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why can't I print my word, publisher or canva file on a commercial press?


When supplying your artwork for commercial printing, there are certain technical specifications required on files to ensure that your job will not only print correctly, but also offer the quality expected from a professional print company.

We all have software programmes that let us produce our own designs. Sometimes half of the work is already done for us but there is a technical side to design and understanding the end use of the item being designed is an integral part of that process.

We often will ask what program your artwork has been designed in as it will immediately indicate to us if we may have problems. While you may be able to design, click and print from Word, Excel, Publisher or Canva at home or the office, the process works quite differently on a commercial press. While we understand that many clients wish to design and supply their own files, we suggest you discuss your project with us before commencing work to avoid unexpected artwork or file handling costs later in the process.

After accepting a supplied file we run a comprehensive pre-flight check. This process determines whether there are any technical issues with the artwork including checking for the correct document size and specifications, colour type, image resolution, correct colour separation, bleed and crops. This helps ensure your file will print the way that you intended. We find the top 5 problems we have with supplied artwork is - the file is not a pdf, there is no bleed or incorrect bleed, the file is not the correct size, the colours are incorrect (rgb, cmyk, spot) and images are very low resolution. Read more in our blog "5 most common errors when supplying your artwork" as we expand on these issues further.  Our supplied artwork guide will help.

The Print Group Australia offer both digital and offset printing. Artwork for the offset press is extremely particular so programs like Adobe InDesign must be used to ensure the file can even be printed. Artwork goes through far less scrutiny when being printed on digital machines as they are more ‘forgiving’ of artwork created by non-professional designers which may have some technical errors. Publisher, Word, and Excel will only allow RGB colour file creation (not suitable for offset print production), and colour conversions from RGB to CMYK may have unpredictable results.

Our team is here to help and we will always check your supplied files and flag any issues so we can help advise or fix before sending to production.