How the heck do I ...

1. Use these General rules for success.
2. Supply files from InDesign.
3. Supply files from QuarkXpress
4. Supply files from Pagemaker.
5. Supply files from CorelDraw.
6. Supply files from Illustrator.
7. Supply files from Word97-2000.
8. Supply files from Publisher.
9. Supply files for Poster Printing.
10. Supply files from almost any program!
11. Create PDFs for standard Print Production.
12. What is this FTP method of file transfer & why is it better than email?
13. Scanning tips for film preparation.
14. Install Frontier Drivers on MAC or PC systems.

File Preparation for Output


[Bullet] Remove unused colours from palettes.

[Bullet] If requiring CMYK separations, ensure ALL colours are converted to CMYK.

[Bullet] If requiring spot colour separations, ensure there are ONLY the required number of colours mentioned in the colour palettes.

[Bullet] Always produce & supply a Separation laser print set when requesting SPOT COLOURS

[Bullet] Fonts are ALWAYS required.

[Bullet] Do not mix types of files but stay with:
1. CMYK Tiffs for colour images only
2. EPS for graphics and ONLY for images in duotone or with clipping paths (If using PageMaker V6 onwards or QuarkXpress V4.11, use TIFFS with clipping paths).

[Bullet] ALWAYS set up the page size (document size) to match the flat trim size of the final document.
As a simple illustration using a business card as an example, set the document size to 90mm x 50mm. Now place all your elements on this page. If bleed is required, then extend the bleed OUTSIDE the page by 3mm.


Sending files:

Check for any problems during the packaging stage and correct if necessary.
Create a ZIP archive (PCs) or a STUFFIT archive (MACS) of the entire packaged directory/folder for onforwarding.

If PDFs are to be supplied as HiRes artwork then:
1. NEVER make PDFs using InDesigns "File>Export" - It will create composite fonts which are incompatible with our system RIPS.
2. To make a PDF for HiRes usage, Create a Postscript file and then Distill using FRONTIER joboptions (
PCs) or FRONTIER joboptions (MACs). See this information.

Tricks & workarounds with InDesign.

1. ALWAYS ensure you have the Transparency Flattener set to High Resolution - especially if you have used transparent background images. Otherwise text that overlays the images will be rasterised at too low a resolution when the file is flattened, creating objectionable "jaggies".

2. Setup print styles to ensure consistency when outputting. This will help to eliminate the above problem.


Sending files:

File > Collect for output.
If using MAC, try the Magpie or Collect for output Plus extension which will also collect the fonts used.Windows users will have to manually collect all fonts mentioned in the fonts listing of the *.xtg document.
An other alternative is to use FlightCheck which will preflight the file as well as collect fonts and elements.

Tricks & workarounds with QuarkXpress

1. Ensure ALL picture boxes with grayscale or colour images are filled with WHITE, NOT NONE. If NONE is used, it will cause QXP to TRY and apply a deep etch mask, which it does very badly! This does not apply to EPS images (or if v4.04+, TIFF images with clipping paths) and graphics.

2. Watch for QXP applying text trap defaults that will cause text to THICKEN. Usually a text box overlaps an underlying graphic frame. This is a dynamic feature of QXP. The ONLY fix is by selecting the affected text and applying a manual trap .

3. Watch for QXP applying text trap defaults that will cause text to OVERPRINT. Usually a text box overlaps an underlying text box, such as headings with drop shadows. The ONLY fix is by selecting the affected text and applying a manual trap .

4. Try to use TIFFs with clipping paths INSTEAD of EPS's if using version 4.04 or above


File > Save as > files required for remote printing (Versions 5.0, 6.0) Manually collect all fonts used.
Utilities > Plugins > Save for Service Provider (Version 6.52,V7.00) This will collect all elements AND fonts required.
Another alternative is to use FlightCheck which will preflight the file as well as collect fonts and elements.


1. Pagemaker V6.0 onwards, works better with TIFFs with clipping paths THAN EPS's with clipping paths!
2. If clipping paths are not showing, try reducing the number of nodes in the clipping path using Photoshop.


Save files as either EPS or AI with fonts embedded or converted to outlines and all images embedded.


1. Ensure you have the latest version 8.01 as V8.0 creates VERY LARGE EPS's with images embedded.
2. Use an 8 bit Tiff viewable header when saving for both MAC and PC versions. This allows for better cross platform viewing.
3. Be careful using transparencies in images when saving as an EPS - If you receive a warning indicating this could cause a problem, then believe it!
4. Embed ALL images, (CMYK) before saving as an EPS.


Copy *.cdr files. Only supply fonts NOT INCLUDED with CorelDraw.
If using Version 7.0 through to 9.0, when saving the file for the first time, select Embedded fonts.
Unless OPI images are used (Versions 6.0 - 9.0), there is no need to supply images as they are embedded within the CDR file.

Separated PDFs made from CorelDraw print files, will ONLY work if distilled with Version 3.02 Distiller - Applies to all versions of CorelDraw!
Composte PDFs work with both version of distiller.


