Search Help Articles, enter keyword(s), error codes seen on screen...

ADO-1004 • Overprinting in Adobe Illustrator


Screen printers may wish to have one color print on top of another to create a secondary color or special effect (also handy when creating an under base screen).


Select a shape that is positioned over or overlap a portion of another shape. From the Window Menu choose Attributes then check either Overprint Fill, Overprint Stroke or both.

Adobe shows you the effect on screen if you choose "overprint preview" from the View Menu.

Shapes that have overprint assigned to them allow the shapes below to print entirely rather than knocking out the shape at the time of separation creating "butt" "registration".

By default a vector program is set up to handle shapes on the WYSIWYG (pronounced: Wizzy Wig), it stands for "what you see is what you get". The over print feature changes that allowing overlapping shapes to print the shape below. This way you can place a shape directly on top of another, assign over printing, and go to the print window only one time to print all your separations including a base screen. No more back and forth to the workspace to change colors or move shapes like we did "pre computers".

Work smarter not harder, that's why you have these programs and a computer. Know your programs and use the features properly. 

Any document, pdf or link mentioned in this article can be located in the Resources.

Need help from a technician? Select the "Submit a request" option on the top right of the web page.

Assistance from a technician is available Monday-Friday, 9 am to 6 pm EST.

Have more questions? Submit a request