General Questions

Business Hours

Our normal business hours are 8 AM to 5 PM PST, Monday through Friday. Call us at 1-877-495-3720 or 510-505-1100 during those hours or you can email us any time.

Contact Information

For all of our contact information just click Contact Us .

Why can’t I access your online ordering site using Chrome?

Our online ordering system will no longer work using the Chrome browser on a Windows XP operating system.  The XP operating system has been decommissioned by Microsoft as of April 8, 2014, and we will not be fixing the issue.  If you are still using the XP operating system, please be sure to use Firefox or Internet Explorer as your browser when accessing the CMC ordering site.

What are your privacy and security policies and procedures?

CMC  takes your security and privacy very seriously. We take every precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via our site, their information is protected both online and off-line. When our registration form asks users to enter sensitive information (such as credit card number) that information is encrypted. We use Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption software to protect such information. While on a secure page, such as our order form, the lock icon on the bottom of Web browsers becomes locked, as opposed to un-locked, or open, when users are just “surfing”.

While we use SSL encryption to protect sensitive information online, we also do everything in our power to protect user information off-line. All of our users’ information, not just the sensitive information mentioned above, is restricted in our offices. Only employees who need the information to perform a specific job (for example, our billing clerk or a customer service representative) are granted access to personally identifiable information. Employees must enter their password to gain access to user information. Finally, the servers that store personally identifiable information are in a high-security environment.

CMC takes your privacy very seriously and we are committed to maintaining the confidentiality of our customers. We do not share, sell, rent or otherwise disclose information to others in ways different than as necessary to process and ship orders and communicate with our customers. Please see our Privacy Statement for a more detailed discussion of both our privacy and security policies and procedures.

How do I place an order?

To place an order you may call our office at 510.505.1100 or e-mail us, and one of our project managers will contact you within 24 business hours.

How long will it take to get my order?

Single sheet jobs such as brochures and cards jobs will usually be shipped within 2–3 business days after we receive your proof approval. Multi page publications such as books and catalogs are shipped within 4–7 business day from your proof approval depending on page count and quantity ordered.

FedEx ground shipping is from 1–5 business days depending on your location.

You can check shipping time via FedEx Ground Time-In-Transit map by entering our zip code, 94538, on the following FedEx website page:

How do I use your ‘Submit A File’ function?

When you are ready to upload your file(s), you select how your print-ready electronic file will be transferred to us. If you select File Upload, you will transfer files via your browser to our secure ftp file server. Simply click the ‘Submit a File‘  link at the top of our homepage, or login to the site and click the File Upload link at the bottom of any page. Then just follow the instructions on the page.

Will my printed job match what I see on my computer monitor or a print from my desktop printer?

Very often there is a close match between your final printed piece and that which you see on your computer monitor or print on your desktop printer. There are differing technologies and wide variations in calibration used by each of these devices. As a result, there may well be some differences in color as seen on your computer monitor, your desktop color printer and the final printed piece produced on any commercial press. Also see RGB vs. CMYK Color Space for additional information on this subject.

When will I receive a proof for my job?

Online PDF proofs or hard proofs for multi page publications such as books, catalogs and newsletters will normally be within 1 to 2 business days of receipt of customer print ready electronic files (depending on no. of pages, file format, etc.).

How can I get my order even faster?

Our standard service is quite fast. For most products we ship your order within 2–3 days after you approve your proof online, via FedEx Ground. In most parts of the country, that means you will have your order in about 6–10 days. If you want to receive your order faster, expedited service is available for an extra charge, as well as upgraded shipping options when you place your order.

Can I make changes in my file before it’s printed?

Absolutely, we perform a series of pre-flight steps with all customer electronic files received to determine if it is in a print ready format. If print ready, we then provide an online PDF proof or hardcopy proof for your approval before printing your job. If you want to submit a new file with changes, there is a $35 new file processing charge. If you want us to make changes, we will provide you with a cost estimate for approval before making any change.




What are the paper options for printing my job?


