Proper Prepress File Format and Transfer

Native File Formats Supported for Prepress Output: 

  • Adobe Indesign (CC 2014 or earlier)
  • Adobe Illustrator (CC 2014 or earlier)
  • Adobe Photoshop (CC 2014 or earlier)
  • Adobe Acrobat (CC 2014 or earlier)
  • Quark Xpress (9.5 or earlier) 

Note Projects created as InDesign, Illustrator or Quark Xpress layouts must include all fonts and linked files used to create the layout file. The collected working files should be compressed into .zip or .sit archives prior to transfer to McAra.

Industry Standard File Formats Supported for Prepress Output
A number of standard, raster and vector, file formats (ie .pdf .tiff, .jpg, .png, .eps, etc.) are supported for prepress output and may be suitable, dependent on individual project requirements. 

Data Files for Data Merged Prepress Output
Data, field content files, for data merged projects should be supplied as MS Excel .xls or tabbed text files. 

Unsupported Software Options
It may be possible for you to save useable files out of your other software packages in PDF format, suitable for prepress output. 

File Transfer Methods: 
Numerous file transfer methods may be used to submit files to McAra for Prepress output.

  • Public File Sharing/File Transfer Service (i.e., WeTransfer, Dropbox, Hightail, etc.)
  • Private FTP (*remember to submit required connection information in order that we may retrieve your files easily)
  • Email Attachment(s) (*up to 20 MB file size)
  • McAra FTP
  • Dedicated FTP client software is recommended for connecting to McAra’s FTP site. (i.e., Fetch, Filezilla, etc.)
  • When connecting to McAra’s FTP site you MUST disable Passive Mode in your preferences 

NOTE: To ensure timely attention to your transfered project files please email and cc your McAra salesperson or other McAra contact once files are sent. 

If your file is less than 20mb… Simply attach it to an email and send it to It’s also a good idea to CC your sales representative so they know the file has come in.

If your file is larger than 20mb… Contact your sales representative or CSR for instructions on how to access McAra’s secure FTP site.

Some Basic Project Requirements: 
All projects submitted for prepress output should adhere to the following guidlines in order to ensure a trouble free outcome is returned from your submitted files.

  • a minimum of .125” bleed is required outside of your trimmed page size
  • include crop marks which do not fall into the bleed area in any press ready PDF files
  • to ensure optimal image quality, a minimum image resolution of 300 dpi should be maintained
  • use appropriate colour(s) when creating your file (i.e. Black, CMYK, varnish and/or spot colours) 

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Indesign CS3-CC2014

Indesign can export a PDF from within the application. 
Download the InDesign pdf export settings file '' [McAra_Preset]

1. Load the settings file into InDesign: under the pulldown menu 'File' select 'Adobe PDF Presets > Define' then 'Load' linking to the McAra_Preset file you downloaded. 
2. To save a file with the McAra presets, go to the pulldown menu 'File', select the submenu 'Adobe PDF Presets' select the 'McAra_Preset' option.
3. Always open the PDF in Acrobat and check to see if your file converted successfully.

QuarkXpress 7.3 to 9.5

QuarkXpress can export PDF from within the application.
Download the QuarkXpress pdf export settings file '' [McAra_Preset]
Convert RGB to CMYK and remove profiles embedded in cmyk images.

1. Color settings Source > QuarkXpress 7.0 Default 
2. Color settings Output > As is
3. Load the output settings file into QuarkXpress. Pulldown menu 'Edi't > output styles > import >McAraQXP8
4. Export a PDF file
5. Always open the PDF in Acrobat and check to see if your file converted successfully.