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F.A.Q's
1. Do you produce ARTWORK or accept files?
2. What are BAR CODES?
3. What is a BLEED?
4. Is My Monitor Calibrated?
5. What is DPI?
6. How do I DESIGN my Document Professionally?
7. How do I SEND FILES BY EMAIL?
8. What kind of FILES do you accept?
9. What are FILE EXTENSIONS?
10. What if I don't have a computer file?
11. What is 4 COLOUR PROCESS?
12. What INKS are used for Forms?
13. How do I MEASURE my documents?
14. MICR or MICR Consecutive?
15. What is MOD Numbering?
16. What is PANTONE or PMS?
17. How do I know what PAPER to choose?
18. What is a PDF?
19. What is a PICA?
20. What is a PIXEL?
21. What PLATFORM do you use, MAC or PC's?
22. What PROGRAM (S) should I use to design my document?
23. What RESOLUTION should my documents be saved in?
24. What are SECURITY FEATURES?
25. What are the new SPECIFICATIONS FOR CHEQUES?
26. What are TYPEFACES?
27. Can I send a WORD FILE?

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Do you produce ARTWORK or accept files?
We have a fully equipped Art Department and can design or layout artwork, shoot copy, produce or accept film as required.

We are also fully equipped to accept your artwork electronically, via email, ftp site or disk in both MAC & PC formats as well as by film or copy. Please read Sending Files by Email (7) prior to submitting art to avoid any unintentional errors or delay

Supply a hard copy or PDF of all art submitted. Proofs will not be sent, unless requested. If proof requested, an additional charge may apply. Any changes to artwork submitted will incur extra charges.
When using electronic art please, pre print and check separations at your end to verify the correct colour split prior to submitting files.

2. What are BAR CODES?
Bar codes are a form of numbering used in many applications to code and decode information automatically. It consists of bars and spaces of various sizes. The bar code can be static (the same number on each piece) or consecutive (sequential from piece to piece).

A number of different types of bar codes have been developed to meet the special requirements of different industries.

3. What is a BLEED?
When you print in colour and you want the colour to extend to the edges of the document so that no white edges show, the document is considered to 'bleed'. When designing your document, you need to design it larger than it will be when it is cut to size. Extend the colour 1/8" or .125" all around the edge of the document. Otherwise when the document is cut to size the edging will show and not your image.

4. Is My Monitor Calibrated?
Generally speaking, most 'out of the box' monitors would not be calibrated for print purposes. It is a lengthy process and requires specialized equipment to calibrate properly. Images on screen look different from the same image in print. Calibrating your monitor provides a screen display that simulates what you would see on paper.

The simplest calibration methods involve adjustments to the Contrast and Brightness settings of your monitor. An intermediate method uses special software to calibrate your monitor as well as calibrate your printer, scanner, and other devices so that what you see on-screen, what you scan, and what you print all look the same - as much as is possible. For high-end use (i.e. for going to press), even more precise hardware-based calibration methods are used.

5. What is DPI?
DPI or dots per square inch - This measurement is especially important when working with Screens or shaded areas in your document. Too many dots and you can't read the wording, too few and your document looks washed out or your security features won't function.

In 4 colour process - the number of yellow dots to cyan (blue) dots, black or magenta determines the green colour printed etc., and…

The resolution that artwork and pictures are scanned or saved in. Too low a resolution results in blurry, pixilated documents while too high a resolution makes saving and sending documents difficult.

6. How do I DESIGN my Document Professionally?
We offer Design Services and have a fully equipped Art Department.

Use industry standard graphics programs such as Quark, Illustrator, Photoshop, and Corel Draw. If you are using any other programs like Word or Word Perfect (B & W only), please save as a Hi-Res Adobe Acrobat PDF file (portable document format) and include with Original File(s). Include all fonts when sending files, see Please Include Fonts or Outline Them 6iii.

i. DESIGN YOUR DOCUMENT WITH BLEED WHERE APPROPRIATE.
Ensure that when your document bleeds, has an image or colour that goes to the edge of the paper, you have included an extra 1/8" or .125" extension of the colour being printed around your document for cutting and trimming purposes. To do this you need to design the card so that it is slightly larger than the size required that way when the document is trimmed, there will be no white edges showing when it is cut to size. When considering Bleed, recognize that some jobs cost more if Bleed is used.

ii. KEEP TYPE AWAY FROM THE EDGES OF THE DOCUMENT.
Make sure that any type is at least 1/8" or .125" away from the edge of the document. This will ensure that information is not trimmed. The blade on our cutter is 1/16th of an inch thick so type that is not at least 1/8" from the edge may get trimmed slightly.

iii. PLEASE INCLUDE FONTS OR OUTLINE THEM
One of the biggest problems and causes for delay when using files supplied is not having the fonts required. When submitting your file, please INCLUDE your FONTS. Compress the fonts into a file like a .sit or .zip file.

If you are working in Illustrator or CorelDraw, OUTLINE your fonts. On a MAC in Illustrator go to: Apple + A for SELECT ALL, then Apple + Shift + O to Outline the fonts. On a PC it's: CTRL + A to SELECT ALL, then CTRL + ALT + O to outline the fonts.

