Printbuyers Online

Which Photoshop Format for Page Layout?
Answered by Jay Nelson, Editor and Publisher, Design Tools Monthly

Our printing clients often ask us which Photoshop file format is best for saving images intended for use in print projects: TIFF, PDF, EPS, native Photoshop (.psd), or something else? Is there a rule of thumb we can give them?

It's certainly true that the format you use when you save a file from Photoshop determines how it can be used in page layout applications. There's always a tradeoff in functionality between how you can use it in a page layout program, how it will print, and how it can subsequently be edited back in Photoshop.

For example, saving a file in the native Photoshop format lets you control its layers in InDesign or QuarkXPress (usually), but other formats don't. So clearly, if you want maximum flexibility in your page layout program, use PSD.

However, if you want to maintain resolution-independent text and vector shapes in the Photoshop file, save it in PDF format -- but you lose the ability to manipulate its layers in current versions of InDesign or QuarkXPress.

The EPS format and the TIFF format are pretty much retired now. Previously, EPS was the only way to maintain vector edges inside an image file, but now PDF is the best choice. In addition, if you reopen an EPS in Photoshop, all edges will be rasterized with the rest of the image. TIFF is only useful for importing into applications that don't understand the PDF or native Photoshop formats, and those applications are now few and far between.

Bottom line: PSD to edit layers in InDesign or QuarkXPress; PDF to maintain crisp text and vector edges.

This question was answered by Jay Nelson, Publisher & Editor, Design Tools Monthly. We love DTM's tips and advice and think you will, too. For a free sample PRINTED issue, contact Design Tools Monthly at 303-543-8400, e-mail, or go to their website:

   © 2016 Print Buyers, Inc.