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.

Non-Adobe® InDesign® Workflows

Print print

Currently supported workflows:

  • QuarkXPress®

Introduction

Though most Blurb PDF to Book users are employing Adobe® InDesign® to make their books, we are always trying to expand the possibilities of using other software applications that will create compliant PDF/X-3 files. If you are successfully using a software application that isn’t listed below, and would like to be a hero and share your experiences, we would love to hear from you at Customer Support.

Although this workflow is specific for QuarkXPress® it can be used as a generic workflow for any software application that can produce a compliant postscript file, such as MS Word. A PostScript file is a file that would normally be sent to a PostScript printer, but is intercepted and written to a file instead of being sent on to a print device. They will have a file extension of .ps or .prn.

In order to use this workflow for Quark or any other postscript generating application, you must also use Adobe Distiller to create the PDF/X-3 from a postscript file generated. If you do not already have a copy of Adobe Acrobat Pro which includes the Adobe Distiller Application you can download a 30 day trial from Adobe.

PDF to Book Workflow for QuarkXPress

Tools needed:

  • QuarkXPress 7.5/8 or other Postscript Generating Application
  • Adobe Acrobat Distiller (version 5+)
  1. Figure 1
    Figure 1

    Create your document

    The first step is to go to the PDF to Book Specifications page. Use this book calculator to determine the sizes of your Quark documents. You will need to know the number of pages in your document to get accurate information for your Cover, so you may need to revisit the Specifications after you finish your Pages file.

    Figure 2
    Figure 2

    Select the Book Size, Cover Type, Page Count (guess if you are not sure), Paper Type and enter Points as the Unit of Measurement. The page count is not important for creating your Pages Document, but when you revisit the Book Calculator after completing your Pages Document you will need an accurate page count for the cover specifications.

    • Open Quark and change the Units of Measurement to Points. (QuarkXPress->Preferences->Measurements)
    • Create a New Document and enter in the Final Exported Size as the Quark document size. (File->New->Project)
    Figure 3
    Figure 3
    • Be sure to select Facing Pages and enter in the Margin Guides from the Specifications into the New Project Window (see Figure 2).
    • Note the Inside Guide should be set to 0 Points, but the Top, Bottom and Outside should be set from the value of the Bleed (see Figure 3).
    • The Document set-up is now complete so click OK.
  2. Add pages to your document and set safety margins.

    Figure 4
    Figure 4

    Now add pages and create the pages of your book. Be aware that the Margin Guides you have set are the actual Trim of the book, so do NOT place any important text or graphics close to this edge. If you are using images or graphics you want to bleed off the page then pull these items to the edge of the document and they will get trimmed at the margin guide when printed. To determine the Safety Margins for any important Text/Graphics check back with the Book Calculator and pull guides in Quark to the determined values (see Figure 4).

    Once the Pages of your book are completed, save the file and make note of the page count. Remember it needs to be an even number of pages.

  3. Create your cover document.

    Figure 5
    Figure 5

    Return to the Book Calculator and enter in the information about your book including the now known Page Count. You will now be creating a one-page document for your Cover. The book will be laid out as if you opened a book, turned it facedown and placed it on a table. The back cover will be on the left, the spine in the middle and the front cover will be on the right.

    Create a new document in Quark with the dimensions of the Final exported PDF/X-3 from the Book Calculator. Enter the Bleed amount into the Margins for the Quark document. Click OK to create the Cover document. Optional: Pull Guides in from the edges for the Safe Boundary according to the Inset for Margins/Safe boundary from the Book Calculator (see Figure 5).

    Figure 6
    Figure 6

    The next step for your cover is to determine the width of your spine. Find the horizontal center of your layout and place a guide there. Now go back to the Book Calculator, get the value for the Gutter/Spine, and drag a guide half that value to each side of your center guide. For example, if your spine is 33 as in Figure 6, you will drag a guide to the left 16.5 points and another to the right 16.5 points. This will give you a correct spine guide centered on your layout (see Figure 6).

