File Preparation Help
Choose File Type
Our system accepts and we recommend the following file tipes: .jpg, .pdf & .tif.
Recommended File Types
Other Supported File Types - requires manual submission and extra processing time.
Files from Illustrator, Photoshop, Quark, Corel, Excel, Word & Powerpoint may be submitted for output however these file types often require additional setup time and charges. When possible, check first to see if your application allows saving in one of the recommended formats above.
If you need to submit a file from one of these applications in it’s native format, make sure to include all fonts and any other embedded files. Complex projects with multiple files and fonts may need to be sent to us with all files compiled into a .zip or .stuffed file, or on a CD-R.
For best results and speed, always see if you can EXPORT or SAVE AS from your program to one of our native supported formats above (.jpg, .tif, or .pdf).
Check Color Mode
The recommended color mode is CMYK.
We can print from either CMYK or RGB files, however we suggest supplying files in CMYK for optimal output. All inkjet printers print in CMYK, while monitors display RGB. By converting to CMYK, you will see the closest representation of the final output, as there can be a slight color shift when converting to CMYK. If you supply an RGB file, our high quality output system will process the file for the best quality conversion, so don’t worry if you only have RGB.
Check Size & Resolution
For the best quality output, you should make sure there is enough resolution in your original source file. Use our “FILE QUALITY TOOL” under HELP to test your image.
Try to have an original source file that is proportionally 25% to 50% of your desired final output size.
For normal quality output, your original file should have 300 dpi resolution at 25% of the final output size. (this means for a 24 x 36 poster, your original file should be at 300 dpi and 6 x 9). This applies to photographs and bitmaps. Designs with text such as presentations and signs need a minimum of 150 dpi at actual size up to 300 dpi at actual size.
For the highest quality output, your original file should have 300 dpi resolution at 50% of the final size. (This means a 24 x 36 poster your original file should have 300 dpi at 12 x 18). Use this guideline for designs with text such as presentations and signs.
Normal Quality output is suitable for the majority of poster applications, including displays, banners, general posters, photo enlargements, signs, etc. without small text.
High Quality output is necessary only for ultra-photographic quality detail or art reproduction and for designs with text.
Use the table below to find the recommended size of your original file at 300 dpi for the common poster sizes below.
Quick Reference Size & Resolution Chart
For normal quality output *, your original file should have at least 75 dpi resolution at 100% of the output size. This is also equal to 150 dpi resolution at 50% of the output size and 300 dpi at 25% of the output size. Use the chart below to determine the optimal original file size, dpi and total pixel dimensions for the desired final output size.
Normal Quality Output Size & Resolution Chart
For high quality output *, your original file should have at least 150 dpi resolution at 100% of the output size. This is also equal to 300 dpi resolution at 50% of the output size. Use the chart below to determine the optimal original file size, dpi and total pixel dimensions for the desired final output size.
High Quality Output Size & Resolution Chart
Example: If you want a final poster size of 24 x 36 you can use the charts above to determine that the file you submit to us should be 6 x 9 at 300 dpi (25% of 24 x 36) or 1800 x 2700 pixels for normal quality. For high quality it should be 12 x 18 (50% of 24 x 36) at 300 dpi or 3600 x 5400 pixels.
Check Proportion (Aspect Ratio)
Be sure your original file scales up proportionally to the final output size you request.
If the dimensions of your file are not the exact size of the final output, make sure your original file is in the same proportion as the desired output size. For example, a 4 x 6 original file sizes up to 16 x 24, not 18 x 24, and an 8.5 x 11 sizes up to 24 x 32, not 24 x 36. A good rule of thumb is to take your desired width and length and divide them by the same # to get the proportionate size. Example: if your desired output size is 24 x 36, divide both sides by 4 to get an original file size of 6 x 9. If your original file size is not in proportion, you may want to crop it, or adjust the final output size to the right proportion. After uploading, our system asks you toeither crop or change the output size to match what you uploaded.
Quick Reference Proportion Chart
Prepare to Send
Prepare your file(s) to upload to us.
1. Rename your files and use a file extension to clarify the file type.
Try to use a descriptive filename under 10 characters. Add the corresponding 3 letter extension to the end of the filename to describe the file type.
2. Go to our ORDER page and start the upload… The best way to order is using our regular order page which allows you to directly upload a .jpg, .tif, or .pdf up to 50MB in size. Our system will then analyze your file for quality and aspect ratio and walk you through adding the image to your cart.
3. Stuff or Zip your file(s) for uploading or emailing. If you are an advanced user or have very large files, you can use our advanced order system or send your files to us with the manual upload tool. If you are manually uploading or emailing your file(s) to us, it may help to .zip or .stuff them to decrease file size and speed up the transfer process. You may use any popular program that produces .zip, .sit, or .sitx files.
That’s it! You’re ready to order your poster!