Step & Repeat
In this Article we'll learn:
- How to place and arrange Print Items using Step & Repeat
- Which parameters and settings are available using Step & Repeat.
Using Step & Repeat Mode, Print Items can be arranged in columns and rows on the imposition sheet according to specific rules. Step & Repeat Mode is mainly used for printing items that need to be cut using either a Die or in bulk stacks during the finishing process.
2. Create a Step and Repeat Imposition
Column and row-based arrangement of Print Items on an impose sheet is called Step & Repeat. If you want to create a Step & Repeat imposition, proceed as follows:
- Open the Impose Editor and select Step & Repeat Mode.
- To open the Impose Editor you can either click on the menu item Automation > Impose Editor and then select Step & Repeat Mode or you can open an existing Production Job and click on the Impose  tab. Once the Impose tab is active, you can select Step & Repeat , which will also open the Impose Editor using Step & Repeat Mode.
Figure 1: The Impose tab offers four distinct impose modes, one of which is Step and Repeat.
- Select your Print Items to be imposed in the Print Items tab.
If you have started the Impose Editor via the Automation > Impose Editor, you should first add a Print Item to the empty Production Job. The fastest way to do this is to use the File Manager. If the Impose Editor was started via the Impose tab in a Production Job, the Print Items contained in the Production Job will be selected by default.
- Enter a width  and height . Activate Trim  to reduce the height to the required dimensions. If a greater height is required, the maximum height (in our case 500 mm) is used. The trimming function is therefore no longer effective.
Figure 2: The action bar of the Impose Editor using Step & Repeat mode.
- Select the desired parameters under the Artboard Settings  tab. The following parameters are available in Step & Repeat mode: Settings, Grid Settings, Head Turn, Pattern and Bleed.
In the Settings sub-panel, determine the parameters that are needed based your needs. The following options are available:
Imposition based on  – Use this setting to specify whether the settings in the Grid Settings sub-panel should be based on ImageBox or ImageBox + Bleed. In the label industry the ImageBox is typically selected here, in large format production ImageBox + Bleed is normally selected.
Align to  – Use this setting to determine on which corner or edge the entire sheet should be aligned.
Auto Margins  – By activating this checkbox, the required Margin is automatically set, ensuring that all Marks and Captions are completely placed on the sheet. Deactivate this option only if Marks and/or Captions should intentionally overlap the sheet.
Use the Grid Settings sub-panel to define how the grid should be created. The following options are available:
- Columns and Rows  – Defines the number of Columns and Rows the grid should consist of. By activating the Auto Margin checkbox the number of Columns and/or Rows is automatically determined depending on the width and height of the sheet.
- Allow Overproduction  – If the desired number of copies for individual Print Items in the Production Job has already been defined, this checkbox should not be activated. If you have entered 1 for the number of copies for each Print Item, you should activate this checkbox so that more than one row can be imposed.
- Arrange  – Select whether the imposition should be created with columns that contain a single Print Item or a column containing various Print Items. The latter option must be selected if differing numbers of copies need to be produced for the individual Print Items. For more information about these two different methods please read the Step & Repeat methods section.
- Rotate  – Use this option to determine the rotation of the Print Items placed on the sheet.
Horizontal or Vertical Spacing  – Use these two settings to determine the horizontal and vertical spacing between columns and rows. Note that the spacing is created in relation to the Imposition based on option. The height of the sheet is a result from the combined height of the Print Items plus the vertical distance per row.
If the imposition needs to be a specific height and width, activating the Horizontal Auto and Vertical Auto options below will calculate the horizontal and vertical spacing between columns and rows respectively.
- Add to Margin  – Check this option if you want to create an imposition for continuous printing on roll substrates. When this option is enabled, it will add half the vertical space to the top and bottom of the imposed sheet.
- Offset Per Lane  – use it to determine the vertical offset per column. A slight offset per column can be useful when weeding laser-cut labels.
Figure 3: Step & Repeat mode with various settings sub-panels contained in the Artboard Settings tab.
Head Turn  – This option determines whether the alignment should be based on either rows or columns or both columns and rows. There are four modes available:
- No Head Turn
- Head Turn on Row
- Head Turn on Column
- Head Turn on Row and Column
Using the gear symbol on the right will activate Expert Mode where you can also mirror the Head Turn based on rows and columns.
Figure 4: By selecting Head Turn on Column and a negative horizontal spacing, Print Item placement can be optimized.
