The Ultimate Printing Guide


A Professional’s List of Tips For Printing

Get perfect printouts every single time!

If you have never tried printing at home, chances are you may not know what to do. Just imagine, all your efforts gone to waste only to be ruined by a bad print job! Good news is, technology nowadays is getting better and better, and any modern home printers can do a good enough job for small parties.

There are several types of printers but the common ones are inkjet and laser printers. There are notable brands out there (Epson, Canon, HP etc) and the results are pretty amazing.

It is also a good idea to know what kind of paper you want, so you can tailor the design to complement the finish. I like to print on matte white card between 100-200gsm, sometimes with textured paper (especially pearl white finish ♥◡♥) depending on the design/function. The easy way is to send your job to a print shop such as Officeworks (AU), Office Depot & Office Max, The UPS Store, VistaPrint (online printer) etc.

Alternatively, if you choose to print at home, make sure you have downloaded Adobe Reader.

Download Adobe Reader for Free

Print At Home

When you are ready to print, simply go to File > Print

You should see this menu.
In Page Size & Handling section, make sure that the file is set to “Actual Size”, so that the artwork will never stretch or shrink according to the paper size. Leave page orientation to “Auto”.

The next thing you should always look out for is the document size under Comments & Forms. Always make sure that the paper size is correct or else some parts will be cropped. In my case, my document size is 8.27×11.69 inches (A4) which is exactly what I want.

If the size is incorrect, click “Page Setup” button on the bottom left corner and look for the correct one.

Optional: More about printer settings (for advanced users)
Click the “Properties” button on the right of your selected printer.

This will bring up the native settings of your printer, and this menu will differ for everybody. I will be using my trusty Epson printer as reference, but the terms will be similar. I suggest looking out for “Paper Options” or “Paper Type” or the like.

Setting up to the closest type of paper is ideal for better prints. If the paper type is set to the default plain paper, be ready for a not-so-great print job. I recommend at least 100-200gsm thick paper, and my personal favourite is matte white card.

Anyway, the common types of papers are:

Produce good quality prints but lack a vibrant colour finish. Not reflective therefore no fingermarks or glare from the sun or lighting

Common for printing photos, offer the widest colour range and best resolution but reflective surface is prone to fingerprints and glare

As the name suggests, a cross between matte and glossy

Textured, linen, pulp etc.

I would conclude in saying that it’s all about personal preference (and of course, how much you are willing to spend :p)

Remember! It’s all about practice so experiment with different settings and have fun!

Keep In Mind

  1. Correct paper size. Always check if the paper size is right. There are several paper families but thankfully we stick to common sizes. Those of you from North America will be familiar with Letter while the rest of the world prints on A4. Make sure that Page Sizing & Handling is set to “Actual Size”on the Print menu in Adobe Reader. (Earlier versions of Adobe Readers: Page Scaling > “None”).
  2. Use appropriate settings for the right paper. Better-quality paper produces better-quality prints, but it costs more too. Sometimes print outs are bad because the wrong type of paper is used. Plain paper (80gsm) is fine for everyday use, but invitations has to be colourful and vibrant! That’s why it’s recommended to aim for a thicker paper (at least 100-120gsm) and the printer settings have to be adjusted accordingly.
  3. Experiment with different paper. Different printers vary, but try to go somewhere along these lines. If you are using non-glossy paper, choose Matte or Heavyweight; for glossy paper choose Glossy or Photo Paper; for textured paper I choose Premium Glossy or Premium Semi-gloss or Heavyweight 300gsm. It’s always good to test out one or two prints first before proceeding with the big job.
  4. Experiment with the printer settings. Play around with your printer settings by adjusting the colour correction, colour adjustments etc. to print beautiful invitations.
  5. Colour variation. Keep in mind the colours you see on your monitor may appear different from the print out. This is because monitors see colour in RGB while printers use CMYK to mix colours. Print quality also varies with different printers and types of paper you use.

Finishing up!

In the printing industry, professional practices use guillotines to trim down thousands and thousands of printed cards and books in a short time, but we can do it at home too (manually! :p) for a few home-made invitations.

All we need to do is line up a steel rule to the crop marks as a guide, and use a utility knife and slide it across the ruler, and trim down all sides of the invitation. Be careful don’t hurt yourself!