Why you shouldn’t use MS Word for commercial printing

This is a very common question that people who have worked in MS Word and formatted documents for years, still battle with. Bellow are some of the problems encountered when working with Word files in commercial printing.

1. Word is not a typesetting application.

Word is a great word processing application, but it is a descendant of typewriters, and it has a lot of limitations. InDesign and QuarkXpress are descendants of dedicated typesetting machines, these are industry standard programs for commercial print. Word processors do not have the precise control over tracking, kerning, justification, alignment, ligatures, and other nuances of fine typesetting that dedicated layout programs can provide.

2. Fonts

Word works with TrueType fonts, while InDesign and QuarkXpress work with PostScript and Open type fonts. Unfortunately, unlike dedicated desktop publishing software, Word offers no warning of font substitution. The resulting document will not only use the incorrect font, but the text will reflow to the point where the page count could be different.

3. Color

Power Point and Word use an RGB color space. The files need to be converted to CMYK to be used by a commercial offset printer. The conversion is done in the prepress department.

The conversion process isn’t difficult but the results can be a bit unpredictable. The conversion takes place using image editors with built-in conversion capabilities. You wouldn’t see drastic color shifts but you will see shade differences. So you won’t see a red go to blue, but you may see a red go to a lighter shade.


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