Not sure how to download or the best way to print your digital printable files? Save time and money with these simple tips that will make you a printing pro.
One of the things I love most about the internet is that there are literally hundreds of great digital printable files that you can put to use in just about every way possible. The only trick is knowing if the printable you just snagged will turn out as fabulously as you’d like and as the designer intended.
It’s true that printing requirements and file types vary between designers, but knowing the following tips and tricks will help you find what you’re looking for and get the most pristine print you can with the file types that you’ve got.
If you’re not as tech savvy as you’d like, but want to get in on finding digital printables you can use for home, work and church – read on. I’ve got a few tips that will make downloading your file and sending it to the printer that will make you an expert in no time.
The Easiest Way to Download a Printable File
Once you’ve found the file you’re looking for, it’s time to download. Most printables can be downloaded and then printed on your home printer or sent to a local copy shop or print house.
You’ll find that you can often click on the “download” button and have it pop up in a screen in your web browser. That’s great, but printing from that screen increases the risk that it might not print exactly as you’d like (or how the designer intended).
I recommend that you download the file to your computer from this screen (you’ll find this is how most of the downloads on my site work). But sometimes the download option doesn’t always show. Here’s how to find it:
The image below is for a set of birthday notecards available on my site. You’ll see the place to drop your email and the button to access the download – then you’ll be taken to a screen that shows you the file.
Step By Step Instructions for Downloading Digital Printable Files
- Scroll down to the bottom of the file.
- Hover your cursor towards the middle bottom of the page (where the green circle is) and you’ll see the grey bar appear.
- To download you’ll want to select the icon that shows the arrow pointing at a computer (it’s on the far right).
- This should save the printable into your downloads folder.
- Then you’ll access that folder, double click on the file and it should open up.
You increase your risk of things getting mixed up from screen to printer if you simply open the file on screen in the web browser and print from there. (That doesn’t mean I haven’t done it countless times and been successful – but saving the file to your computer first, and then opening the file and printing lowers the risk of getting poor results. Plus, you get to keep the file for future use!)
Note: Not all downloads work this way, but it will be something similar – so understanding this process will help you figure it out when it varies!
Determine Where You’re Going to Print Your Digital Printable Files
Knowing where you’re going to print your file helps you know what type of file to look for. It might seem overwhelming at first – and that’s ok. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
PDF files are great for printing at home on your personal printer and they also are great to send to a local copy shop or to a professional print shop.
JPG files are what you should be looking for if you’re looking to print your files at a photo lab (like Walgreens, Costco, or Sam’s Club). Printing at photo labs can really cut your cost down but you’ll need a JPG to accomplish it and you’ll also want to be careful to check resolution size so that you don’t end up with a blurry print.
PNG files by default have a transparent background – these are awesome if you’re planning to not print your file but use it in a design project (like creating your own printable) or if you’re needing to use it on a website or a social media platform.
If you want to learn more about file types and when to use them you can read in this post: Talk Like a Designer: File Types & When to Use them. You’ll also be able to download a quick file type cheat sheet that you can use as a reference.
Learn more about paper types and when to use them in this post: Talk Like a Designer: Paper Types & Uses.
Learn more about printing digital printable files in this post: How to Talk Like a Designer: Printing
Want to Learn More About Design?
This is a ton to digest if you’re brand new to the digital printable game. But that’s not a problem. Take what you need now to get started and then bookmark the page so you can come back and find more answers when you’re looking for them.
If you want to learn more about design and are even thinking you’d like to try your hand at creating your own printables for your home, job, or church calling – I’d love to show you how!