300 dpi for photographs and up to 1200 dpi for text and vector graphic information.  When it comes to graphics for print, the larger the file and the higher the dpi the better.  For instance, a picture that looks good on your computer screen might be 576 x 360 pixels or 8 x 5 inches on your screen.  That same picture, that took up almost half your computer screen, should be printed no larger than 1.6 x 1.2 inches, or a little larger than a postage stamp.  The file types most associated with printing .EPS and .TIFF, though low/no-compression .JPG is sometimes acceptable.

Seattle University’s Marketing and Communications department  has a special web page ( for officially approved logos, templates and photography that can be an excellent resource for your designs.  When choosing logos and University artwork for reproduction at Repro, please use the “.EPS” files, the screen preview may look 'fuzzy' when inserted into some programs, however since they are vector files, they can be scaled to any size without losing quality when printed.



Like pictures and graphics, there is a difference between how color on your computer screen works and how it is created for a printed document.  Computer screens, TVs, digital projectors, and other similar equipment use the RGB (Red, Green, Blue) method where different spectrums (colors) of light are combined.  Printing most commonly combines 4 inks; Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (CMYK) together.  To reconcile these two different color models and methods professional design studios will have a variety of calibration equipment for high-end computer monitors, scanners and printers so that they are all synchronized.  Since most of the computer equipment on campus is consumer grade, this can pose some difficulty and frustration when trying to match colors.  If exact color reproduction or matching is important to your project, please talk to us ahead of time so that we can find a solution based on the equipment and software you are working with.



If you use any special fonts, make sure that you embed them or include a copy of the font for us to install on our computer.  Many programs do not give a warning if a font is missing, so when we open your document on our computer that is lacking a font that you used on your computer, we have no idea that it’s missing.



When designing with Microsoft Office, keep in mind that each of the programs was developed to fulfill a particular task. 

Microsoft PUBLISHER is the best option for laying out printed documents.  It has many useful templates to easily set up booklets, brochures, folded cards and other printed documents.  It has rudimentary diagnostic tools to let a third-party printer know if something is wrong with the document (missing fonts or graphics) and to more easily fix those problems.

Microsoft WORD was developed from old word processing programs, over the years more features we’re added to allow more formatting options and even adding pictures, but fundamentally its’ main purpose is to act as your computer’s text editor or ‘typewriter.’  When designing documents like tri-fold brochures or quarter-sheet flyers it’s important to think out your margins and columns carefully.   Keep in mind that Word does not output high-quality graphics and pictures, its designers have desktop inkjet printers in mind for final output rather than professional printing equipment.

Microsoft POWER POINT is a great tool for putting together presentations for computer screen or overhead projection and printing notes and outlines to help an audience follow along with a presentation.  Designing other documents (brochures, flyers, booklets, etc.) in Power Point is not recommended, it is nearly impossible to get professional printing results because of its focus on screen output rather than printing output. 

Microsoft EXCEL is designed to organize data, there are a variety of functions for which it is very useful (organizing addresses for a mail merge for instance), but laying out a printed page is not one of them.  Since the entire purpose of the program is organizing raw data, most “layout” functions are lost when opening an excel document on a new computer. 



Similar to Microsoft Office, each program of the Adobe’s Creative Suite has a specialized purpose.  All Adobe products can save or “export” to PDF.  Unless we at Repro are expected to be doing additional design work, we’d prefer to receive files in this format (use “Press Quality, or “High Quality Print” settings when doing so and remember to include 'bleeds' if applicable.)

PHOTOSHOP is designed for image and bitmap manipulation, such as correcting contrast and color on photographs destined for publication for print or internet.  While it is possible to do design work in Photoshop, it is generally not recommended for print output.

INDESIGN is Adobe’s flagship graphic layout program and can be used to design everything from business cards to glossy magazines and newspapers. 

ILLUSTRATOR is designed for vector graphic manipulation and creation.  It can also be used for layout, however it is limited by only being able to work on one “page” at a time (not a problem if you’re working on a single-sided business card, but can be quite a headache if you’re designing a 64 page magazine).