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Text file prep guidelines

Text file prep guidelines

When a book printer asks you to supply “print ready PDF files” this can seem like a daunting prospect. Suddenly you have lots of jargon thrown at you like fonts not being embedded, CMYK or RGB colour space, your cover needs bleed adding to it and so on. What does all this mean?

We aim to make this process as stress free as possible if you are looking to produce the files yourself. If, however, you want help with laying out text or a fantastic cover design then we can recommend designers that we have worked with for a number of years with budgets to suit everyone. Please contact us for further details.

How should I supply my files for book printing?

We are looking to receive print ready PDF files for both the text and the cover. Ideally these should include crop marks so that we know where to trim the files. The text file should have at least 10mm white margins all round (unless it is a colour book – please see below) and the cover file should have 3mm bleed added all round.

For colour books where the image extends to the edge of the page then please add 5mm bleed all round. Images should be a minimum of 300dpi.

Why do I have to submit print ready PDF files?

A print ready PDF file is a locked file with all the fonts you have chosen and used in your text file embedded into the file which means that they cannot be changed or substituted for another font. Fonts vary from one computer to another, particularly from a PC to an Apple Mac. It is very likely that a printer would process your PDF file using an Apple Mac so if you send a PDF file without the fonts being embedded then when the file is opened on the Mac then all the PC fonts will be substituted for Mac ones. If the spacing between letters on these fonts varies then all your text could rewrap itself on to new pages. That is why printers insist on print ready PDF files – not just to protect themselves but also to ensure that all your hard work does not get messed up!

Looking to create your text file in Microsoft Word?

Here are some template files to get you started with laying out your text in Microsoft Word which are set up for the most popular standard book sizes. They include the Title and Title Verso (also known as Copyright) pages. The font is Times New Roman, which is a popular choice, but you can change this to a font of your choice.

Book Size Click to download
B Format 197x132mm 132x197mm Prelims
Demy 216x138mm 138x216mm Prelims
A5 210x148mm A5 148x210mm Prelims
Royal 234x156mm Royal 234x156mm Prelims
Crown 246x189mm Crown 246x189mm Prelims
A4 297x210mm  A4 210x297mm Prelims

How to create print ready PDF files in Microsoft Word

Please note that we cannot accept a Word document to print your text from, this must be converted into a print ready PDF file first. This is easily achieved if you follow the step-by-step guides that we have put together:

  • Create a print ready PDF file from Microsoft Word 2007 – click here
  • Create a print ready PDF file from Microsoft Word 2010 – click here
  • Create a print ready PDF file from Microsoft Word 2008 for Mac – click here

Please remember that we will print your file exactly as it looks so please ensure that it is laid out as you would expect the printed book to look.

If you are looking for text layout services then we can recommend a company that we have worked with for a number of years who can provide you with this service, and get your book into print ready PDF format:

Nigel Austin, Pageset Ltd, 01494 559924,