I have a poster I designed with Adobe InDesign (69in x 36in) and I want to go to a print place and have it printed, but I don't know which format I should give the printing guys my file. InDesign allows me to export in:

  • PDF
  • JPG
  • PNG
  • EPS

and others I don't think are meant to be printed from. What format is more convenient for the print personnel and what format will give the best results?

  • 1
    The main reason the answers say "no" to jpeg/png etc is because they are raster formats. In order to display any file at any time (on a screen or in print), the file must be rasterized. But to get the best possible quality for any use, you want to delay rasterization until the last possible moment so that you are getting the best possible quality from the display (print) device. When you send a jpeg, you are prematurely committing all type and curves to a low-resolution raster, and the printed result cannot benefit from a professional high-quality output device.
    – Yorik
    Jul 14, 2015 at 17:50

3 Answers 3


Ask your printing guys.

There are firms that only accept EPS, even in this day and age, because they use an outdated (and cheap!) workflow, where often somewhere along the lines "CorelDRAW" gets mentioned. There are even 'print-only' firms that only accept JPEGs.
If your guys are like these, run! and find some other printing guys.

You should be counting "PNG" as one of the formats Not Suitable For Print.

The best possible output – mixed vector and bitmaps, fonts embedded, live transparency and all proper inks (including spot colors) – can only be achieved through PDF. But since there are many ways of creating a PDF and many additional options, you should still ask your printing guys.

Specifically ask for:

  1. A PDF/X standard: not allowed, optional, or required;
  2. minimum and maximum bitmap resolutions, for color, grayscale, and black-and-white;
  3. amount of bleed and slug;
  4. minimum offset of crop marks;
  5. recommended color profile;
  6. correct use and designation of spot colors, if applicable to your job;
  7. transparency use;
  8. anything else they have experienced problems with in the past (this may include, for example, badly created DaFont fonts that make their machines crash).

PDF/X-1a is the most common format designed for print production. It is specifically designed to create a universal format that contains all the necessary information for printing. Be certain to include trim marks and bleeds.

PNG is never acceptable.

JPG can be at times, but it's not that common and there are some important considerations to be aware of - resolution, flattening, loss of vector data, etc.

EPS can also be okay at times, but needs some special attention due to the flat-file format.


Definitely PDF!!!

Can't stress this enough as I've been struggling with a similar issue over the past week. CVS, Walgreens etc. only accept JPEG files for printing. I am trying to print a large poster with text that I created in Illustrator. Each time I export as JPEG it looks totally clear on the screen, but when printed it comes out super pixelated and ugly. Finally found another printer who would accept PDF and print came out crystal clear.

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