    Figure 7
    Figure 7

    If you are creating a Dust Jacket book cover, then you have one more layout adjustment to make. From the Book Calculator get the value of the Flaps and drag guides from each left and right Margin guide, not the edge of document (see Figure 7).

    Finish your design of your cover and save your file.

  4. Export your Inside Pages file and Cover file to Postscript.

    Figure 8
    Figure 8

    You now have two Quark files, one for the Cover and one for the Pages. Save the files and now we will get QuarkXPress® set-up to export a compliant PostScript file which we can have Adobe® Distiller® convert to a PDF/X-3 file for Blurb.

    • In QuarkXPress® select QuarkXPress->Preferences and select the PDF tab. In the PDF Workflow area on the right select the Create Postscript for Later Distilling button (see Figure 8).
    • The next step is to download the QuarkXPress® Export PDF Style.* Unzip the archive and import the Style into Quark by going to Edit->Output Styles.
    Figure 9
    Figure 9
    • Note: If you are not using QuarkXPress then just be sure that you export a PostScript file that embeds all fonts and images and does NOT include any bleed or registration marks (see Figure 9).
    • Click on the Import button, locate the downloaded Blurb_Qxp_PDF_ExportStyle, and click Save. You are now ready to export your postscript for Adobe Distiller.

    Open your Cover or Pages Quark file and select File->Export->Layout as PDF. In the PDF Style selection choose the installed Blurb PS Export Setting. Choose a location and name for your file designating Cover or Pages, but leave the .ps ending. Then click Save. Now you’re all set to create a PDF/X-3 for Blurb with the following Adobe Distiller Instructions.

    * Note: Export style only available for QuarkXPress 8.x. If using another version you can create your own style by following the settings shown at the end of this document.

  5. Adobe Distiller Instructions

    • Download and unzip the Blurb PDF/X-3 Export Preset.
    • Open the Adobe Distiller application and select Settings->Add Adobe PDF Settings and locate and choose the Blurb PDF/X-3 Export Preset.
    Figure 10
    Figure 10

    The only setting that you need to change on the Preset is for your particular Page Size. The Preset needs to be told exactly what your PDF Page size will be. This is the Blurb Final Expected PDF size you got from the Book Calculator when originally creating your document. In Distiller choose Settings->Edit Adobe PDF Settings and in the General tab enter your final page size into the Default Page Size area (see Figure 10).

    • Now go to File->Open and locate your PostScript file. A compliant PDF/X-3 file will be generated by Distiller ready to upload to Blurb.
    • Note: Do not forget to change your Default Page Size for each file.

I Don’t Have Adobe Distiller

Figure 11
Figure 11

If the above workflow cannot be used and you are using QuarkXpress 7+, you may try our secondary QuarkXpress Export Workflow below though it is not as reliable in creating compliant PDF/X-3 files as the above postscript to Distiiler workflow.

  • Follow Steps 1-3 in the above instructions to design your book.
  • Set the QuarkXPress for direct PDF/X-3 Export

    • In QuarkXPress® select QuarkXPress->Preferences and select the PDF tab. In the PDF Workflow area on the right select the Direct to PDF button (see Figure 11).
Figure 12
Figure 12
  • Download and install the Blurb Export PDF Style

    • The next step is to download the QuarkXPress® Export PDF Style. Unzip the archive and import the Style into Quark by going to Edit->Output Styles (see Figure 12).
    • Click on the Import button, locate the downloaded Blurb_Qxp_PDF_ExportStyle, and click Save.
    • Or you can create your own Export PDF Style following the settings shown at end of this document.
    • Open your Cover or Pages Quark file and select File->Export->Layout as PDF. In the PDF Style selection choose the installed Blurb Export Setting. Choose a location and name for your file designating Cover or Pages PDF. Then click Save.

These are the Settings for creating your own Blurb QuarkXPress Export Style for creating a PDF/X-3 file. Click the image below to progress through the setting screens:

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