1. Try to stay away from applying LENS tools. These will create HUMUNGOUS! print files. As an example, a client created a Magazine cover (A4) with Transparencies applied to a text heading in 120pt. The resultant print file was 2.1gb!!!
If the feature is needed, simply convert your final "graphic image" to a tiff image embeded within the document, then remove the LENS structure.


These instructions are mandatory for any Word documents that you supply for either film or bromide output.

1. Setup your default printer as a Linotronic 330 (Mono) or FrontierV7 (Colour - See our driver installation).
2. Open you Word document and check thoroughly throughout the document for reflows of text or tables, and that the document matches your final output requirements.
3. After altering the document, save to a NEW file for transmission to us with your original printouts.
4. Fonts are ALWAYS required - please check thoroughly - If truetype versions have been used, then when saving document select options: embed all truetype fonts- do not select embed characters in use only
5. If SPOT COLOUR separations are required, only use BLACK, BLUE and/or YELLOW to represent upto 3 spot colours. All colour withinWORD documents is RGB and has to be separated as CMYK - 4 colour process.
6. Convert images to CMYK before adding to word documents.
7. Try to supply as a PDF document. If you don't have access to Adobe Distiller, then use this Shareware PDF Printer. THIS IS OUR CURRENT PREFERRED METHOD!
8. Documents requiring correction will be charged at our hourly rate of $120.00 + GST/hr (min $15 + GST).

Microsoft Publisher

Outputting Separations from Microsoft Publisher

The following directions are for Publisher 2000 with Acrobat Distiller V5 installed. Other combinations will need to be adjusted to suit.
It is assumed you have previously installed the Frontier JobOptions applicable to your version of Distiller.

1. Set Trim Page Size
File>Page Setup>Special Size - Select Custom, enter trim width, trim height and orientation. eg A4 page = 210mm width, 297mm height.
2. Set Commercial Tools
Tools>Commercial Printing Tools>Color Printing - Select Process Colors (CMYK).
If you are supplying spot colour separations then select Spot Colors instead.
3. Printing
Select Printer (Acrobat Distiller)
Select Properties
We will create an oversized media page to suit the trimmed page size set above.
Paper>Custom Page 1, Width = trim size+20mm, Height=trim size+20mm, eg A4 page (trimmed size) = 230mm width 317mm height
Select Adobe PDF Settings
Make sure Distiller knows how to create the PDF by selecting
Conversion Settings - FrontierV5
Select OK
Select Advanced Print Settings
Graphics>Print Full-resolution linked graphics
Fonts>use only publication fonts
Printers Marks>select all
Device Options>defaults

The document should create a PDF in the selected destination folder. Each page of the PDF should represent a colour ink for that page. eg a 2 page document with CMYK separations will make an 8 page PDF. Bleeds with Crop Marks and colour names should be visible.

Poster Printing

File preparation for Poster Printing is somewhat different to that of producing prepress film.

The usual method is to work in a reduced size format such as A4 which is then scaled to the final size at output. No matter which method you prefer to use, the final scaled size (print size) needs an image resolution of only 70-80dpi. Any more than this is wasted download time. To give you a idea of these scaling ratios, please use the following as a guide:

A4 scaled to A3 141% 115dpi
A4 scaled to A2 200% 160dpi
A4 scaled to A1 283% 230dpi
A4 scaled to A0 400% 300dpi

The inks and papers/films used in this process are NOT designed for external use because of water sensitivity.
We strongly suggest having the prints laminated, either hot or cold method, so as to encapsulate the material.

Producing Postscript files & PDF's

Check that your application CAN produce postscript files. In windows 3.11 or 95/98, you will have to install a postscript colour printer connected to 'file'. If you are using postscript fonts, use your font manager to ensure fonts will be downloaded with the file automatically. True type fonts will work fine!
After setting up a new printer, always ensure your document hasn't changed. Some applications are extremely sensitive to the default printer driver (i.e. MOST Microsoft products!)
Create the postscript file on an oversize page (eg A4 on A3 etc) with crop marks turned ON (if possible). Send this postscript file to distiller (
see setting up distiller) which in turn produces the PDF file which should be viewable & printable (in colour) through Exchange or Acrobat Viewer.
We can produce either mono bromides OR CMYK separated film BUT CANNOT produce Spot Colours from composite colour files - YET! If spot colours are required, you will have to generate complete separated postscript pages which can then be distilled to pdf. The resultant pdf will be all mono when viewed BUT each page will represent a colour plate. This requires strict understanding regarding screen line ruling, angles and trapping requirements. If in doubt please contact us for more specific instructions.
Pages can also be electonically imposed, with digital or Chemical Proofs if required.

What is the FTP method of file transfer?

FTP (file transfer protocol) is a method of file transfer directly from the client machine (you) to the server (us). This is far more real time than the email system that firstly packages up the message (enveloping), sends it the your local mail server (either real local for large organisations or to your ISP's mail server for others) where it can wait from hours to days! for these servers to offload the envelope to the destination server where it has to be uploaded to the addressee.

To FTP from the client side (yours), you will need an FTPing application. (We have both PC and MAC Versions on our site for immediate downloading if required.) These allow you to use the familiar point & click/drag & drop approach of moving files from your site to our site DIRECTLY just as if you were using your own local network. When you have completed an upload, you will be able to display an
updated directory listing to ensure the file is there at the correct size.

