Digital printing for software manuals

Digital printing is an excellent method for supplying printed software documentation.


Many software companies supply one major release each year and have many minor releases in that time. With digital printing, print runs of only tens or hundreds of copies are practical.

Delivery time

Digital presses are slower than litho presses. For print runs of only a few hundred copies, this is not a problem. For small print runs, the delivery time for digital printing is faster than the delivery time for litho printing, because the setup time is less. For example, TechScribe sends a press-quality PDF file by e-mail to our preferred printing supplier. After two days, the documents are available for collection.


Litho printing has a high setup cost, but digital printing has a low setup cost. The toners that are used in digital presses are more expensive than printing inks. However, the page cost is less for litho printing than for digital printing.

Litho and digital print costs Usually, for short print runs (less than approximately 500 copies), digital printing is cheaper than litho printing. When you want only a few copies, digital printing is the only economically practical method, if you want a professionally printed document.

What are the costs? Typically, for 20 documents, 100 sides, colour, A4, wire bound with front and back covers, expect to pay £10 to £12 a unit.

Print quality

Litho printing is better in quality than digital printing, but digital printing has excellent quality output. Digitally printed documentation from a commercial printer is always better than the output from an office printer. However, digital printing has these problems:

File formats

Most digital printing companies accept PDF files.

Create the software documentation with your preferred tool. Then, create a print-quality PDF file, not a PDF file that is optimized for viewing on the Internet. Send the print-quality PDF file to your printing supplier.

Suppliers of digital printing

TechScribe does not offer a digital printing service. (If you buy our software documentation services, we can manage the printing and binding for you as part of the service.)

We recommend Mensa Printers ( for your software documentation printing.

See also

Bindings for printed manuals

Printed and online documentation trade-offs

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