Take your Publisher file to a commercial printer

If you need printing options that you don't have on your desktop printer, take your publication to a commercial printer who can reproduce your work on an offset printing press or a high-quality digital printer.

For example, you might want to print in larger quantities, print on special papers (such as vellum or card stock), or use special binding, trimming, and finishing options.

If you need hundreds or thousands of copies, a commercial printer may be the most economical and efficient way to print your publication.

What do you want to do?


Consult with your commercial printer first

The most important step in the process of working with a commercial printer is the discussion that you have before you hand off your Microsoft Office Publisher file to the printer. Before you start your project, describe your project and goals, and find out your printer's requirements. Continue to consult with your commercial printer during the design process to save time and money later.

Before you create your publication, discuss the following:

 Note   You can save as a PDF or XPS file from a 2007 Microsoft Office system program only after you install an add-in. For more information, see Enable support for other file formats, such as PDF and XPS.

  • Tell the printer about your project's printing needs, such as quantity, quality, paper stock, paper size, recommended color model, binding, folding, trimming, budget, file size limitations, and deadlines. Always ask if the printer has the items that you want in stock.
  • Let the printer know whether your publication will include scanned pictures, and if so, whether you will scan them yourself or have a commercial printer or service bureau scan them.
  • Ask whether there will be any pre-press tasks, such as trapping and page imposition.
  • Ask for any recommendations that can save you money.

Why a commercial printer wants a Publisher file or a PDF file

If you hand off a Publisher file, your printing service has control over how your publication is printed. Printing to an imagesetter (imagesetter: A high resolution output device that prints to paper or film, or directly to a press plate. Publications that will be commercially printed are usually output from an imagesetter as the first step toward going to press.) is more complex and specialized than printing to a desktop printer. To ensure the quality of the printing and to avoid failed print jobs, commercial printers prefer to set the printing options themselves. A commercial printer can also make any needed corrections to a publication, such as relinking to a picture.

If you hand off a PDF file, your printing service doesn't need to have Publisher, but the printer must trust that you correctly set the printing options when you saved the file. Your printer can download a PDF file to the imagesetter's Raster Image Processor (RIP) (RIP: The processor in an imagesetter or desktop printer that interprets the commands sent by a printer driver and converts them to a raster or bitmap grid to mark the paper or film.) and extract images and change them if needed. However, the printer can make few other changes or corrections to the file. For example, the printing service cannot make changes to text or fonts.

When you hand off both PDF and Publisher files, you give your commercial printer the options for finding the best way to complete your print job.

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Use the Pack and Go Wizard

The Pack and Go Wizard greatly simplifies the process of preparing your files for commercial printing. The Pack and Go Wizard creates a packed Publisher file that contains all the elements that your commercial printer needs, as well as a PDF file if you choose.

The Pack and Go Wizard creates linked graphics and embeds fonts in your publication so that your printing service has access to the graphics and typefaces that are in your publication. In addition, the wizard lists any fonts that it can't embed and reports any problems with linked graphics.

Pack your publication by using the Pack and Go Wizard

  • On the File menu, point to Pack and Go, and then click Take to a Commercial Printing Service.

The Pack and Go Wizard will take you through each step of the packing process. For details about the Pack and Go Wizard, see Use the Pack and Go Wizard to pack or unpack publications for commercial printing.

 Note   If you make changes to your publication after you pack your files, be sure to run the Pack and Go Wizard again, so that the changes are included in the publication that you take to your commercial printing service.

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Use Design Checker to detect any problems in your publication

Design Checker runs as part of the Pack and Go Wizard and is set to run only commercial printing checks. You can also run Design Checker while you are creating a publication.

Design Checker lists all occurrences of problems that it detects. These may be such things as an element that is partially off the page, overflow (overflow: Text that does not fit within a text box. The text is hidden until it can be flowed into a new text box, or until the text box it overflows is resized to include it.) text in a story (story: Text that's contained within a single text box or a chain of linked text boxes.), or a picture that is scaled disproportionately. In some cases, Design Checker may offer you an automatic fix for these problems. In other cases, you must fix the problems manually.

Design Checker lists problems according to a set of checks. You can choose to run a set of commercial printing checks, several other sets of checks, or all sets.

After you start Design Checker, it runs continuously. When an item is fixed, it disappears from the list of problem items. Any new problems automatically appear in the list.

Run Design Checker to check your publication for problems

By default, Design Checker runs checks according to the type of publication that you set up. If you are checking to see whether a publication is ready to be commercially printed, some of the default checks may not be needed.

  1. On the Tools menu, click Design Checker.
  2. If you want Design Checker to run commercial printing checks only, select the Run commercial printing checks check box and clear the other check boxes.
  3. In the Design Checker task pane, under Select an item to fix, click the arrow next to the item that you want to fix, and then do one of the following:
    • Select Go to this Item to go to the page where the problem item is.
    • Select Fix automatic fix suggestion to automatically fix the problem with the item.

 Note    The automatic fix varies, depending on the problem. In most cases, no automatic fix is available.

  • Click Never Run this Check Again to turn off the check. This affects all instances of the problem.
  • Click Explain to open a Help topic that more fully explains the problem and offers suggestions about how to fix it.

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Applies to:
Publisher 2007