You’ve purchased your template, done all your editing , run through the spell checker and are ready to print. You’ve bought some lovely (if a little expensive) lustrous inkjet card and you can’t wait to see how it looks. Avoiding mistakes printing two sided documents at home is fairly simple but not always obvious. My first tip which I will repeat ad nauseam is to practise on cheap paper or card stock first. Here are some more tips for printing full sized pages and further down for printing smaller templates with crop/cut guides
The other problem is the back and front not aligning properly after printing each side – more on this further down this post!
Printing on full sized paper – no cropping
Take this example – a folded wedding program which is printed on US Letter (or Metric A4) sized paper and folded in half. Its so easy to print page 1 and then feed it back the wrong way round through your printer to print page 2 only to find it appears ‘upside down’. I sure have to stop and think for a minute each time I do this. Here’s the correct sequence…
TIP: Make sure your printer is set to 100% and ‘No Margins’
This is because the default print setting for most home printers is set to ‘reduce to fit’ meaning that the template is printed at around 97% which then adds an extra 3% to the paper’s unprinted edge. When you go to fold it, the printing can look offset and not aligned to the paper properly. So practise on cheap paper or card stock first. (If you are taking your edited template file to a printshop let them know that you want it “printed at 100% with NO margins”).
What about two sided templates that aren’t full page and will need cropping?
Lets say you have an invitation template that will be 5″ x 7″ after cropping, it has the front side plus a reverse with extra information and you can fit two to a regular sized piece of card stock to save paper!
TIP: The Corjl app gives you an option to select ‘trim marks’ and/or bleed before downloading your PDF. Fine hairline guides will print in the corners and edges!
Printing makes perfect
Even top end print bureaux have a problem with printing two sides accurately. Ask any print shop and they will explain that there is ‘give’ in paper which can minutely stretch or pull it during a print run which can result in a print offsetting slightly. Also, the paper can slide or shift across a platten which is why a commercial printer asks for ‘bleed’ (see below)
Home printers are no different and so to avoid problems as best you can, make sure the tray that holds the paper is snug enough that the paper does not skew as it goes through your machine. Then cut the front page just inside the printed crop marks and, as ever practise on cheap paper or card stock first!
What is printer bleed?
For example, say you have (as above) an invitation with illustrations right to the top edge. If the paper slips as I have described you might see a bit of a white edge after you crop the cards down. A bleed should be added when any part of the design is meant to go to the edge of the printed page. (Its usually about 3mm or 0.125 inches). This gives an error of margin for the paper slippage. Online print shops may request one – check their documentation and add it when you download your templates. The Corjl app gives you an option to download with ‘bleed’ added.
See here how bleed is added (the fine dotted line) and the illustration is extended outside the final cut line so if there IS any paper slip, there won’t be unwanted white paper showing.