How to Prepare your File

This file will give you the answers you need in order to create the perfect PDF for your packaging project. If your PDF is not properly set up to be sent to your printer, often it can result in delayed production times, additional fees for correcting your PDF or Masterfile, or even receiving a completed job with mistakes. This file will help you, our customers to ensure we can avoid issues listed, educate you on building the perfect PDF for print and guarantying your packaging project goes without a hitch.


Bleeds are crucial to making sure your packaging or die is cut correctly to size. A bleed should be used when an object in your document is meant to go to the edge of the printed page. A standard bleed is .125”. Please note, each Adobe program such as InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop differ slightly on how they handle bleeds.

CMYK Color

All print documents should be in CMYK format in order to produce the most accurate color possible, especially when working with images and bright colored objects. Most images online will use RGB color, which makes them appear brighter than they will appear in print. Using Photoshop and Illustrator, it is easy to change your images from RGB to CMYK quickly (See below for instructions). Once the color mode is changed to a proper color value for your printer, just save and you are done.

Illustrator: Click on file > Document Color Setup > Select CMYK > Save

Photoshop: Click on file > Click Image > Mode > CYMK > Save


Image Resolution

It is important to always use high-resolution images when creating a printed piece. The higher the resolution, the sharper your image will look. Ideal image resolution is 300dpi. To see what the resolution of an image is, or to change it, open it in photoshop. Click image > Image size and a dialogue box will appear that tells you how large the image is. Note that if you change the resolution, the size of the image will also change.


Most cases customers will download a dieline provided by our library or SoOPAK will build one according to your specifications. Once you have the dieline, make sure to put it in its own layer to not confuse it with your artwork. Once the dieline is set, make sure to change the color type settings to spot color and set the stroke to overprint. Once those are done, lock your layer to make sure it does not shift while you work on your artwork. After you are done with your file, select the dieline and set the trim box to fit dieline. You can find this under the object menu. Scroll down to artboards and set to fit selected art, which is the dieline. Now just save file as PDF.