Adobe printing applications (InDesign and Illustrator) let you turn on a feature called Overprint Preview that can solve a number of printing problems.

Overprinting is pretty simple. When you overlay two colors like the left example below, by default the cyan circle knocks out (covers up) the yellow rectangle. If you want the colors to mix, you could select the Overprint Fill attribute on the Attributes panel and apply it to the cyan object.

Overprint Preview Example

Normally, you couldn’t view this effect on screen but if you choose View > Overprint Preview in Adobe InDesign or Adobe Illustrator, you can see the color mixing.

Overprint Preview Solves Printing Problems

Turning on Overprint Preview also solves several printing problems:

• If you are mixing transparency effects with spot colors, it will correctly preview the effect for printing

• Choosing Overprint Preview correctly previews the effect of mixing transparency blending modes with spot-color objects

• In Illustrator, it’s possible to accidentally set white to overprint. (This could happen if you changed the color of a black overprinting object to white; the overprint attribute remains.) White in illustration and layout applications mean, “There is no ink here.” Turning on overprinting shows off this problem.

Turning on overprint all the time will may slow down your computer performance because it will turn on a high-resolution display. But it’s a good practice to use Overprint Preview as a diagnostic technique before sending a job for printing.

Learn more about correctly preparing your press ready files for printing.

Need more help with your print project? We have a ton of info on everything from design tips to marketing ideas that will help you get your project from your computer to paper. Check out PFL’s knowledge center!