To gain access to this site, you will need a userid and a password. You can request this via email but preferably please phone to discuss your access requirements. There is no additional charges for this service from Frontier Technology.

Simple Site Rules.

1. Always archive files either zip for PC or MAC can use stuffit. This keeps ALL your files together, which makes it easier for us to identify.
2. Do not delete files - we will move files to the DONE directory where they will remain for a period until WE delete them.
3. If you are receiving files from us in this directory, please move them to DONE, AFTER you have finished downloading them. (This way we will know you have received them.)
4. Always send a short EMAIL AFTER uploading giving us all the necessary details to process your file.
It also lets us know there is a file there for processing!

Your job will not proceed UNTIL we receive a FAX or EMAIL!

Scanning tips for film preparation

With todays' ready access to inexpensive desktop scanners, more and more graphic artists are finding it cost effective to supply their own scans for film production. Whilst the scanner salesman will have you enthralled at how 'easy' it is, might we suggest that there are a few basics that MOST new comers (as well as some who are NOT so new) don't appreciate! These ALL constitute a potential separation output problem.

RGB versus CMYK

Most desktop scanners produce a raw scan in RGB format - If you only want multimedia or web scans, then this is the format for you. BUT if the intention is to produce printed material, via film separations, then you have to convert to CMYK format. Why convert to CMYK when most professional software allows you to place or insert RGB? At some point in the film separation process, a CMYK format HAS to be produced. In most instances, this conversion is 'table' driven by the application using various colour correction algorythmns. Even worst are some applications (eg QuarkXpress) that won't work correctly with both the EFI conversion and imposition extensions rendering one of the two useless.
The solution is to ALWAYS convert your RGB to CMYK in an application such as Photoshop. At least you can see the varying result you will receive especially blues and greens and the subsequent applications will NOT have to do any conversions. In summary, always convert RGB to CMYK.

DPI and LPI and PPI

DPI (dots per inch) and PPI (pixels per inch) relate to the smallest element in a scan whilst LPI (lines per inch) is the printers term for measuring the halftone screen which in almost all cases is determined by the application process and the print media (paper, plastic, linen etc). You willl normally have to select a DPI at the scanning stage to suit the LPI at the printing stage. This can be calculated by the following formula. DPI=LPI x 1.5 or 2 at final print size. e.g. DPI = 150lpi x 1.5 = 225dpi @ the final print size. My suggestion for small images, is to use the factor of 2 whilst for larger sizes (20mb>) use 1.5 factor. The saving in file size is extensive whilst the quality tradeoff is negligable. Always enlarge or reduce your scan at the scanner stage to suit the final layout. Remember that sizing smaller an image in an application such as Quark or Pagemaker effectively increases your DPI whilst conversely enlarging the size of an image decreases the effective DPI!
Creating an image at the final size with the correct DPI is known as an optimised image. This is how ALL images should be prepared before film separations.

Tonal Ranges

Unless you're absolutely sure of the outcome, I'd suggest NOT using any automatic tonal range features of your scanning device. The tendency is to lose too much in the highlights and shadows and leave the midtones too dark. This correction can be done either in the twain driver OR Photoshop. It is generally BETTER to make broad adjustments in the twain device and finer adjustments in Photoshop. As an illustration, on a Microtek twain interface, turn auto OFF, set the histogram manually by adjusting the shadow up to the darkest area and the highlight down to the lightest area. Then change the midtone from 1.00 to 1.20. Colour correction should be turned ON. Set the size and dpi (as outlined above). Scan into Photshop.
Dot percentages should be approximately 90-95% in the shadow and 2-5% in highlights.

Image Sharpness

A raw scan from a flatbed (or even a drum!) will look too soft unless some electronic sharpening is applied. (This does not apply to rescreens!) The amount of sharpening will depend on both the type of original, and whether you have enlarged or reduced the image. Enlargement will always emphasise grain. Colour can be sharpened differently to grayscales.

Using unsharpmask (usm) Radius Percentage
Grainy: 1.5 -2.5 90-140%
More detail than grain: 0.3 - 0.5 250-380%

If you have scanner 'noise' showing in the shadow end (which is common in trannie scanners) you can increase the threshhold from 0 to 4 or more so the shadows are not sharpened or try converting to LAB COLOUR, select channel 'lightness' and apply sharpening then convert back to CMYK.

Scanning Rescreens (preprinted images)

On a flatbed scanner, set the dpi to 300, size at 100% - TONAL RANGES AND COLOUR AS ABOVE. Scan into Photoshop. Apply a guassian blur of approx 0.3 for fine screens through to 1.0 or more for coarser screens. This will reduce or eliminate the dots (at the expense of sharpness). If the image needs to be reduced to final size then using image size, change the size and dpi if required. As a rule, DON'T enlarge a rescreen! Try applying a USM now IF you have reduced the image at least 80%.
Some twain devices have a built-in descreening function which I've found to be effective if not a lot slower than the above method.





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Last modified: January 31, 2013