Your paper choice can make a significant difference in the look and feel of your print communication piece. Commercial printing paper is divided into two broad categories — Coated and Uncoated (sometimes broadly referred to as offset stock). Within each of those categories are sub-categories by weight — Text and Cover stock. Text stock is the lighter weight paper used most frequently for the inside or body of a book or catalog. It is less expensive than cover weight paper. Cover stock is a heavier and more durable paper used for the outside cover of a book or catalog. The heavier the paper’s weight with a resulting greater thickness, the more upscale is the look and feel that will be achieved.

Coated Paper

Gloss, Matte, Dull and Silk stocks are all coated papers. Gloss stock is a coated paper with a shinny or highly reflective finish. It is most often used in four color printing to have full color photographs, images and graphics appear more vivid, real and appealing. Most brochures are printed on 80 # gloss text stock but 70# and 100# gloss text can be equally good choices depending on your needs. For an even greater upscale look and feel, you might choose 80# gloss cover stock.

Matte, dull and silk coated stocks have a flat, unreflective or dull finish. These types of paper are frequently used to make pages easier to read that are text or type intensive. Accordingly, 80# matte text might be appropriate for a statistical or technical intensive catalog or brochure with lots of text and charts. The choice is dependent on your objectives and how the piece will be used.

Uncoated Paper

Uncoated is today’s most commonly used stock as it is the paper used in our desk top printers, copiers and books. The body or text pages for books are usually printed in black ink on white offset stock. The most commonly used weights are 50#, 60# and 70# white offset text. They are named based on the weight of 500 sheets (a ream) of the 25″ x 38″ size of the respective stock.

Bond paper was originally given to paper that was used to print bond and stock certificates. Today it is most frequently used for letterheads and envelopes and is sometimes referred to as fine paper. The most common weights are the 20#, 24# and 28#. They are named based on the weight of 500 sheets (a ream) of the 17″ x 22″ size of the respective stock. Both bond and offset weights are often used interchangeably for uncoated papers. For example, 20# and 50# offset are identical except for the sheet size on which the weight is determined.

When choosing paper for the body of your book, you may want to consider 60# if you have heavy ink coverage for copy other than typed text such as many black and white photographs or graphic images. Another important consideration is the number of pages in your book. Several different choices are available for the cover of a book. For self-cover books (where the cover paper is the same as that used for the body) 50#, 60#, and 70# offset text is frequently used. For perfect bound books (where the pages of the book are glued to the spine) a heavier stock is required (usually above 50 to 80 pages). For saddle stitched books (where the pages are stapled together at the spine) a more durable offset stock is needed, 65# white offset cover is a good choice. For that upscale look or when using full color, you might use 80# or 100# gloss cover.

File Preparation


What file formats and types do you accept?

We can take any Mac or PC version of InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, Word, PowerPoint, or any file output as a PDF. PDF files are preferred, but we also accept Postscript Files, TIF, TIFF, JPG, EPS and PNG.

How do I print with a border?

With ALL designed material we recommend you leave 1/4″ (0.25) from all surrounding edges of your printed piece. If you leave less than 1/4″ (0.25), we cannot be held responsible for unequal borders from top to bottom and from side to side. This is due to the final cutting process in which some “draw” or “slippage” occurs in that cutting process. This is a print industry standard.

What is bleed and how much do I need to provide?

Bleed is the color, type or image that extends beyond the trim marks on a page. To have your color, type or image go all the way to the edge after trimming, we recommend bleeding or extending your color, type or image beyond the final page size by 1/8″ (0.125). So if your final page size is 8.5″ x 11″ and your color, type or image is full bleed (extending beyond each of the 4 edges), the file submitted for printing needs to be 8.75″ x 11.25″.

How come 300 DPI resolution for my images is so important?

To achieve the sharp, bright color and image reproduction that our print presses deliver, images of 300 DPI are required. Your images need to be saved at a resolution of 300 DPI in the final size that they will be used. Some people take images from the internet in preparing their print publication. These internet images are usually only 72 DPI in order for the web pages to load quickly. Use of them will result in very poor print quality.

