My client is providing Autocad DXF files (which open in Illustrator) and suggests that I should be placing our packaging artwork into this to supply for prepress.

These templates have no standard printing information, like bleeds, safe areas, etc. They look like manufacturing templates for the packaging itself.

Can these DXF templates be used in a prepress environment?

  • maybe "place your art into them" is a simplification or non-technical misstatement? Presumably, the outlines are the "dielines" and therefore it is up to you to add the correct bleed(s). If this is the case, I would (personally) describe this as "placing them into my art". Whatever you do, you need to ensure you preserve the size
    – Yorik
    Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 20:40
  • Oh here comes the semantics police...
    – user57563
    Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 20:51
  • graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/28253
    – Yorik
    Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 21:24

1 Answer 1


This would only be determined by the company you're submitting the prepress files to. If this is something like a lighted sign company that typically work regularly with CAD files then maybe. Either way we can't really answer your question because we do not know the requirements of the printer/company. I would consult with your client and ask why they are suggesting. If they are having something engraved then maybe, you should ask what the medium is to determine what the printer/company needs. If your client is requesting then surely there is a reason why.

  • Thanks. It's food packaging, a cardboard box. Generally I am accustomed to getting a blank Illustrator template with trim lines, bleeds, safe areas, identified. But this is just a Autocad template that happens to open in Illustrator.
    – user57563
    Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 20:48
  • The company I'm submitting the files supplied the DXF files, and believes there is no problem. That I should be designing the food packaging directly onto this file, and that they will use this to print the artwork onto the package. I've never encountered that workflow, and the company seems to think nothing is askew. But they aren't exactly pros, and prepress is not their focus. Selling packaging is. So I'm wondering if they are trying to finagle a job they don't normally do, and hack their way through it, leaving me to see if it's even possible.
    – user57563
    Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 20:57
  • Without knowing their equipment and reasons, it's impossible to say it's wrong for certain. But it's certainly unusual these days and, yes, it would appear that their reasons may be due to ignorance of standards and benefits of other formats. DXF remains, as always, primarily a CAD format for defining shapes and machining. That's its strength, not wide gamuts of rendering possibilities for vectors on the scale of PDF or as broad a printer awareness in its parameters. Commented Sep 22, 2017 at 8:54

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.