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Printing Services


General Questions

Questions About Offset Printing Jobs

Questions About Centralized Mail

Questions About Digital Printing

General Questions

I am a student. How can I pay for printing?

We accept cash or check (payable to Treasurer, Virginia Tech) at all locations; we also accept credit cards at our Digital Production Center.

Who can use University Printing Services?

Only Virginia Tech affiliated personnel and groups (students, faculty, staff, recognized student organizations and clubs, etc.) may use University Printing Services.

How do I establish an account to access the DocuPrint?

Go to and follow the directions to apply for an account.

Can I use development funds to purchase printing?

Yes, we gladly accept development funds as payment for our services.

Offset Printing Jobs

What size envelopes do you stock, and in what quantities are they packaged and sold?

Business size envelopes such as #9 and #10 come in boxes of 500. Large envelopes such as clasp, catalog, and booklet come in boxes of 100.

Why can't logos and photographs be used from the web?

Photographs and logos pulled from the web are 72 dpi; they will work fine if you are using a printer to output your copy. However, for offset printing, all images have to be 300 dpi.

What is the VT publication number; how do I get one; why do I need it?

The VT publication number is an identification number assigned to publications printed by VT Printing Services that contains information about the publication (e.g., VT/000/1001/5M/229999/333-3333 or VT/department #/month & year/quantity/job #/Extension publication number – if it is applicable). Customers may call Printing Services’ Customer Service Department to have a job number and publication number assigned to their publication/project. Customers should plan to incorporate the publication number in all files submitted. If Printing Services has to edit the file to include the publication number, there will be a minimal charge assessed to the job for this service.

Hint: Assigned job numbers should be shown on the Interdepartmental Printing Request (IPR). This will help prevent duplicate job numbers from being assigned to the project.

What is a “rainbow proof” and a “matchprint?”

Four–color process printing must go through several stages of proofing before the project is ready for press. Rainbow proofs and/or matchprints are part of the process. Rainbow proofs are seen first, any and all changes should be made during this stage of proofing; corrections at this point are inexpensive. Matchprints are color proofs shown after the film has been processed, changes can be made at this stage; however, the client/customer will be responsible for the cost of new film. Be very careful that all corrections have been made to files before they are sent to Printing Services.

What is a “blueline?”

The blueline proof is the FINAL proof shown before printing. All margins, photos, photo captions, copy, mailers, etc. must be proofed carefully. The piece will be shown as it will look after printing. The proof will be on a special proofing stock and all blue ink. It will not be seen on the actual stock or in the ink colors that it will eventually be printed on and with. This proof is shown so that the customer/client will know what the piece will look like after completion. Changes are not encouraged at this point but can be made if necessary. It is very costly to make changes at the blueline stage; all film has been made at this point and will have to be re–done along with new proofs. This cost will be passed to the customer/client.

What is normal turnaround for jobs?

The turnaround time for printing jobs is based on a variety of factors such as the complexity of the job, quantity of pieces to be prepared, delivery of special materials, workload in the plant, etc. It is best to consult with your Customer Service Representative as to the turnaround time of your particular job. Printing Services will work with you if you have special time constraints.

Centralized Mail

What is “bulk mail?”

“Bulk mail” is a term used in reference to quantities of mail that are prepared for mailing at reduced postal rates.

Where can I get labels for Deans, Directors, and Department Heads, Faculty, and Faculty and Staff, and how many copies do I need?

Centralized Mail can supply labels for all three administrative groups—Deans, Directors, and Department Heads, Faculty, and Faculty and Staff.

Deans, Directors & Department Heads
Faculty Only
Faculty & Staff

How much is postage?

The U.S. Postal Service determines postage cost.

What are the minimum and maximum sizes for postcards?

Minimum size is 3.5”x5” and the maximum is 4.5”x6”. You can have a larger size card, however, the U.S. Postal Service will charge a higher rate for mailing. Special postcard rates will not be allowed for larger sizes.

How am I billed for business reply mail?

The U.S. Post Office (USPS) has allowed Virginia Tech to use permit #10 at a substantial saving for each return. However, the format is critical and must be strictly adhered to. For more information and to ensure accurate layout, please call the Composition Department at 540–231–5251. We prefer to lay out the mailpiece here. We must fax it to the USPS for tentative approval. After it is correct and printed, 10 copies must be sent to the USPS, where they will actually be run on their optical character reader (OCR) equipment. Upon successful completion, Virginia Tech is sent a letter of acceptance for that particular mailpiece. Only at that point are the returned pieces allowed the discounted rate. Please allow for this time delay in planning your job. When the mailpieces come back, they go first to P.O. Box 850 in Blacksburg where they are assigned a price, and then are forwarded to the Controller's Office where the billing is done. Finally, they are returned as requested. For additional infromation, please refer to “Business Reply Mail” in the “Getting Started” section.

What is the cost to prepare a bulk mailing?

Bulk mailing costs are based on several factors, and thus vary greatly from one job to another. Please contact us at 540–231–6104 or email for more information.

How soon will my mailing go out?

We have a three–day turnaround on most jobs.

How long does it take bulk mail to be delivered?

According to the U.S. Postal Service, you need to allow at least two weeks for delivery

What format does my file need to be?

Your file needs to be an Excel spreadsheet in columns.

Do you have a machine to put the bulk permit on materials?

No; your Postage should already be printed on your material.

Do you seal envelopes?

We do not offer that service.

How many pieces does it take to qualify for bulk mailing?

You must have at least 200 pieces to qualify for a bulk mailing.

Digital Printing

Can you print large posters? What size?

Yes, we have a large format printer. It can print up to 40” wide and to whatever length you need.

Can you print two–sided documents on cover and text weight paper?

We can duplex (two–sided) cover and text weight paper.

I need a poster prepared for hanging (laminated, posted on foam board, grommets installed, etc.). Can you do this?

We do not do this at Printing Services, but we can arrange with an outside vendor to have this done after printing. We hope to offer this service in the future.

What is the turnaround time for large format print jobs? Other digital print jobs?

The turnaround time for posters is 24–36 hours (may be longer if large quantities are needed).

Other digital printing jobs generally take three–four days; however, Printing Services will work with you if your job has special time constraints.

What applications do you use?

We use Photoshop, PageMaker, PowerPoint, Word, and others to a lesser extent.

Questions? Comments?

For questions or comments, please contact


Location and Contact Info

Keith Pattison
Printing Services (0243)
1425 South Main Street
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Phone: 540–231–6701

General Information
Phone: 540–231–6701
Fax: 540–231–5220

Copier Management Program

Customer Service

Digital Production

Bulk Mail Center