PDF File Formatting Requirements


File Validation
Embed Fonts
Page Size, Bleed, and Trim
Additional File Settings
Recommended PDF Creation Programs

File Validation

Glasstree will validate your interior file for the following requirements:

  • Your file must be a PDF
  • Page size must be between the exact trim size and the full bleed size
  • All pages must be the same size and be in Portrait orientation
  • Minimum and maximum page count must be valid for the chosen book format
  • All fonts must be embedded
  • Maximum file size is 250MB
  • PDF can not be password protected or otherwise locked

Download the Glasstree joboptions file below for bleed and other important PDF file settings for Adobe.


Back to top

Embed Fonts

When creating your book's PDF file, you may use any fonts you like, but you must embed them.

Keep in mind, that you may not have the printing rights for a font and that some fonts are only screen fonts and can't be used for print. With these kinds of fonts, you will not be able to embed them in your PDF or if they do embed, they won't print correctly.

Please review the help files and literature for your word processor, being sure to review information for the specific version you are using.

For detailed information, see: Embed Fonts


Back to top

Page Size, Bleed, and Trim

Page Size

The page size of your PDF must be sized to your chosen book size.


Understanding Bleed and Trim Variance
To fully understand how a bleed area works, let’s briefly review what happens during the cutting process at a typical printing and binding facility.

When a product is trimmed down to its final size there can be “variance”. Variance is a difference between "the size that a product was ordered to be trimmed to” and "the size that a product was actually trimmed to".  At Glasstree, we anticipate up to 1/8 of an inch (.125 inches or .3175 cm) of possible variance. To be clear, this means that a product may be under-trimmed or over-trimmed by up to 1/8 of an inch (.125 inches or .3175 cm) during production.

Please note that the vast majority of our user’s orders are trimmed well within 1/16 of an inch (.0625 inches or .15875 cm) of the intended ordered size.


How can variance be minimized to create a better file?
There are actions an author can take to minimize variance and ensure their book prints correctly:

  1. Add bleed to the file 
  2. Keep important art/text away from the edges.
  3. We do not recommend the use of sharply contrasting colors for your spine and cover images since all printed books can have a slightly offset spine. This means that some of the spine may spill onto the cover, or some of the cover onto the spine


What is a bleed area?
Bleed is extra space that can help reduce the effects of trim variance and under-trimming. By extending the file’s artwork beyond the book's page size by an additional 1/8 of an inch (.125 inches or .3175 cm), when under-trimming does occur it doesn't result in the appearance of thin white edges.

For example, rather than working with a 6 x 9 design when creating a 6 x 9 project, work with a 6.25 x 9.25 design instead. In this case, a file of 6.25 x 9.25 would be considered a “full bleed” document. 

Adding bleed is not necessary for text-only documents.

It is critical that all pages in your document be the same size. If bleed is only included for some pages in your document, our converter will reject it. If you plan to use bleeds, all pages must be sized for full bleed.

For detailed information, see: Bleed.


Back to top

Additional File Settings

  • Ensure 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.
  • Set compatibility mode to PDF 1.3 (PDF 1.3 does not support transparencies and will flatten them when creating the PDF).
  • Leave the PDF's colorspace in its original profile. For full color books, the source document and/or images should be in the original colorspace. If it was created in RGB, it is not necessary to convert it to CMYK and vice versa.
  • Solid blacks will print solid at 100% with no other colors added. If you 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 250MB.
  • If your image DPI is greater than 300, down sample to 300 DPI.
  • Flatten your images.
  • Flatten all transparencies.
  • Do not use any security / password protection. The printer will not be able to print protected PDF files.
  • 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.


Back to top

Recommended PDF Creation Programs

The Glasstree publishing tool only accepts uploads of interior files in PDF file format. If needed, there are many free tools and converters available for use on the internet. Here are programs few we recommend:

  • Adobe Acrobat can convert your manuscript to a PDF. You must upload a PDF version between Acrobat 1.3 and 1.5. Acrobat can be purchased from Adobe Systems or any software retailer
  • Adobe also offers an online subscription service that allows you to pay a fee to turn a set number of documents into PDF files. Learn more at
  • Apache OpenOffice is an open-source office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more. It can read and write files from other common office software packages and also covert them to PDF. OpenOffice is available for Windows, Macintosh, Linux, and other operating systems and can be downloaded and used completely free of charge at
  • InDesign is a desktop publishing software application made by Adobe Systems that can be used to create your manuscript and convert it into a PDF. InDesign can be purchased from Adobe Systems or any software retailer
  • doPDF is a virtual printer that can convert any printable file to a PDF. You can download doPDF for free at

Note: Glasstree does not recommend creating a PDF using the PDF button found in the print menu on a Mac. Mac Quartz / Preview (Mac graphics technology that easily produces PDFs) was not intended for creating professional print quality PDFs, therefore is not a suitable option when publishing on Glasstree.


When creating a PDF with Adobe Acrobat Pro, use the Glasstree Job Options (attached at bottom of this article). After downloading to your computer, double click the icon to install the Job Options into your Adobe Acrobat Pro products.


Back to top

Was this article helpful?
1 out of 1 found this helpful
Have more questions? Submit a request