What should a properly designed PDF look like?

This article explains what a properly laid-out PDF should look like when using Blurb's PDF uploader. But if you have Adobe InDesign we strongly recommend using our free InDesign plug-in instead of manually creating and uploading files.

Two of the sample PDF files shown below are also attached to this article so you can download and review them.

When creating your PDF document

  • If you have InDesign please use our plug-in to create and upload your files. 
  • For all other programs, create your file following our book size specifications.
  • Don't add any marks or color bars to your PDF files. We'll add any required marks later.
  • Do not set up your PDF in signatures or in spreads. See the layout examples below.

When reviewing your PDF

Use the following Adobe Reader or Acrobat preferences:

  • View -> Page Display menu of the PDF, select Two-Up and Show Cover Page During Two-Up
  • Preferences > Page Display > de-select Use Local Fonts
  • Preferences > Page Display > set Use Overprint Preview to Always

Sample #1: book, separate cover and pages

This example assumes that you are uploading your book as two separate files: a cover file and a pages file. Note the following:

  • The grey area you see below is the screen background and not part of the book.
  • The cover is one single page/single sheet.
  • Page 1 of the book is on the right side, by itself.
  • Page 2 is a left-hand page.
  • Page 3 is a right-hand page.
  • Page 4 is a left-hand page, and so on.
  • Pages 2 and 3 (plus 4 and 5, 6 and 7, etc.) are page spreads/ facing pages.
  • The final page in the book will be an even numbered page on the left side.

Book cover PDF

Screen_Shot_2015-09-28_at_09.54.00.png

 

Book pages PDF 

pdf_view.png

 

Sample #2: book, single file PDF

This example assumes you are uploading a single PDF containing your cover and pages.

  • For single file PDF uploads only, you should review your file with Show Cover Page turned off.

ii. A properly laid-out single file book PDF should look like this. Remember, unselect Show Cover Page in Reader.

 

Sample #3: magazine, separate cover and pages

This example assumes that you are uploading your magazine as two separate files, a cover file and a pages file. Note the following:

  • The grey area you see below is just the screen background and not part of the magazine.
  • Magazine covers have two parts, and each is a single sheet in the same PDF file:
    • Outside front and back covers (one sheet) 
    • Inside front and back (one sheet). 
  • Page 1 is on the right side, by itself.
  • Page 2 is a left-hand page.
  • Page 3 is a right-hand page.
  • Pages 2 and 3 (plus 4 and 5, 6 and 7, etc.) are page spreads or facing pages.
  • The final page in the book will be an even numbered page on the left side.

 Magazine cover PDF sample 

magazine_cover_pdf_thumbnail.png

 Magazine pages PDF 

magazine_pages_pdf.png

  

Sample #4: magazine, single file PDF

This example assumes you select the Cover and Pages in Single File option. Note the following:

  • The very first "page" of the single file PDF is actually the outside front cover.
  • The second "page" is the inside front cover.
  • The third PDF page is where you might normally place "Page 1" (unless you want your magazine to start on the inside front cover). This will be a right-side page.
  • The third-to-last PDF page is the last magazine page.
  • The second-to-last PDF page is the inside back cover.
  • The last PDF page is the outside back cover. 
  • If you want to see how this looks in the complete PDF you can download and review the Single_File_Magazine.pdf file below.

First pages of a single file with cover and pages:

 single_file_magazine_ss.png

 

Last pages of a single file with cover and pages:

single_file_magazine_end_ss.png

 

Have more questions? Submit a request
Log In