Please do not use MS Word to design for print

Please do not use MS Word to design for print

by | Blog, Design tips

Greetings! This month I want to talk about quality. Designing in MS Word is not ideal for going on press. I bring this up because I was called in to rescue a job created this way.

Quality matters. I can’t stress this enough. Why would you pay a lot of money to print books with hard covers and design the job in MS Word? I can’t believe how often I come across well-meaning clients trying to save some money by creating something in MS Word only to find out their efforts were in vain. The project is unprintable. Now, the printer has to redo the files at a cost to the client or (if it will even print) it will be pixelated garbage.

Am I being too harsh? Maybe, but I think that if you’re going to spend the money to professionally print it, it should be the best quality possible. That doesn’t happen without some print knowledge. It’s not just about having a nice design, there are other factors to be considered.

  • Are you placing photos? 
    Images need to be hi-res (300dpi) for print as well as in “CMYK”, not “RGB”.
    And, tiffs trump jpgs when printing.
  • Is it a multi-page book? Saddle-stitched or perfect binding?
    You need to consider page counts differently for each, saddle-stitched is divisible by 4.

These are just a couple of things to consider when creating a file to be professionally printed.

Look, MS Word has its place in the office. It’s great for meeting agendas and letters that you are printing on your copier. Anything going to a real printer, do not use it. Leave it to the pros using design software set up to reproduce beautifully. Your printer will thank you and your project will look polished and professional.

Below are links for file formats from some past blogs, they help sort through some of the formats I mention above. Check them out: 
Making Sense of Logo File Formats: Learning What’s What

How to tell if you have high- or lo-resolution art or photos and will it print well


Hi, I’m Jeanine, I produce attention-grabbing designs for non-profits that resonate with your donors. Whether you need a direct mail appeal package or collateral materials for a virtual event or gala, my personalized service helps solve your design challenges. Contact me to discuss your next design project.

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