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

Vero_LuluVero_Lulu Reader
edited July 31 in Interior Formatting

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.

Interior File Specifications & Layout 

The single interior PDF file should include all interior content for your book. This includes a copyright page and any blank pages. Lulu template bundles include an interior pdf export preset. 

  • The PDF file size should not exceed 1 GB
  • Images should be 300 ppi resolution
  • All fonts should be converted to outlines and embedded 
  • Flatten any transparent layers and vector objects
  • Your PDF should be single-page layout
  • 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.
  • Size your PDF pages to match the book you’re creating. Include the bleed dimensions of 0.125” for your document. For example – a 6”x9” book requires a PDF with pages sized 6.25”x9.25”
  • Allow a 0.50” Safety Margin for all content • Allow a minimum 0.20” Gutter margin for inner edge of all pages
  • Do NOT include trim or bleed marks in your PDF
  • Do NOT use any security / password protection
  • Set compatibility mode to PDF 1.3 (PDF 1.3 does not support transparencies and will flatten them when creating the PDF)

Cover File Specifications & Layout

Your cover file should be a one piece PDF that includes the back cover, spine, and front cover content in a single page spread. We recommend using the template we provide during the publishing process (sized based on your interior file). Lulu template bundles include a cover pdf export preset.
  • The PDF file size should not exceed 1 GB
  • Images must be 300 ppi resolution
  • Vector images should be rasterized
  • All fonts should be converted to outlines and embedded
  • Flatten any transparent layers and vector objects
  • Your PDF should be single-page layout
  • Size your PDF to match the specification provided for your book. The spine width is relative based on the number of pages in your book. (See Spine Width Calculator PDF)
  • Include bleed dimensions of 0.125” and allow a minimum 0.25” Safety Margin for all content (0.75” for Case Wrap)
  • Do NOT include trim or bleed marks in your PDF
  • Do NOT use any security / password protection
  • Set compatibility mode to PDF 1.3 (PDF 1.3 does not support transparencies and will flatten them when creating the PDF)

Color Space guidelines

Lulu's printers use sRGB and CMYK color space for all color printing. 

  • sRGB - Our printers prefer files created using sRGB color space and can convert this to rich CMYK. If you create your file using RGB color space, be sure to export with sRGB color space selected.
  • CMYK - Works well for almost all printing needs. If you file was created in CMYK, we recommend keeping this color space when exporting.
  • Changing color space settings after finalizing your file may result in undesirable color variance.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Download the PDF Spec Sheet


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