Is PDF to Book for me?

Our PDF to Book workflow was created for people who have experience using advanced book layout tools.

If you are using Adobe® InDesign®, Blurb offers a plug-in that streamlines the book creation process.

If you are new to book layout we suggest downloading Blurb BookSmart®, our free and easy-to-use book-making software.

Previewing Your Exported PDF/X-3 Files

Print print Preview settings
Preview settings

Now that you’ve exported your PDF/X-3 files for your Cover and Pages, now is a good time to give them a once over to be sure that all looks well before uploading them to Blurb. This is your best proof of how you can expect your book to print. Online low-resolution Previews (such as Blurb BookShow™) are not as precise a proof as inspecting your PDF prior to uploading. So take the time to be sure your PDF looks good prior to uploading as it’s the best proof available to you.

View -> Page Display
View -> Page Display

Using Adobe Reader is a good way to check your exported PDF/X-3. If you don’t have Adobe Reader you may download it from Adobe.

Open the Preferences and click on the Page Display tab in the Categories list on the left. Be sure that Use local fonts is deselected. And be sure that Use Overprint Preview is set to Always. Also be sure that Show art, trim & bleed boxes is selected. Scroll down the Category list to Units and select Points as the Page Units. Once done, click OK to save your settings.

Now from the View -> Page Display menu of the PDF, select Two-Up and Show Cover Page During Two-Up.

Open your exported PDF/X-3 files and now you can see how your book will print.

Check cover
Check cover

Check for the following:

  • That your cover PDF/X-3 is a single page document.
  • Look for any missing or reflowed text.
  • No Registration or Trim marks.
  • The Trim and Bleed boxes should be visible so that you can see what will be trimmed off when the book is finished.
  • Check that elements are overprinting or knocking out as expected.
Document properties
Document properties

Note: It’s important not to resave your PDF/X-3 files when previewing in Adobe Reader. Doing this can remove some PDF/X-3 compliancy checks that will cause your PDF to fail our Preflight. If something does not look correct, you will need to go back into the Page Layout application, make the necessary corrections, and re-export a new PDF/X-3 file.

One last check to be sure that your PDF/X-3 is in good shape to upload to Blurb is to go to File -> Properties and inspect that version, size dimensions and page count is correct. The version must be 1.3 to pass our preflight. A correctly exported PDF/X-3 will always be version 1.3. Also be sure that your page count is set properly (Single page for covers and an even number for inside pages).

Back to First Section: Introduction to PDF to Book Workflow