If you’ve ever done a print job at work or home, you might have wondered how the file type you use for your printing can impact the quality of your print or how your project turns out.
For those who just use printing at the offices for regular copies or printing images, the difference between file types isn’t usually common knowledge and is usually learned over time. Luckily for you, we’ve got everything you need to know about the type of print files out there and how your file types can impact the quality of print you get.
What are the File Types I Can Use to Print?
When saving or printing a document, your computer will prompt you to choose which sort of file you want to use to save or produce a physical copy.
A PDF file, or ‘Portable Document Format’, retains your document’s original formatting for printing or sending. Using the most popular file type for printing, this file type is ideal for retaining your document’s layout, especially for those that involve text. In most software programs, you can just save your file as a PDF, but others might require specific settings or export your file as a PDF before saving or printing.
Usually the go-to file type for photos or images, JPEGS compresses and makes images smaller so that they take up less room. JPEGs are usually okay for printing, but can sometimes print blurrily or low-quality if the image is not high resolution. When saving or exporting your JPEG for printing, make sure your image quality is at least 300 pixels/inch no matter what size your image is, but ideally, you’ll want to shoot for 600 pixels/inch for maximum image quality.
When sending your file to the printer, never make it a smaller file size, especially if emailed to the printer. This will make your image small and unprintable. Always send your image as its actual size.
TIFF files are popular amongst graphic artists and digital photographers due to the level of quality and clarity that these file types provide. That being said, because TIFFs provide such high quality and usually the highest resolution possible, they can be hard to send or print because of their large size.
If you’re using a print service that makes you email your files to them, this could cause a problem, but if you use cloud-based printing or are operating directly from a flash drive, you’ll be good to go.
This will be the file type you use most when directly printing from Microsoft Word or even Google Docs. This is most relevant for those in school who have to print essays or long-form written works but is still relevant for many office workers. However, many printing offices will prompt you to convert your file to a PDF before printing.
When printing any image or document, you’ll always want to make sure that you’re giving yourself the best quality of print possible so your materials look their best. The best way to do this is by knowing your print file types and how to use each. For everything else, let GoodSuite’s managed printing services take care of the rest. We’ve got your back!