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File Setup Guidelines

Thank you for choosing StationeryHQ as your printing partner. To ensure that your files integrate smoothly with our systems, here are some general good practices for submitting files:


All designs must be submitted as a flattened PDF (PDF/X-1a, which is compatible with Acrobat 4/PDF version 1.3) in CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black) color mode. Remove all crop marks and any other printer's marks. Outline all fonts. All bitmap and raster images must be at least 300dpi (dots per inch) to ensure the best quality printing. Use flat black (C=0%, M=0%, Y=0%, K=100%) rather than rich black. Use of black or any heavily saturated color must be under a combined CMYK value of 240% (ex. C=40%, M=50%, Y=50%, K=100%). All spot, RGB, and PMS colors must be converted to CMYK. Remove all ICC profiles before creating your PDF.


Remove all overprint - it is not necessary and will not print correctly. StationeryHQ requires 0.125 inches of bleed area around the perimeter of your artwork to ensure accurate cutting. Include bleed area in all files, regardless of whether or not your artwork reaches its edges. Borders, if included, should be a minimum of 0.125 inches PLUS 0.125 inches of bleed for a total size of 0.25 inches or greater on each side.


Files should be right reading and appear on screen in the same orientation as intended for the viewer. If the file is a portrait card, then the file should be sent "view portrait." If the file is a landscape card, then the file should be sent "view landscape." Carefully review your PDF/X-1a for color, text, and general appearance. Generally, what you see in your PDF/X-1a is how it will print. For easy file set up, check out Mountaincow Design Software.


Some example sizes of printing pieces:

5" x 7" Flat Card: Bleed Size=5.25" x 7.25", Cut Size=5" x 7"

5" x 7" Foldover Card: Bleed Size=10.25" x 7.25", Cut Size=10" x 7"

Business Card: Bleed Size=3.75" x 2.25", Cut Size=3.5" x 2"

Variable Data Setup

Creating a multi-page PDF file with variable data is a relatively straightforward process once you have done it a few times, however, the first time it can be very confusing.

Here are some tips and instructions directly from the Adobe website.

Create from Illustrator

Create from Indesign

Create from Indesign (2)

If you need any additional help, email

How To Videos

Click here to see our how to video series. Email if you have any topics you'd like us to cover in future videos!