If you search Etsy long enough, you will eventually come across a digital download or a print version. You may have avoided purchasing digital files in the past because you are not sure how it works or what you will do after buying it.
Or, like me, you could buy digital files to decorate your home with wall art, DIY party decorations, and invitations, and use them for anything.
Never be afraid!
After reading this article, you will not only understand what a digital download is, but also how to access and print your digital downloads.
Looking for a quick summary? Try to print from Prints of love when you have time to order online because they make it easy to print out digital files and plant a tree after each order. If you want a faster pickup, turn to a chain of stores like Walmart or Cosco, which offer online services and physical pickup.
What is a digital download?
On Etsy, a digital download can also be referred to as a printable or instant download.
As Kodak Digitizing points out, a digital download means you click a link and transfer a file to your computer.
When you buy a digital download, you are not buying a physical product. What you are buying is a file. After purchase, you can use the file as you like and print it out as often as you like.
Digital downloads come in a variety of formats including PDF, JPG, PNG, SVG, EPS, and more. Each type of file depends on what you want to use them for and how you want to print them.
For example, some online printing services like Walmart only accept JPG or PNG downloads. This means that if you plan to use Walmart to print your photos or other digital files, you should look for JPG or PNG files.
What happens after i purchase a digital download?
Once you’ve purchased a digital download on Etsy, you should be able to access the file within minutes. Etsy will add the file to your account in the order section and you can download it on a desktop computer or mobile phone and open etsy.com in your browser.
Etsy will also send an email to the email address associated with your account if you have an Etsy account. The email contains a link to the file you just purchased.
How do I access my digital downloads?
You can follow the link in your email to go straight to the digital download you have purchased.
Sign in to your Etsy account to find previous digital downloads.
Then go to your account and click on “Purchases and Reviews”. This will take you to a page with all of your previous purchases on Etsy.
Find the digital download that you want to access. Next to this item should be a button that says “Download Files”. You will be directed to the page where you can download the files you need.
If you’re having trouble accessing your digital download, Etsy has a help page to help.
Note: You can access digital downloads from the website on a computer or mobile web browser. You can NOT access the digital downloads through the Etsy mobile app.
This trips a lot of people who cannot find their download.
How do I open my digital downloads?
After you’ve downloaded your digital file, you’ll want to open it.
Etsy currently supports more than a dozen digital file types. Specific software is usually required to open the files. So you should make sure you have the right software for every file. Below is a list of the file types that are currently supported by Etsy. (Source: Etsy) Next to each file type are some of the most commonly used programs that open that file type.
- .bmp (Microsoft Windows Photos, Apple Preview or Apple Photos, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, CorelDRAW)
- .doc (Microsoft Word)
- .gif (Microsoft Windows Photos, Apple Preview or Apple Photos, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, CorelDRAW)
- .jpeg (Microsoft Windows Photos, Apple Preview or Apple Photos, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, CorelDRAW)
- .jpg (Microsoft Windows Photos, Apple Preview or Apple Photos, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, CorelDRAW)
- .mobi (Caliber, Stanza, Sumatra PDF, Mobi File Reader, popular eReader)
- .mov (QuickTime, iTunes)
- .mp3 (Windows Media Player or iTunes)
- .mpeg (Windows Media Player, QuickTime)
- .pdf (Adobe Acrobat Reader, most Internet browsers)
- .png (Microsoft Windows Photos, Apple Preview or Apple Photos, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, CorelDRAW)
- .psp (Corel PaintShop Pro, Adobe Photoshop, ACD Systems Canvas)
- .rtf (Microsoft Word, WordPad)
- .stl (AutoDesk Viewer, Microsoft 3D Viewer, Microsoft Print 3D, ShareCAD)
- .txt (Windows NotePad, TextEdit on Mac)
- .zip (Usually any computer can unzip a .zip file.)
- .ePUB (various e-readers)
- .iBook (Internet browser or Apple iBooks)
How do I print my digital downloads?
There are several methods to choose from when it comes to printing your digital download.
Print digital downloads at home
Sometimes printing a digital download file is easy. Items like pattern guides or coloring pages usually have a standard letter size, which means they can fit on an 8.5 “by 11” sheet of paper.
You can easily print these items on your home or office printer.
Some of the most common problems when printing a file at home include whether the file is black and white or color and the orientation of the paper. Landscape means that the bottom edge of the paper is longer and the side of the paper is shorter. Portrait means that the side is longer and the bottom edge is shorter.
You also need to understand your printer settings, whether to click “Fit to Page” before printing, and how to print multiple files per page if necessary. (Learn how to print multiple pages per sheet from Adobe Reader).
However, there are drawbacks to printing at home.
“Home color printers are clearly the cheapest option, but they offer the lowest quality,” writes blogger Foxyoxie.
If you’re printing murals or invitations, you may want to use an online printing service such as Walmart, Cosco, Prints of Love, Vistaprint, or go to a local print shop or Kinkos.
We like Prints of Love for their policy of planting trees for printed items.
Print digital download photos
While quality usually doesn’t matter with sample instructions, it does matter with photos. You can buy photo paper and print your photos at home, but you may not like what you get. Instead, turn to higher quality printers for your digital download photos.
If you have a local Walgreens or Costco these are probably your best choices. You can upload your digital image files to the company website and pick up your prints when they are ready. Both Costco and Walgreens can print photos in a variety of sizes, which means you’re not limited to the 8.5 x 11 inch paper your home printer can handle.
When you’re ready to pay for shipping, you can also use Shutterfly or Vista Print for your photo printing. The nice thing about it is that you can print the photo motifs on pillows, reusable bags and mugs.
Print digital download invitations and cards
Invitations and cards are other things that you probably don’t want to leave your home printer to. You are looking for something of higher quality with nicer paper.
In these cases, contact a medium sized printer such as your local FedEx Kinkos or a local office supply store such as Staples.
The advantage of this is that you don’t spend as much money as you would on a professional printer and get a higher quality product than your home printer can produce.
The downside is, you may have to print the files yourself or wait longer for one of the staff to print the files.
Print digital download art
Much like printing photos or invitations, you want to add a professional touch to your digital download artwork. You want more than what your home printer can offer.
Trust me, I tried printing nursery art at home and it didn’t match the file at all. I ended up using Walmart and was a lot happier.
Instead of Shutterfly or Vista Print, Ashley at Frugal suggests Coupon Living Staples.
Once you’ve printed your digital files, you’ll want to add the finishing touches.
Search for the perfect frame on Etsy or go to your local Michaels shop where you can matt and frame your digital artwork and photos to your specifications.
What else do you need to consider when purchasing a digital download?
Before purchasing a digital download, there are two things to check.
First, that you have the appropriate software to open the digital download. (I’ll go over all of the different file types Etsy allows and what you’ll need to open each file type a little wider in this article, so read on to find out what software you’ll need.)
Second, you need to think about the print size and aspect ratio of the item you are purchasing.
The PosterJack site states, “You need to make sure the file size is the same; Otherwise, you will have to crop the image to get the print size you want. For example, if you want to display your artwork as a 16 “x 16” print with a 1: 1 aspect ratio, purchase a digital download made for a 16 “x 20” print with a 5: 4 “aspect ratio don’t work without tailoring it. “
Before purchasing, make sure the digital download meets your needs.
While purchasing digital files from Etsy may be more of a job, you will likely find that the benefits outweigh the disadvantages.
Digital files are often cheaper on Etsy than their physical counterparts. Also, when you buy a digital file, you can get it the size you want. With art, you can also choose exactly the frame and mat you want.
In the end, you will end up with an item that is more tailored to your tastes and needs.
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