How to Submit AI Files to Prepress: Preflight Adobe Illustrator File with FlightCheck

How to Submit AI files to Prepress for Graphic Designers

In this how-to video from Markzware, learn about the three most common ways to submit your Adobe Illustrator files, or submit .AI files to prepress or the print-shop:

How to Submit AI Files to Prepress for Graphic Designers

FlightCheck can preflight Adobe Illustrator files to help you prepare AI files to submit to prepress

Today’s how-to is how to submit AI files to prepress. Today’s how to will go over how you can submit Adobe Illustrator files to your prepress department or thus to your printer, in many cases. There are two or three main methods of file preparation for delivery, which are acceptable, generally speaking.

The first generally accepted method for delivery of AI files would be to take the native .AI or Adobe Illustrator file, do a full preflight, to make sure everything is in order. In other words, vector objects or hi-resolution placed graphics, colors used in the right color spacing model, etc. Also, select your fonts and under “Type” in the menu bar above, select, “Create Outlines.” This will convert your fonts into vector objects and then you can see we can select, and they resize automatically (well, stretch).

Once you have converted all your fonts to outlines, you can then go ahead and do a “File Save” or a “File Save As…” Then you can send this file on to the next party in the creative workflow, in this case, likely to the printer or to prepress.

However, what if the prepress department, which happens a lot in packaging, the sign industry and other forms of printing, they may need to greatly adjust this file before output. In other words, they may not need these fonts converted to outline or as vector objects. No longer is the font application or font itself needed once converted. They may then very well need the actual fonts used in this AI file. Then, we need to collect the fonts package fonts used so that they can make further changes down the road on the prepress side of things.

Another way to submit this AI file to prepress is to save your file out. Then, simply drag and drop that native Illustrator file onto Markzware FlightCheck. FlightCheck gives the Illustrator file a full preflight check. This is vital to ensure that all of the used elements are in proper prepress order, before sending on to your prepress department or printer, or even the next person in the workflow, designer or otherwise.

Here, we see in FlightCheck a small overview of potential problems with blue, signifying warnings, and red, signifying preflight errors, in this EPS Illustrator file. This we all set-up in our Ground Controls, so that we can determine ourselves, or with the help of our prepress department, what really is an error and what is not a preflight error. For instance, if we want to be warned about image resolution, we can then set up everything in here. Then, you can save out these various Ground Control or preflight profile sets, for use in your extended workflow.

Right away in FlightCheck, we see a preflight error, indicated in red, that the printer font is missing. This would mean that we had better not send this AI file off to the printer or the prepress department, so we need to first find and activate those missing fonts; then FlightCheck, which gives a full overview of the AI file, including image previews, information on used fonts, colors, etc.

We can then go in FlightCheck and select “Collect” or package the job (package Illustrator). This will allow us to package the Illustrator file with all fonts and images used. We can even compress the packaged job via FlightCheck! Now, we will have an Adobe Illustrator file ready to send to prepress. You just hit Collect in FlightCheck. It is that easy to package your Adobe Illustrator artwork and get it ready for prepress.

We get a FlightCheck folder with a big red X through it, indicating there are preflight problems with this file. If we double click it, you’ll see the Illustrator AI file, a fonts folder and a preflight report for the next party, prepress in this case, in the workflow. That is a .zip AI file that is perfectly ready to submit to your prepress department!

Of course, last but not least, a third option for sending your AI files to prepress, IF they do not the fonts or to make drastic changes to your file, in other words, simply output and print: File > Save As… and save it out as a PDF file, for final delivery to the prepress department. Make sure you choose the correct PDF settings for the desired output. Whether it is for online use or going to print, those sort of setting choices.

Those are the three general ways how to submit AI files to prepress.

That is how to submit Adobe Illustrator files to prepress. If you would like more information on FlightCheck, you can cruise on over to and there you can click under products, FlightCheck. There we have a lot of preflight and packaging information and a tutorial video on how to use FlightCheck. We also have a 30-day free trial version as well. Download the FlightCheck demo today and see for yourself how easy it is to submit an AI file for prepress! Thank you, this has been David Dilling from Markzware on how to submit AI files to prepress!