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Understanding Output Types


General Overview

This document is primarily for reference purposes

Should you have an queries please raise a support ticket by emailing

The CPP supports several different Output Types. The Output Type refers to the format of the generated artwork file once an order is placed.

Output Types are set via the company details section on the CPP (Gateway Staff access only), which applies a global output format option for all associated orders, which are then accessible in the Order Management System. Users are able to overwrite this on a per product basis via the Basic Details > Output dropdown to allow different format files to be generated as necessary:



Critical: All Output Types function slightly differently, and therefore will not be compatible with all CPP features relating to the configuration of the products.



Raster is the default Output Type on the CPP and is compatible with the largest array of the platforms features. It produces a series of single layer, RGB, raster output files by default.

Important Note: ICC profiles can be specified to generate CMYK artwork rather than RGB. Due to how ICC profiles work, it is necessary to set two separate profiles. The RGB profile tells the system how to convert the standard RGB artwork into the intermediate profile connection space (PCS) and the CMYK profile tells the system how to convert from PCS to CMYK. To request this please contact

A raster image made up of a grid of pixels, often referred to as a bitmap. For more information please see -

The following file formats are supported:

  • PNG
  • JPEG
  • PDF (multipage file)
  • *TIFF


  1. PNG as a format supports lossless data compression so output image quality is optimal. PNG is the only Raster output type to support transparency in the output file (based on relevant product setup, eg including a transparent artwork file in the Print Area Artwork slot).
  2. JPEG utilises a lossy form of compression so output quality can sometimes be affected; it may not be well suited for line drawings and other textual or iconic graphics, where the sharp contrasts between adjacent pixels can cause noticeable artefacts. Such images may be better saved in a lossless format such as PNG
  3. Standard PDF output utilises JPEG compression - essentially it is a PDF file with Raster data embedded within it.


*The TIFF output is different to the other Raster files in this list as it outputs the artwork in CMYK rather than RGB by default. This is done via an automatic colour mode conversion from RGB to CMYK. The file is single layer, and does not contain transparency.


Vector PDF **Updated**

Vector PDF offers a vector output solution, as long as all input files are Vector.

This is supported in ACP3 and ACP3_2 Apps. 

Important: Vector PDF may not be compatible with all of the features and options available on CPP. It is highly advised that you Print Test your product configuration using the Vector PDF Output Type to ensure that the results are as desired.


The output file is presented as a multi-layer PDF;

  • Layer 1 is a spot colour 'White' vector 'backing' layer. This matches the extents of the defined Image Area / Text Area and is always rectangular. This is included to meet specific fulfilment criteria and is represented via a solid Magenta colour to make the layer 'visible' within the file. This can be disabled upon request, to do so please contact the technical support desk via
  • User uploaded images are added to a single flattened layer if they are raster based. User selected Vector files have there own layers and are retained as vector format.
  • Text has its own layer and remains editable, but can be converted to curves to give a path / outline in the appropriate software, which may be required for fulfilment in some scenarios.
  • It is also possible to set an additional layer for Vector Cut-lines via the Artwork Advanced slot on the Print Area of the product. For best results use PDF files. Ai files offer limited compatibility - we cannot guarantee compatibility for any other formats.


All text will be generated as a vector in the output file (subject to font compatibility). The Fonts will be presented based on the characters available within the font file itself - if characters are missing then they will not be displayed in the output (likely replaced with rectangles). This differs slightly from our Raster Output Type as it will substitute any missing characters with a default alternative. 

If Raster images are uploaded to the product in the App, then the generated file will still maintain the raster image - it does not get converted to vector. In this scenario the backing layer and the text will still be vector however.

The colour mode from any vector files will be maintained in the output file, even if CMYK. If raster images are used, then the pdf will contain RGB colour information. Text elements are always processed in RGB during the artwork generation process, which may result in the file containing both CMYK and RGB information.

Important Note: Vector PDF does not support transparency in the output file if raster images are being used. Any uploaded PNG images will appear in the PDF with a white background.

Important Note 2: Only PDF files up to and including version 1.4 are supported when using Vector files as an input (Artwork Advanced / Gallery etc).


Embroidery (EMB or DST)

The CPP features an Embroidery Output Type, that generates an editable EMB or DST file. These files contain accurate stitch information (EMB also contains Colour information). If the EMB or DST options are not sufficient, users can download Wilcom's Truesizer software for free HERE - this allows users to open the EMB file and save out in various other formats for embroidery purposes.

The maximum size embroidery file that can be delivered is 22500 square mm, which is equivalent to a Print Area of 150x150mm. The width or height can be larger as long as the corresponding value does not equate to an area larger that 22500 square mm in total. For example, these 3 print sizes cover the same area:

W150 x H150mm = 22500 square mm

W75 x H300mm = 22500 square mm

W300 x H75mm = 22500 square mm


The Embroidery preview within the App has to be enabled at Product level, via the appropriate Image or Text Area. Once enabled, this displays a realistic on-screen preview of embroidery based on uploaded imagery or input text.

Using this output type incurs additional costs based on each digitized output file at a rate of £1.99 each. For more information on embroidery files please contact Ian Bell in our Explainers department via 01625 355781.

More information on Embroidery is available here is our comprehensive guide:



Important Note: A specific product configuration is required to show the on screen preview of the Embroidery effect. This is supported in ACP3.

**Additional charges may apply when using this output type and are subject to change.


Further Reading:

What is a Raster Graphic?

What is a Vector Graphic?

Raster vs Vector

What is RIP Software?

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