What are the differences between CMYK vs. RGB color spaces?

To over-simplify these two different color spaces:

RGB is a color space based on light. Used in digital cameras, computer monitors, digital scanners and some desktop printers.

CMYK is a color spaced based on ink. Used for commercial printing press projects.

CMYK stands for the 4 color process inks used offset press printing — Cyan (blue), Magenta (red), Yellow and black ( is used so as to not confuse it with blue or cyan). Combining these colors of ink allows for reproduction of thousands of colors, and is sometimes called “full color” printing. The issue in commercial printing projects arises from the fact that the RGB color space does not correspond exactly to the CMYK color space. It is therefore possible for you to see colors on your computer monitor that cannot be reproduced by a printing press.

RGB stands for Red, Green and Blue. Color is a form of light energy that comes in waves. The visual spectrum is continuous. However, most dominant colors in the spectrum are red, green and blue.

RGB color is in fact to color as we see it. Or to be more specific, light waves, such as the ones that come from your computer monitor. Colors displayed on computer monitors and captured by scanners and digital cameras are in RGB. When designing for the Internet, RGB is the color space that you use. Many desktop color printers are designed to interpret RGB color, and translate it into ink on a page.

How should I prepare my files to be “print ready”?

The following check list will help ensure that your file is print ready:

  • We accept native files from the most common desk top publishing programs. In fact we often prefer them. If there is an issue with your file that we need to fix, there may be an extra charge.
  • Be sure that all files have been converted to CMYK color mode. We can do a conversion for you from RGB to CMYK for you. However, we do so using standard Photoshop conversion values which may or may not yield the result you are looking for.
  • All images need to be 300 DPI.
  • Text must be at least 1/8″ (0.125) inside of the cut line on all sides.
  • If your page bleeds, please provide 1/8″ (0.125) on each edge.
  • If your project is a book or catalog, leave a gutter (a gutter is the space between the text and spine of the page) between folded pages.  To allow for a quarter-inch margin on each page, the gutter will need to be a half-inch. Margins should be at least 3/8″ (0.375) on all edges of a page.
  • Outline all fonts when working in Photoshop or Illustrator, imbed fonts in other programs and flatten all layers.
  • Include all files needed to process the job: page layout files, imported images, fonts and other support files.
  • If your files are large (above 10 MB), use WinZip on a PC or Stuffit on a Mac to compress all the files into a single file for uploading.



What is the difference between First Class and Standard postage rates?

First Class mail enjoys a much faster delivery time in most cases but is more expensive than Standard Class.  Nationwide delivery times for First Class average one- to five-days and over 96 percent of First Class mail is delivered the next day within the San Francisco Bay Area.  One other difference between First Class and Standard mail, with First Class, the undeliverable mail (wrong address, for example) is returned to the sender free.

Standard (Formerly called “Bulk Mail”) is a more economical method of mailing but it usually takes longer to arrive. We see nationwide average delivery times of one- to two-weeks and local averages of three- to ten-days. On rare occasions we also see next day delivery of Standard mail and about once a year it will take three weeks to get to its destination, these times are very unusual though. Think of Standard Mail as a low-cost alternative with a difficult-to-predict but longer delivery time. Standard postage may not be used for bills, invoices or other mailings which contain unique personal information. It is used instead for advertising material.  With Standard mail, you do not automatically receive the undeliverable pieces, so it isn’t a good choice for keeping your mailing list up-to-date, although you may ask us to include an endorsement like “Return Services Requested” and, for a fee, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) will return this mail too.

What is an indicia?

An Indicia is one of the most popular ways to indicate, on the mailing panel side of a mail piece, that the postage has been paid. The other two methods include stamps or metering, Indicias are especially useful for high volume mailings. An indicia is an imprinted designation on mail that denotes postage payment, permit number and mailing classification. It usually looks something like this and is printed directly on the mail piece:

U.S. Postage
City, ST
Permit No.

What is a mailing permit? Do I need to get my own permit for mass mailing and postage discounts?

