Printing from Illustrator

Printing from Illustrator

Printing from Illustrator gives you lots of capabilities, such as printing composites to separations and adding printer’s marks.

To print your illustration, follow these steps:

  1. Choose File®Print.

  2. In the Print dialog box that appears (see Figure), select a printer if one is not already selected.

    Click To expand
    Figure: The Print dialog box handles everything from number of pages to printer’s marks, flattening, and separations.

  3. If the PPD is not selected, choose one from the PPD drop-down list.

    A PPD is a printer description file. Illustrator needs this to determine the specifics of the PostScript printer you’re sending your file to. This setting lets Illustrator know whether the printer can print in color, the size paper it can handle, and the resolution, as well as many other important details.

  4. Choose from other options as follows:

    Use the General options area to pick what pages to print. In the Media area, select the size of media that you’re printing to. In the Options area, choose whether you want layers to print and any options specific to printing layers.

  5. Click the Print button to print your illustration.

And that’s it. Printing your illustration can be really simple, but the following list highlights some basic things to keep in mind as you prepare your illustration for printing:

  • Printing a composite: A composite is the full-color image, where all the inks are applied to the page (and not separated out onto individual pages, one for cyan, one for magenta, one for yellow, and one for black). To make sure that your settings are correct, click Output in the print options pane on the left side of the Print dialog box and select Composite from the Mode drop-down list.

  • Printing separations: To separate colors, click Output in the print options pane on the left side of the Print dialog box; from the Mode drop-down list, choose the Separations (Host Based) option. Select the In-Rip Separations option only if your service provider or printer asks you to. Other options to select from are as follows:

    • The resolution is determined by your PPD, based upon the dpi in the printer description. You may have only one option available in the Printer Resolution drop-down list.

    • Select the Convert Spot Colors to Process check box to make your file 4-color.

    • Click the printer icons to the left of the listed colors to turn off or on the colors that you want to print (see Figure).

      Click To expand
      Figure: Click the printer icon to the left of the color to keep it from printing. Click it again to have it print.

  • Printer’s marks and bleeds: Click Marks and Bleeds in the print options pane on the left side of the Print dialog box to turn on all printer’s marks, or just select the ones that you want to appear.

    Specify a bleed area if you’re extending images beyond the trim area of a page. If you don’t specify a bleed, the artwork will stop at the edge of the page and not leave a trim area for the printer.


After you have created a good set of options specific to your needs, click the Save Preset button at the bottom of the Print dialog box. Name your preset appropriately; when you want to use that preset, select it from the Print Preset drop-down list at the top of the Print dialog box for future print jobs.

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