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FAQ's   |   Glossary
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FAQ's

1: How do I create files to send to you in QuarkXPress®? In Adobe Pagemaker®? In Adobe Illustrator®? In Adobe Photoshop®?

2: What is a soft proof?

3: Why didn't you call and tell me you didn't get my e-mail?

4: Once my file gets to you, how long does it take before you look at it and contact me if there is a problem?

5: Once my file gets to you, how long does it take before my order goes into production?

6: What do I do if I notice that the files I sent to you are wrong?

7: How is a TrueType font different than any other font you can accept? Why can't you take TrueType fonts?

8: Why won't you accept TrueType fonts when other printers I work with will accept them?

9: Why can't we send PC fonts for you to use to output my file?

10: What do you mean by "creating outlines" on type?

11: What fonts do you have available?

12: Why do photos printed in full-color need to be colored CMYK?

13: What is the difference between CMYK and RGB?

14: I know my scan is at a low resolution. Why can't you use it the way it is provided?

15: What line screen do you use for printing?

16: What dpi do you use for printing?

17: Can you scan a printout I send you of my file if for some reason you can't use my file?

18: Do I need to fax a composite proof of what I want my cards to look like even if I'm e-mailing it to you?

19: What kind of compression (compacting) software can I use to compress my files before sending?

Answers

1: How do I create files to send to you in QuarkXPress®? In Adobe Pagemaker®? In Adobe Illustrator®? In Adobe Photoshop®?

A: Any questions regarding the creating of files or how to use any of the software applications or to fix any problems should be directed to the manufacturer of the software in question.

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2: What is a soft proof?

A: It is a layout that appears on your screen just as it will appear when printed.

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3: Why didn't you call and tell me you didn't get my e-mail?

A: 
• If you need someone to keep an eye out for a particular e-mail you want to send, please be sure to call Alpha-Omega Printing before sending your files so a representative can be watching for your transmission. Then be sure that you write that person's name on the subject line along with your account number so that the file can be routed quickly to that person once the files comes in to Alpha-Omega. Also, be sure to include any other information the representative asks you to supply in the message area of the e-mail. If no one at Alpha-Omega knows a specific e-mail transmission is coming, we would not have a reason to call you.
• We will not question if your order is in our hold file and we don't get a replacement file right away. We realize that sometimes corrections take time. Production time does not begin until we have correct files.

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4: Once my file gets to you, how long does it take before you look at it and contact me if there is a problem?

A: Keep in mind that if you have e-mailed a file, it does not arrive at the Alpha-Omega server immediately. It may take some time to get to us because it is traveling on the Internet. Our goal is to completely preflight incoming orders within 24 hours of receipt at Alpha-Omega Printing.

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5: Once my file gets to you, how long does it take before my order goes into production?

A: Production time does not begin until your files have been approved. 

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6: What do I do if I notice that the files I sent to you are wrong?

A: Please contact our Customer Service Department (624-2700) right away and let them know that there is a problem with the artwork. It is very important to be sure to reference your account number and the extension number the representative tells you when you send in your new files. Failure to do this can result in a duplicate order being produced.

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7: How is a TrueType font different than any other font you can accept? Why can't you take TrueType fonts?

A: A TrueType font is one that is a "combination" of both the screen and printer version of the font all combined into one. TrueType fonts were designed for home computer use and never for the professional printing industry. The reason we can't accept them is because of the PostScript language that the imagesetter requires. The imagesetter looks for the two halves of a PostScript font to reproduce the typestyle. The screen half of the font is necessary to make the type look correct on screen. It is designed to mimic (on the monitor) the appearance of what is going to print to an output device. The printer half of the font is necessary to make the type print correctly. It is available for use only by the printer and it contains whatever information the printer needs to accurately render the typestyle.

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8: Why won't you accept TrueType fonts when other printers I work with will accept them?

A: If other professional printers are using high-resolution printing devices, they are likely substituting the PostScript version of your font or doing something as an exception to deal with them. Our equipment is current cutting edge technology and requires that PostScript fonts be used.

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9: Why can't we send PC fonts for you to use to output my file?

A: Alpha-Omega Printing has a Macintosh-based pre-press area and PC fonts cannot be installed onto a Macintosh. 

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10: What do you mean by "creating outlines" on type?

A: Within the application Adobe Illustrator®, there is a way to make the type into a graphic so that fonts are not needed. The application actually "draws" around each letter. In Illustrator®, that feature is called "create outlines"; in Freehand®.

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11: What fonts do you have available?

A: Any font that is shown in the typestyle catalog. 

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12: Why do photos printed in full-color need to be colored CMYK?

A: Full-color printing is done by using the four CMYK colors (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) to make up the final colors. Therefore, the files we send to the press need to be made up of only those four colors. If we receive files colored in another way (mode), the conversion to CMYK is done by the computer by "making up" information to resemble a CMYK mix. Often, when a file is converted from another mode to CMYK, the colors change substantially. Most notably, when converting from RGB, the colors look “washed out”.

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13: What is the difference between CMYK and RGB?

A: CMYK is a color model that makes all colors from combinations of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. It is what a press uses to make a color. Different percentages of these four colors in combination with each other make different pigments of color to use for printing. RGB (an acronym for red-green-blue) is a color model in which a given color is specified by relative amounts of the three primary colors. CMYK colors are actual pigments of color whereas RGB colors are actually made up of streams of light (similar to a light spectrum). Therefore, we cannot print using colors that are RGB, only CMYK.

