Where and How to Print in CS5 - dummies

By Jennifer Smith, Christopher Smith, Fred Gerantabee

You can choose from several options when it comes to printing the files you create in Adobe Creative Suite. You can take your digital files to a printing service provider, which is an establishment that prints electronic documents (such as FedEx Kinko’s), or even print the files yourself at home on your inkjet or laser printer.

Each option has several advantages and disadvantages. Depending on how many copies and the number of colors, having files printed professionally can be cost prohibitive. Having files printed by a professional print house, however, almost always means that the print quality will be much better than if the document were printed on a low-end inkjet printer.

Naturally, if you’re only printing flyers to distribute around the neighborhood, you may not need high-quality output, and a home inkjet or laser printer would be more than adequate. However, printing documents professionally may be cheaper than printing them at home if you’re going to use up large amounts of black ink or perhaps one or two cartridges of toner.

If you’re using an inkjet printer, often you can get an average of 400 to 600 pages of black text before you need to replace a cartridge; a laser printer prints around 2,500 to 4,000 pages before you need to purchase new toner.

Simply using a laser printer can save hundreds of dollars a year, depending on the number of pages you need to print and whether you need to print in color.

If you need to print in color, many color laser printers are available (although they can be expensive). Entry-level color laser printers can cost around $500; some high-end color laser printers can cost more than $10,000. In comparison, black-and-white laser printers can cost as little as $100. So unless you plan to print lots of documents, outsourcing your printing to a service provider may be the best solution.

The kind of printer you use (such as a commercial or PostScript printer or a low-cost household inkjet) makes a great difference in the quality of output. Some illustrations or layouts will look a lot better when printed commercially depending on what’s in your document.