The fonts will look chunkier but they will PRINT SMOOTHLY. It makes them look chunkier so that you know you've switched to outline, but the fonts haven't changed. If you outline the fonts you won't have to send the fonts.

iv. SAVE YOUR DOCUMENTS AND PICTURES IN HIGH RES(OLUTION)
Many files we receive are at 72 dpi, which is a common resolution for websites, but is UNACCEPTABLE for PRINTING. Scan your images at 300 dpi at the size you will be using the pictures, i.e. business cards 2.125 x 3.625 if the picture fills the entire background. Don't save it as a 300 dpi at 1 x 1 and then increase the size in Quark. This will reduce the image quality making it look blurry, cloudy and unclear. It is always better to provide the original images wherever possible and don't forget to include the fonts.

7. How do I SEND FILES BY EMAIL?
When sending files by email attach them to your email message. Make sure they are no bigger than 2 mb (megabytes). When files are larger than 2 megabytes (mb), they often disappear in cyberspace and never arrive at the intended destination. We won't even know you've sent the file. For files larger than 2 mb, call us for further instructions. Before submitting files, PLEASE COMPRESS THEM using ZIP or Stuffit or a similar program, this way if there is an error in transmission we will be notified when we uncompress it. Otherwise there may be a line or data shift in the document that we won't see till it's too late, that will have resulted from an error during transmission. PDF files can also be used for one-colour documents for similar purposes.

8. What kind of FILES do you accept?
Please use industry standard graphic programs such as InDesign, Quark, Illustrator, Photoshop, or Corel Draw. If you are using any other programs like Word or Word Perfect (B & W only), please save as PDF. Include all fonts when sending files.

9. What are FILE EXTENSIONS?
When a program like Quark saves a document, it adds an extension at the end of the file name, in this case .qxd so that the computer will know what program to open the file with. Click here for Common File Extensions.

10. What if I don't have a computer file?
We can layout or design your documents for you, or we can use film supplied or shoot copy or art supplied.

11. What is 4 COLOUR PROCESS?
When something is printed in 4-colour process, four colours are used to create all the colours. Most magazines are printed in 4-colour process. Cyan, Magenta Yellow and Black (CMYK) make up the colours used to create all the colours in the rainbow! Four colour documents when viewed with a printer's glass can be seen to consist of many dots of these four colours. Occasionally a fifth or sixth 'spot' or solid colour is used, a PMS coloured ink or an aqueous or UV coating. When 4-colour process (CMYK) is used, reproductions may vary from run to run and printer to printer. Digital Printing is especially vulnerable to this problem.

12. What INKS are used for Forms?
The use of the document determines the type of ink chosen. Laser safe inks, MICR magnetic inks, forms ink and water soluble inks are all possible choices as well as a variety of specialty inks available for special needs.

Black is the standard colour and unless otherwise requested all work is printed in black ink. Other colours are available including specialty inks for special functions. If you are using more than one colour, choose your second, third, forth etc. colour from Industry Standard Pantone Colours. PMS books are available by order through our offices. We do not up charge for inks that are non-standard colours.

Laser inks are specially designed to pass through laser printers without melting or running or leaving a residue on the printer drum. Non-laser inks will not work properly and may seriously damage printers.
Forms that are printed in non laser printers, i.e. continuous forms or forms printed in ink jet or bubble jet printers do not require laser inks.

13. How do I MEASURE my documents?
Forms Printers still use the 'old' imperial standard of measurement - INCHES rather than centimeters or millimeters. While most of the world has converted to metric, the US has not made this transition, and the majority of equipment used in the forms industry is manufactured in the US. So don't give up on inches, whether in quarters, eighths, or sixteenths yet.

When providing a measurement, give the width by the length (i.e. letterhead is 8 x 11"). If the document is folded, always indicate the Flat size and the Finished or Folded Size. See Common Folds for more information on folds.

14. MICR or MICR Consecutive?
MICR (Magnetic Image Character Recognition) is a special font printed with specialized magnetic inks for bank use. The MICR line appears at the bottom of the cheque and provides information about your bank, branch and account number. In the past this was all that banks required. Today banks are requiring an additional entry, a Consecutive Number that may or may not match Customer's Accounting Systems number sequence used to reconcile the bankbook. For ease, it is recommended that the "Cheque Number" and the "MICR Number" be the same however, the bank doesn't really care how you reconcile your accounts they simply want the MICR CONSECUTIVE NUMBER to be present for their record keeping.

15. What is MOD Numbering
Mod (modulus) numbering involves printing an additional digit to the right of the sequential number. This process enables the document owner to verify and control some aspect of the document. Numbering methods, such as MICR, Gothic, OCR or Bar Code can be used. MOD numbering is considered to be a "self-checking system" consisting of two parts: the base control number, or digits, such as a Gothic number 6525 with a Gothic check digit such as 3 added after the base number for a total numbering sequence appearing as 6525 3. Verification of the proper sequence of the check digit can be accomplished manually or by using a computer programmed for the verification procedure. A high Security numbering system used for control of insurance forms, patient form, airline tickets, bank accounts etc.

