PDF Creation Settings (How can I be sure my PDF will print correctly?)

by on ‎01-18-2011 12:52 - edited on ‎02-13-2017 12:34 by Community Manager Community Manager (280,575 Views)


When creating a PDF with Adobe Acrobat Pro, use Lulu's Adobe Job Options (Available at the bottom of this page). After downloading to your computer, double click the icon to install the Job Options into your Adobe Acrobat Pro products.


If using Apache OpenOffice, follow the instructions here: How to make a PDF using Apache OpenOffice

If you are uploading your own PDF, follow these guidelines:


  • Fully embed all fonts used in the document. Take care that all fonts are only embedded once.
  • Ensure that your page spreads are lined up properly in your source file. The first page of your print-ready PDF will be on the right hand side of your book, opposite the inside of the front cover. Accordingly, odd numbered pages in your file will be printed on the right side of the book and even numbered pages on the left.
  • Bleed is necessary if you want images, lines, or colors to go all the way to the edge of the book's page. Click here for more information about bleed settings.
  • Set compatibility mode to PDF 1.3 (PDF 1.3 does not support transparencies and will flatten them when creating the PDF).
  • Our printers use CMYK color space for all color printing. We recommend using the CMYK settings when generating your files for color printing. If you use RGB color space, we will convert your file to CMYK color space when making a print ready file, so it is important to review the print ready PDF to see if there are any color discrepancies before the file goes to print.

  • Solid blacks will print solid at 100% with no other colors added. If you do add colors to improve the richness of the black, TAC (total area coverage) should never exceed 270%.
  • Avoid very light color builds of less than 20%. Below 20% tint variation is very difficult to control on a consistent basis.
  • Turn off Overprint and Simulate Overprint
  • The PDF filesize should not exceed 1 GB
  • If your image DPI is greater than 300, downsample to 300 DPI.
  • Flatten your images.
  • Flatten all transparencies.
  • Do not use any security / password protection. The printer will not be able to print the PDF.
  • Image compression should be set to ZIP if you want lossless (no artifacts/distortion-free) images. To reduce filesize, use JPEG -> High. Do not use CCITT or LZW compression. LZW compression creates multi-strip images, which may show white lines when printed.
  • If you are printing a color book that has black & white images in it, the black & white images should have the colorspace set to grayscale.
  • The gamma of a grayscale image should be between 2.2 and 2.4.


For more information, see Recommended PDF Creation Programs.


There is also a community generated list of PDF Converters and Readers available in the Lulu forums.

Welcome to the Lulu Learning Center

Click the links below to view a list of associated articles.

    Lulu Overview: Lulu Basics, Account Information, Glossary
    Publish: Print Books, eBooks, Covers, Copyrights, Products, Pricing
    Photo Books and Calendars: Create, Edit, Publish, Sell
    Sell: ISBNs, Distribution, Spotlight Pages, Revenues, Taxes, Professional Services
    Buy: Ordering, Shipping, eBook Downloads
    Video Tutorials: Brief overviews for getting started

Lulu is an advocate for global consumer privacy rights, protection and security. Copyright © 2002-2017 Lulu Press, Inc. All Rights Reserved.