How To Create A Proper PDF For Printing

When you plan to work with a printing services company it’s important to provide a print-ready file.  That way you avoid issues with the artwork, potential errors or a result other than what is expected.  A press quality file includes:

• Crop marks
• Bleeds – 1/8 inch beyond the borders
• Colors – Spot or CMYK (depending on the print method)
• Correct Sizing
• Photo resolution at 300 dpi
• Fonts that are either embedded or outlined
While printers can work with files from many design applications it is best to provide your printing partner a press quality PDF. A PDF is the preferred format because it packages all the components of your file including fonts, color information and other important settings while still allowing the printer flexibility to make modifications to the file and prep it for printing.  Many programs provide several methods to make a pdf file (printing to a pdf driver, saving a file as a pdf and exporting the file as a pdf).
Below is are instructions for how to convert a file to pdf document in some of the more popular programs. Regardless of the method chosen, a press quality pdf should be the result.


1. Choose File > Export.
2. Specify a name and location for the file.
3. For “Save As Type” (Windows) or “Format” (Mac OS), choose “Adobe PDF”, and then click Save.
4. Choose Adobe PDF Preset “Press Quality”
5. Then select the following options: Under “Marks and Bleeds” select a. crop marks b. bleed (.125”)
6. Click Export (Windows) or Save (Mac OS).


1. Choose File > Save As or File > Save A Copy
2. Specify a name and location for the file.
3. Choose Adobe PDF (*.PDF) as the file format and click Save
4. Choose Adobe PDF Preset “Press Quality”
5. Then select the following options: Under “Marks and Bleeds” select a. crop marks b. bleed (.125”)
6. Click Export (Windows) or Save (Mac OS).


1. Choose File > Save As, and then choose Photoshop PDF from the Format menu.
2. Click Save. In the Save Adobe PDF dialog box, choose an Adobe PDF preset specifying whether the Photoshop file will be printed on a desktop printer or proofer, sent to a commercial printer, distributed by email, displayed on the web, and so on. For details, see Adobe PDF presets.
3. Choose Adobe PDF Preset “Press Quality”
4. Click Export (Windows) or Save (Mac OS).

Microsoft PowerPoint

1. First, make sure your slide is designed to the correct size for printing.
2. Go to “Design” > “Slide Size” > “Custom Slide Size”.
3. Save the files as pdf.

Microsoft Word – MAC

1. Choose File menu, click Print, and then click Save As PDF.
2. In the Save As box, type a name for the file.
3. Locate the folder and disk where you want to save the file, and then click Save.

Microsoft Word – PC
1. Choose File Print
2. Select “Adobe PDF” as the printer
3. Under Properties
4. Select: “Press Quality” for Default Setting
5. Uncheck “Rely on system fonts only; do not use document fonts”
6. Select the appropriate size

Create or open the existing design that you want to print.
Add margins and bleed and adjust some elements, if needed.
Using margins, bleed, rulers, and crop marks
Planning to print something? Turn on margins, bleed, rulers, and crop marks while designing to make sure everything prints as expected.

Margins, bleed, rulers, and crop marks aren’t available yet in Canva Docs. Changing margin, bleed, and crop mark sizes are also not available. These are fixed and are measured based on our print specifications.
We may be unable to check your design for quality control before it goes to print, so make sure you use CMYK colorsDesigning with print colors
Ever wonder why colors on screens sometimes look different than when they’re printed? That’s because screens and printers use different color models. This results in a different range of colors per model.
To help match the screen and printed colors, you can use CMYK colors while designing. You can also download a CMYK file after.

RGB and CMYK are color models used to build colors. RGB builds colors using red, green, and blue, and is used for on-screen color displays. CMYK uses cyan, magenta, yellow, and black, and is used for printing.
While both RGB and CMYK have similar ranges of colors, some colors might look different on each model. An example of this is neon or fluorescent colors (in RGB) looking dull when printed (in CMYK).
If you’re planning to print your design, we recommend designing with CMYK colors. Designing with the output in mind helps align the colors of your design when printed.

Using CMYK colors in Canva
Since Canva is a digital app, we use RGB by default. By using online color pickers and our color palette feature, you can use CMYK colors while designing.
1. Get CMYK colors using online color pickers. Make sure to take note of their HEX codes.
2. Input the CMYK color hex codes from the editor or in a color palette. Learn more about changing element color and setting up color palettes.
3. Use CMYK colors in the elements of your design.

Downloading a CMYK PDF
To make sure that your file is indeed print-ready, we recommend you download a CMYK Print PDF.

1. On the menu bar, select the
Share icon.
On the File type dropdown, choose PDF Print.
If your design has multiple pages, choose the pages you want to download from the dropdown, and select Done.
On the Color Profile dropdown, select CMYK.
Select Download.

Using margins
Turn on margins to make sure that important design elements aren’t cut when printed.

1. Create or open an existing design.
2. From the menu bar, select File then
3. View settings.
4. Select Show margins. A border of broken lines will appear on your design pages.
5. Edit your design, and keep important elements inside the margin.

Using bleed
Avoid unintended white edges when printing to the edge of the paper.

1. Create or open an existing design.
2. From the menu bar, select File then
View settings.
Select Show print bleed. A border of dashed lines will appear close to the edges of your design. This bleed margin is fixed based on print production standards and cannot be adjusted.
If you see white gaps around the design edges, resize or stretch your background to cover them. Stretch elements, that you don’t mind being cut, around the edges as well.

Share from the editor menu bar.
On the file type dropdown, select PDF Print.
Optional: If you need crop marks, tick Crop marks and bleed.
Optional: To optimize your PDF print file, tick Flatten PDF.

Downloading designs as flattened PDF
Flattening your PDF converts your design with multiple layers into one. This ensures that all of your design’s elements get printed. Learn more below on how to flatten PDFs.

1. Open the design you want to download.
2. Above the editor, click
Share, and select
PDF Standard or
1. PDF Print from the dropdown.
2. Check Flatten PDF to tick the checkbox.