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14: I know my scan is at a low resolution. Why can't you use it the way it is provided?

A: We can use it the way it is provided; however, we recommend that you submit black and white bitmap images scanned at least at 600 dpi, grayscale images at 300 dpi, and full-color photos at 300 dpi for the best possible quality. Also, be sure that you are scanning at the size we are going to print. Enlarging and/or reducing scans will affect how they look. If you know the scan is low-resolution and you want us to use it, please indicate somewhere on your order blank that you are aware of and will take responsibility for the relatively low quality and that you want us to proceed without calling you.

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15: What line screen do you use for printing?

A: We use a 120 line screen for all products except full-color. We use 150 line screen for full-color jobs.

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16: What dpi do you use for printing?

A: We will print with whatever dpi is approved on your files. We recommend that you submit black and white bitmap images scanned at least at 600 dpi, grayscale images at 300 dpi, and full-color photos at 300 dpi for the best possible quality. We output to our imagesetter at 1200 dpi. If your files were submitted at a different dpi than what we recommend and that resolution has been approved, that is what will print.

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17: Can you scan a printout I send you of my file if for some reason you can't use my file?

A: We cannot guarantee the quality of the final printed piece if we scan preprinted material. Sometimes scanning a printout works just fine, but we do not recommend it.

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18: Do I need to fax a composite proof of what I want my cards to look like even if I'm e-mailing it to you?

A: Yes, it doesn't hurt to have a sample of what the layout should look like, but it is not necessary to do this for us. If you do fax a composite proof, be sure to indicate that the order was sent electronically to avoid a duplicate order.

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19: What kind of compression (compacting) software can I use to compress my files before sending?

A: Stuff-It® or DiskDoubler® for Macintosh.

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Glossary

Printing terminology sometimes means different things at different printing facilities.  This glossary was prepared to help avoid confusion and let customers know what we consider to be the meaning of various phrases and terminologies.

BLEED - A printed image extending off any edge of a printed sheet.  The bleed image must extend 1/8" beyond the trim size for trimming.

CAMERA/SCAN READY COPY - Artwork or type assembled in place and ready to be scanned for reproduction supplied by the customer and contains register marks or crop marks.  (If we have to add these marks or do any further paste-up or art alteration, it is not camera ready.)

CONTINUOUS TONE - Any image containing tone variation, from black to white, with a full range of gray due to variations in blackness (density) as seen in an ordinary snap shot.  Since the press cannot print the gray tones, the continuous tone work must be converted to a halftone.

COPY - What the customer sends in to be typeset.  It includes the information written on order forms.

CROP - To selectively eliminate portions of artwork.

CROPMARKS - Lines drawn on an overlay or in the margins of an illustration or on a  photostat to indicate where the art should be trimmed.  They are also used to show the edge of the stock.

CROSSHAIRS - Register marks used in accurate positioning or overlaying of images.

DENSITY - A numerical measure of the opacity or light stopping ability of a photographic image.

DIE - A magnesium plate with a raised image area.  They are made by etching away the non-image area in an acid bath and are used in foil stamping operations.

FINE DETAIL - This term is interpretive and the tolerance for it varies between processes.  Very thin lines such as those found on U.S. currency can only be produced by engraving.  While thermography offers more detailed reproduction than foil stamping, it still tends to lose detail with delicate typestyles and logos.

HALFTONE - The reproduction of continuous-tone artwork, such as a photograph, by screening the image into dots of various sizes.  When printed, the dots merge to give the illusion of continuous tone.

LASER PRINTER - A printer using a laser beam to transfer an image to the paper with toner powder.  The process to fuse the powder subjects the paper to an intense amount of heat and will melt conventional thermography.

LASERPROOF THERMOGRAPHY - Produced using a specially formulated thermograph powder and an ultraviolet light which causes a cross linking of the molecules in the powder and ink to form a raised image that will not melt, smear, or come off in a laser printer.

LAYOUT - The arrangement of type and logos within a printing area.

LEADING - Placement of extra space between lines of type in phototypesetting.  When no leading is used, the type is set solid, and there is a chance that ascenders and descenders may overlap.

MAINLINE - The single most important line or copy on a printed product.  Usually there are no more than one or two on a product.

NON-STANDARD - An Alpha-Omega standard ink or standard 2-ink color combination printed on a stock where it is not normally offered.  (On 2-color business cards, 1 ink color must be an ink offered as standard on that stock.)

PICAS - Printer's unit of measure.  12 points = 1 pica, and 6 picas = 1 inch for practical measurements.  Actually, 6 picas = 0.996 inches.

POINT - Smallest typographic unit of measure.  Points are used to designate type sizes and space between lines of type: 12 pt. = 1 pica, and 6 picas = approximately 1 in., so there are 72 pt. in an inch.

POSITIVE - Film containing an image in which dark and light images are the same as the original.

REGISTER MARKS - A device, usually a cross in a circle, applied to original copy and film before reproduction, and used to position negatives in perfect register or to perfectly register press plates for spot color printing.

SCREEN - A halftone screen applied in the imagesetter and usually having a monotone value of dots.  It is used in direct contact with the plate to obtain a lighter shade of a solid color.  We use a 20% as standard default with 10%, 40%, and 60% optional.

THERMOGRAPHY - A process that applies powdered resin to freshly printed copy.  When heated, this resin forms a permanent raised image area.

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