Supplying Microsoft files for print.

October 22, 2012

in Prepress

October has seen a spate of clients supplying Powerpoint and Word documents for multi-page training and user manuals.  Although they have their issues, it is not the end of the world and with some careful work and attention we can turn them into something far more suitable and attractive.

Firstly, let’s look at the issues with how many Microsoft programs create files.

Word is a word processing programme, Powerpoint is a presentation software and they both acheive their intented use exceptionally well…presentations require projected slides and office documents require basic pages for viewing or desk-top printing .

However, this is a pretty good indication that the files they create will not be suitable for reproducing in hi-resolution printed documents.  They have restricted facility for resizing, have no facility for adding bleed/trim (an absolute neccessity where colour bleeds across the edge of the printed page) and can not output to CMYK.   All images embedded into Word and Powerpoint lose a high degree of resolution quality and even though they may look acceptable on a monitor screen, they will look somewhat ‘ropey’ on the final printed piece.  There are other inherent issues with programs like Word, where the pagination and layout can easily change subject to which platform and version you use to open the document; so the file you view may not be the same file we view, for example.

If Microsoft programmes could create files in a more print-friendly then all the hundreds of thousands of Quark and InDesign users would have wasted not only, their money but all the years of education and training on how to use them; which of course they haven’t.

What can we do?

There are a number of ways we can create a professional looking printed item from supplied Microsoft files, the most expedient of which is to create a page layout in a graphic design programme (such as the afore mentioned InDesign).  The page layout would use your document layout as a reference, but with a graphic professional’s overview and then an ‘artworker’ would cut and paste the text into our new pages, making the relevent stylised changes for headers etc.  The images would be placed for position (not embedded as Word would) and from there we can output to hi-res print-ready PDF files, pulling the hi-res images into the final output file….simple.

Why bother?

You could agrue that all of the above sounds like a ‘bit of a kerfuffle’ but it will make a difference and the money you spend on printing will be more effective.  The final result will look more professional, will be easier to read and will create a higher ROI; as the images below help to show.

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