16. What is PANTONE or PMS?
Pantone or Pantone Matching System. Pantone coloured inks are industry standards. You can choose a specific ink colour and we will match and print with this ink colour. The ink comes in a can or can be mixed using a formula to make a specific & repeatable colour. Choosing a pantone colour ensures that all your documents are the same colour and 'your look' is maintained throughout all printed documents - no matter who prints your logo or other work the colour will always be the colour you've chosen. Four Colour process, provides colour using a different process, although the Pantone System does provide a 4-colour comparison to a spot colour. Be careful, the same Number in CMYK Pantone Process and PMS colours don't always match. See What is 4 Colour Process? (11).

Note: Printing on coloured stock may affect the appearance of the PMS colour.

17. How do I know what PAPER to choose?
The kind of paper you use will depend on what it is being used for. If you need a multi-part form you would consider Carbonless Paper. Bond & Carbon is another option but is rarely used today. All Carbonless Paper follows a similar sequence, but there are different colours & weights available.

Carbonless Paper has a chemical composition that, when the proper sequence is followed and pressure is applied, creates a semi-permanent image on the document.

A 3-part form would be indicated as:
Part 1 CB Coated Back available in 32M, 40M, 44M*, 52M
Part 2 CFB Coated Front & Back available in 28M, 44M*
Part 3 CF Coated Front available in 30M, 40M, 42M*, 66M Ledger, 105M Tag

In all cases where more parts are required and an image is to show on the front of all pages, there would be more part 2's added, i.e. for a 5 part form the sequence would be: CB, CFB, CFB, CFB, CF.
Paper weights are determined by the number of parts of the form, it's usage, laser compatibility and the need for security features.

* Note: CB 44M, CFB 44M & CF 42M are all "TRANSCOPY" LASER Compatible papers.

We're available at 905-839-4657 to help answer your questions.

18. What is a PDF?
PDF (Portable Document Format) is a file format that has captured all the elements of a printed document as an electronic image that you can view, navigate, print, or forward to someone else. PDF files are created using Adobe Acrobat, Acrobat Capture, or similar products. To view and use the files, you need the free Acrobat Reader, which you can easily download. Once you've downloaded the Reader, it will start automatically whenever you want to look at a PDF file. Get Acrobat Reader http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html

19. What is a PICA?
Printers use various types of measurements for spacing purposes and type size. Today Pica's are not as important (and rarely used) because most documents are computer designed and type spacing is determined by the computer as opposed to a 'typesetter or even a typewriter'. In the past however, all type was set in lead and a pica was an important measurement. One Pica is equal to 1/6th of an inch.

20. What is a PIXEL?
These are the dots that make up an image on a computer or television screen. Computers and televisions work in RGB whereas Printers use PMS or CMYK for print purposes. Pixelation describes the effect that occurs when the edges of words or pictures are dotted or fuzzy rather than smooth and even when viewed with a printer's glass and this will result in poor print image.

21. What PLATFORM do you use, MAC or PC's?
We use both platforms and can accept most types of files, however not all files can be used for print purposes.

22. What PROGRAM (S) should I use to design my document?
We recommend the following programs. Quark Xpress, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, InDesign or Corel Draw. Ensure that your monitor is calibrated for best viewing to print results. Set your type in Quark, Illustrator or Corel and your picture files in Photoshop.

When possible provide a Hi-Res Adobe Acrobat PDF file (portable document format) and include with Original File(s) where possible. Include all fonts when sending files, see Please Include Fonts or Outline Them 6iii.

Generally if you don't have any of these files, we can still accept your file in any number formats. Just give us a call and we will provide you with a solution.

23. What RESOLUTION should my documents be saved in?
For best colour and grey scale images save all your files, size as at 300 dpi and embed all fonts or turn to outlines. For all line-art save files at 600 dpi and remember to zip or compress files when sending.

24. What are SECURITY FEATURES?
Many documents produced can be used to obtain goods or services. For instance cheques, coupons or Bond Certificates act like money. Other documents like ID cards and Ballots for voting purposes can 'buy' other outcomes. All of these documents can be victims of theft, fraud or forgery. Most companies try to ensure that their documents are secure and cannot be easily reproduced.

Sterling uses Special Papers, Inks and Print Techniques including MOD numbering and other features to produce safer documents. We also test all cheques with specialized equipment to ensure that the Banks and the Canadian Payments Associations Standards are upheld. See Do Your Cheques Pass for more information.

25. What are the new SPECIFICATIONS FOR CHEQUES?
The Canadian Payments Association (CPA) sets the standards for printing Cheques. For a quick overview of the new standards please see New Cheque Specifications (pdf document) or go to the CPA website at www.cdnpay.ca.

26. What are TYPEFACES?
Typefaces are also called fonts. Examples are Times Roman, Arial, Futura etc. They are set in various sizes, called Points. See Point Map (pdf document) for more information.

27. Can I send a WORD FILE?
Yes but, unfortunately word files may lose all formatting when imported into different computers and graphics programs. To send a word file, include with the original Word or Word Perfect file a Hi-Res PDF with fonts embedded.