Web-to-print, also known as Web2Print or remote publishing, is a commercial prepress process that bridges the gap between digital content online and commercial print production. This process allows us, a client, and possibly a graphic designer to create, edit, and approve computer-based online templates during the prepress phase. This process increasingly calls for a Portable Document Format (PDF) workflow environment with output provided by digital printing.
Web-to-print is targeted toward commercial users or to the general public, and both groups may access public or private online storefronts or catalogues offered by print houses. Within these storefronts, customers can choose pre-designed templates where they can alter the typeface, copy, images, and layout within a template, or approve a template layout and design that has been created by another person. While most Web-to-print applications allow clients to customize pre-designed templates it is also possible for clients to upload their own unique content for automated print production. When a digital press is used for the final output, the template usually is transformed into a PDF file that serves as the "master plate" for the digital press. In more traditional printing processes, like offset printing, the template is used to create a plate or plates that are used to produce the final printed product.
Materials produced by a Web-to-print process include business cards, brochures, and stationery, among other printed matter, that can be printed in full colour or in black and white on various papers and on various presses. Web-to-print systems are also expanding to handle personalization and distribution of other marketing materials such as presentations, seminars, logo items, and even email and other electronic media. This change is driven by enterprise clients seeking a single tool to manage all marketing efforts including print.