A USPS mailing permit is a permit assigned by a single post office for a single class of bulk mailing. It allows one to enjoy postal discounts for mass mailings. You probably don’t need one of your own and you can use CMC’s permit for FREE when we mail for you.

How many wafer seals (or “tabs”) will I need on my self-mailer (brochure)?

If you want to take advantage of the USPS postal discounts, the number of tabs required and the location of the tabs are strictly enforced based on the design and size of your mail piece. USPS rules are rather complicated, so we always advise our clients to please call and let us see your project at the design stage, before you print, that way we can frequently suggest ways to cut down on the number and cost of wafer sealing. The most common fold/size is an 8.5” x 11” tri-fold, for example, and here is how that can be sealed:

–    One Tab – folded edge is at the bottom of the mailer parallel to the bottom of the address

–    Two Tabs – folded edge is at the top of the self-mailer and open end is parallel to the bottom of the address

Why do you need a barcode?

A USPS-approved barcode facilitates automated processing by barcode readers and scanners at the post office. It is a requirement for most postal discounts.  It can also convey information for Delivery Confirmation and Signature Confirmation services. In simplest terms, it will save you money and speed mail delivery.

What is NCOA (National Change of Address)?

While over 40 Million people in the United States alone change their address every year, it is very important to keep your list up to date with the new location of your contacts.  The National Change of Address system (NCOA) uses the USPS database of all people and businesses. Change of Address information must have been submitted to USPS.An NCOA update can save you money by eliminating contacts no longer at the address specified on your list and updating to the most current address.  FYI – the post office recycles Standard Class mail if the address is incorrect, it will not be forwarded; NCOA has the ability to correct the address prior to the mail being sent so your contact will receive your mailer at their new address.

 How NCOA works

We run your list against the NCOA database which will then automatically update your list with the new address.  We can provide you with this new list of the changes (new address and old address) so you can make changes to your files, if you so desire.

What are the current postal rates and where can I find them?

Please see the Postage Rates Guide on the USPS website for current postage rates.  For prompt service you can call our Project Managers at 510-505-1100 and they will be happy to give you the current postage rates . We are experts here and will advise you how to save money by designing your mail piece or tailoring your list so as to qualify for the lowest possible postage rates.

What mailing list file formats do you accept?

In the early days of mail house processing it was difficult to accept all the different types of tapes, cartridges, disks, operating systems and so forth from a wide variety of computers, from mainframes to mini-computers. Now days this isn’t much of an issue and any modern mail house, such as ours, can work with just about any type of list format. Some of the most common file-types are Microsoft Excel (.xls), Microsoft Access (.mdb), and dBase (.dbf). We can also accept text or comma-delimited file. If you don’t see your file type here, don’t panic, give us a call and we can probably find a way to work with it. You can email us your files, give us your file on a CD, flash drive or floppy disk, or you can also post your files on our FTP site. Our secure FTP site is especially good for large data files.  Just call your Account Manager and they will give you the FTP information.

Can you eliminate duplicate records on my file(s)?

A “duplicate record” means one might accidentally have two John Doe’s at 123 Main St in Belmont, California within one’s database.  Yes, we can.   We can take the duplicates out of a single file, called an internal de-dupe, or from multiple files, called an external de-dupe.  Files can be de-duped several ways:  by exact match, near match, by address, one per household only, address only (in case of businesses) and several other matching criteria. By de-duping your files you will save money on your printing and postage by eliminating unneeded records.

Can you help me with my printing too?

Yes we offer printing as well as letter-shop services and fulfillment.  Many of our clients like our one-stop convenience. Please give us a call and we will be happy to work with you.

11. Do you accept credit cards?

Yes, we gladly accept Visa and Mastercard for mailing services; however, since the post office does not accept credit cards for postage, we include a handling fee of five percent for postage only.

How long will it take to prepare my project for mailing?

We normally request 4 to 5 business days to complete an average job but can often finish it sooner. The quantity and complexity of your job may affect the actual turn times. The process can be expedited if we receive your address files and a sample of your mail piece in advance.