Pattern  – Under the Pattern sub-panel, a vertical offset can be applied to every second column by entering a value using a percent. This option makes it possible to nest round shapes within each other in order to optimize substrate usage.
Figure 5: Round shapes can be imposed using a 50% offset and negative horizontal spacing to optimize Print Item placement.
Bleed  (Figure 3) – This setting determines how much of the existing bleed from a Print Item will be printed.
- Now that you have created an imposition that is compatible with a Die-cutter, you can now add Marks and Captions if required.
- If Marks and/or Captions are needed, switch to the Marks tab . Here you can add Marks, Lines, Grommets and Captions.
Marks  – Select the desired Mark type and determine where and in which size and color it should be displayed. Mark placement is largely determined by Cutting Devices used in post processing.
Captions  – Select your desired Caption and you can also determine where and in which form it should be displayed on the sheet. Using Step & Repeat in combination with variable data, Captions are usually added to the sheet to show printing progress on roll substrates.
Lines  – Select your desired Line and determine where and in which size and color it should be displayed. When using Step & Repeat, no additional printing lines are usually required.
Grommets  – Select your desired Grommets and define where and in which size and color they should be displayed. Grommets are typically not needed when using Step & Repeat.
For more information on the types of Marks available, please refer to the article Marks, Labels, Lines and Grommets.
Figure 6: The Marks tab with the two most frequently used settings for Step & Repeat.
- Under the Finishing tab  you can add a Dieline  if required. This option adds a Dieline to each individual Print Item that has been imposed based on the ImageBox or ImageBox + Bleed. The following additional options are available:
- Position  – Select ImageBox + Bleed if the Dieline should be set to the expected bleed. ImageBox is selected by default.
- Corner Type  – Depending on the Cutting Device used, you can select whether the corners should be beveled or rounded. If a corner is to be cut, a value 0 mm must be entered for Beveled.
- Weight and Offset – Define the weight for the Dieline and the desired offset.
- Technical Color  – Select a System-wide Spot Color. If the desired Spot Color is not displayed, it must be created under the menu item Color > Manage Spot Colors.
- Overprint  – Typically Technical Colors almost always need to be overprinted, with certain exceptions this checkbox can be deactivated.
Figure 7: The Dielines sub-panel of the Finishing tab.
- After selecting the appropriate settings and you want to re-use them to create additional Production Jobs, we suggest saving your settings as an Impose Template.
- Now you can save the imposition.
- If you have opened the Impose Editor using the Impose tab in a Production Job, you can save the imposition by clicking on Save (top right). A Save Imposition dialog is not displayed, because all relevant parameters for that Production Job are already saved.
- However, if you have opened the Impose Editor via the menu item Automation > Impose Editor, you can save the imposition by selecting Save or Save as in the action bar. By saving the imposition, a new Production Job is created.
- When you save the imposition, the Save Imposition dialog opens. Some additional settings are available in this dialog:
- Job Name  – Enter a number or name for the Production Job. Additional information concerning the Production Job can be saved in Comment input field.
- Output Configuration  – You can confirm the Output Settings with the information provided here.
- Split Reference  – If the Production Job was created from an Article, Order or the File Manager, this checkbox is displayed for Print Items that stem from the original Print Item. If this checkbox is activated, the Print Item(s) will be duplicated and copied into the Production Job when it is created. This removes the 1:1 reference to the original item.
- Click Save to complete the process.
Figure 8: The Save Imposition dialog.
3. Step & Repeat methods
There are two methods for arranging Print Items in a grid when using Step & Repeat mode.
3.1. One Print Item per column
If the number of Print Items to be printed is in an unfavorable ratio to each other and the option One Print Item per column is selected, this may result in large areas that remain unprinted.
There are two aspects that the algorithm utilizes which only allows placing the same Print Item per column, and on the other hand, it tries to distribute Print Items based on the ratio of the number of copies to be printed so that a minimum of overproduction occurs. If you want to fill empty spaces with Print Items, activate the option Allow Overproduction.
Figure 9: An imposition using the One Print Item per column option.
3.2. Various Print Items per column
Even if the number of Print Items to be printed is in an unfavorable ratio to each other based on the number of copies per Print Item, the available space on the sheet can be optimized by choosing the option Various Print Items per column, which significantly reduced overproduction.
However, in many cases this placement option cannot be used due to post processing requirements or due to certain ordering conditions.
Figure 10: An imposition with the Various Print Items per column option chosen.