Adobe InDesign and PageMaker

Tips and techniques using Adobe's flagship Desktop Publishing package

Setting Up Your Document


Unlike traditional offset production, our on-demand printing offset printing is optimized for a simple document that is the full size of the book with bleed, without crop marks.

The best way to set up your document is to set the document size as the final size, your bleed at 1/8" (9pts) on all sides, and specify your margins at 1/2" for general safety, as mentioned on our page about Cropping And Bleed.

Please Read Prior to setting up your document!
When exporting your PDF, you must choose "Use Document Bleed Setting" as specified below, UNLESS you prefer to apply rulers to use as your guides to prevent transposing your gutter.

Interior Page Layout

Our books print with Page 1 on the right, so you'll need to keep this in mind when designing your PDF. If your book has 2-page spreads, make sure that they start on the left, or on Page 2. We recommend creating your book covers in a separate document. Don't worry, you'll still be able to upload it to your book!

NOTE: InDesign’s default measurement unit is pic as (sixths of an inch). In order to change that setting to inches you will need to, first, make sure no document is open. If a document is open the changes will only occur in that document.
On a Mac (when all your documents are closed) go to the InDesign menu and under “Preferences” choose “Units & Increments” look for the “Points/Inch:” box, scroll down and select “PostScript (72 pts/inch) to change your measurement to inches.
On a PC (when all your documents are closed) click the “Preference” which is located under the “Edit Menu”, go to the “Units” tab on the right and select Inches.

This is an example for our 11"x8.5" book. The document size is actually 11.1" (799pt), the margin is 1/2" (36pt) and the bleed at 1/8" (9pts).

Example Document

The resulting document will look like this and this is how it would look with example content. Note how you must extend your background graphics beyond the document edge to the bleed guides. This is crucial for achieving full bleed printing. Your final PDF will include this bleed when you check the "Use Document Bleed Setting" when exporting your PDF.

PDF Export with InDesign

The simplest method is to use the preset "High Quality Print" found under File -> Adobe PDF Presets. Choose the highest PDF version, typically Acrobat 8 (PDF 1.7). Be sure that spreads are separated and not uploaded as one continuous spread since this will skew the size of the book and we would not be able to print your book. This means that you need to have individual pages, not spreads, being uploaded. During export just make sure that it will be saved out with all of the pages separated. You can certainly have 2 page spreads, just make sure that they are indeed two separate pages!

Please note: if an order is placed with the interior uploaded as two page spreads we will have to cancel the order. But don't lose hope! You can create edit the file and upload it to the site and place a new order. When a book is created with spreads instead of separate pages, the new file would roughly double your page count and also increase the price of the book, which is why a new order would be needed. If you're ever unsure just send us a quick note and we can double check before you place the order!

Setting Marks and Bleed

This is very important - assuming you created your document as specified above, make sure you check "X Use Document Bleed Setting". You can see an example of this here. Our Cropping And Bleed page also has some great information on this.

Setting Output Color to sRGB

When exporting, we recommend you choose sRGB, as our production line is calibrated for that colorspace. You can see how to accomplish this in your document here.

Double Check Your PDF

Uploading PDF's can be very time consuming, and correcting errors requires an entire re-upload. Before uploading your file, open the PDF in Acrobat and make sure the file size is correct (it should be the final book size + 1/4", ie 1/8" on each side). Be sure to use two-page, continuous view to get a good idea how your book will flow.

Adobe PageMaker


"I am using Adobe PageMaker 7.0 to create my PDF. My book is 9 x 7. My pmd file is about 35 MB. I am using Adobe PDF to create the PDF, printing through the pageMaker application. I have also tried using Acrobat 6.0 Professional and Acrobat Distiller to create the PDF."

Try these steps using PageMaker 7.0:
  • Create a new document with the size 9x7 and the orientation set to "wide"
  • Then go to Print
  • Select a PDF printer
  • There is an option for orientation, select the left option(with the man standing upright)
  • Next click on the "Paper" button on the right.
  • Under the paper size, select "Custom..."
  • A new window called "Custom Paper Size" should pop up
  • Set the width to 9 inches and the height to 7 inches and hit ok
  • Hit Print and it will create a 9x7 pdf file.