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Produced and compiled by Kyle Pressley

Edited by Ruth Ann Jones


Erica Ervin

MSU Main Library

100 Main Library

East Lansing, MI 48824 January 2012 Printed on the EBM@MSU


Introduction to Technical Guidelines

Technical Guidelines



File Submission

Tips & Tricks

Book Standards

Book Sections

Frequently Asked Questions

Take Some Notes


To print your book, you will need to submit two files for in PDF form. One file will contain the bookblock (the interior pages) and one will contain the cover of your book.

These files will need to be print-ready, meaning that all of your writing, editing, and formatting is finished. Your book will be printed exactly as it appears in your PDF. Only the cover is printed in color. The interior bookblock is printed in black and white only.

Please read and follow these guidelines carefully as this will ensure a seamless and timely print.




The bookblock is your content, the interior pages of your book.

This is where you tell your story, arrange your recipes, combine all of your poetry into a collection — it can be anything you want it to be. All of the components — pages full of text and images and blank pages — will be found in this single PDF.

Let’s get a few definitions out of the way before you dive in:

Page count - The length of your book: this means each individual page of your PDF file, blank pages included.

Margin - The distance of blank space from the edge of the page to the edge of your content.

Bleed - The “cushion” area past the edges of your pages that content (images or graphics) can extend to. This is used to force graphics to extend to the very edge of the page.

Front matter - Anything included in your bookblock that comes before your content. This includes a title page, copyright page, acknowledgments, any blank pages, etc.

Core matter - The chunk of book from where page one of your content begins until the last numbered page ends.

Back matter - Anything included in the bookblock following your core matter. This can include the afterward, about the authors, bibliography, etc.

Trim size - The final size of your book (width x height).

–  –  –


The bookblock must adhear to these requirements to print properly. The block prints double sided on 8.5” x 11” paper — one PDF page per one side of paper.

*If you would like your book to print single sided, you will have to insert blank PDF pages between each content-filled page to create this effect.

The bookblock can only be printed in black and white. If you have a few pages that you would like to see in color (photo pages, charts that require color accuracy, etc.) we can add color inserts for an additional fee. Please mention this to the EBM Coordinator during your initial consultation).


Minimum: 40 pages Maximum: 800 pages To determine your page count, open your PDF document. The tool bar of your program will tell you the count. Each page (including blank pages) counts toward this number.


There is a relationship between trim size and page length. The way the book prints in the EBM causes your maximum trim size to decrease with the increase in number of pages. The loss in size is minimal and won’t be a factor in most book printings, only books that have been formatted at larger page sizes will have to adjust.

Minimum trim size: 4.5” x 5” Maximum trim size: 8” x 10.5”

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When formatting your pages for trim size, do not include crop or registration marks — the machine knows where to trim the book based on the files you’ve submitted.

Books don’t have to be any of the specific sizes listed, they can be any size between the minimum and maximum sizes.

The following pages detail how to set these sizes in your original document.



The page size specified in your PDF file should be the same as the intended trim size for your final book.

It is best to create your original document at this size — when typing your book or arranging your pages, set the document size to your intended trim size.

To do this, follow these steps:


Click File, then Page Setup, and alter the page size to match your desired trim size. This screen shot shows Word 2010 — refer to the help section of your specific Word version.


The cover has a few limitations to keep in mind as you consider and execute your design.

» Nothing can print on the interior of the cover — the inkjet used to print the cover does not support duplex printing.

» Save your cover formatting for last. The length of your book affects what the final trim size can be. After you’ve determined the final page count of your book, you’ll be able to calculate the spine size and the maximum trim size.


The width of your book’s spine depends on the length of your book and the thickness of the paper used to print your bookblock.

In order to determine this size, use this simple formula.

Page Count ÷ Pages per inch = Spine width Pages per inch (or PPI) is a constant number determined by the EBM staff. Our standard paper has a PPI of 434.

So, as an example, a book with a length of 250 pages would have

a width of:

250 pages ÷ 434 PPI =.5187 inches Please use as many numbers after the decimal point as possible.

This will make the alignment of your cover much more precise.

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If you are scanning images to place in your cover, make sure they are at a resolution of at least 300dpi (dots per inch). This will ensure they print in a clean and crisp manner.

Many scanners allow higher resolution scans (up to 600dpi), but this will greatly increase your file size. Usually the higher resolution is imperceptible in printing. For this reason we recommend scanning at 300dpi.


While we cannot guarantee an exact match between the color you see on your screen and the color that prints on the EBM, we can take a few steps to ensure it is as close as possible.

You’ll be able to view your cover on the staff’s computer screen to ensure its color accuracy - the monitor used by the staff is set up to be very close in color quality and saturation to what is printed from the EBM’s cover printer.

If you are using InDesign, please design your cover in CYMK mode. This will ensure the most accurate reproduction when printing your color. Other programs used to create cover images do not require this setting to be checked.

Books to assist you with this are located in the Reserves section of the Main Library.



When submitting your files for print, please format the PDF documents according to the following guidelines.

Using Microsoft Word to create your PDF documents requires a few steps. There are books located in the Reserves section of the Main Library to assist you with this process.

In order to create a PDF on your computer that is compatible with the EBM, you must have Adobe Reader installed. It is

available as a free download. Visit:

http://www.adobe.com/products/reader.html You will need to save the PDF with the preset of “High Quality Print.” This option is only available when you follow the “Print to PDF” option in Microsoft Word.

–  –  –

1. Click File, then Print.

2. On the bottom left of the Print window is a PDF button. Click this to open a drop down menu.

3. Click “Save as Adobe PDF”

4. Select “High Quality Print” from the list of available presets.

5. Click Continue

6. Continue through the rest of the saving options as you would when saving any other file.


1. Click File, then Print.

2. From the list of available printers select Adobe PDF.

3. Click Properties

4. Select “High Quality Print” from the list of available presets.

5. Click OK

6. Make sure the “Print to File” box is selected on the Print window, then click print.


We suggest opening your PDF documents on another computer to ensure they’ve exported correctly.

Check for font accuracy, color accuracy, and graphical aspects.

If these components, or any others, of your files seem to appear incorrect on another machine, it is very likely the document will print incorrectly on the EBM.

If the fonts are not embedded or graphics appear to be incorrect, return to the PDF exportation settings to ensure all fonts are embedded and the proper PDF standard has been selected (High Quality Print). If you are unsure of how to do this, please mention this when submitting your files for basic set-up.


Your files must be submitted in PDF form either over the internet or in person. These procedures will be discussed in your initial consultation.





The settings in this section of the book are all optional, but when used consistently throughout your book make the reader more comfortable and familiar with each page.

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Most books have trim sizes of somewhere in between 5” x 7” and 6” x 9”. The EBM can print anything between 4.5” x 5” and 8” x 10.5”, though. You may choose any size you desire between these two extremes.

Most fiction books fall in the smaller ranges; most non-fiction books (conference proceedings, course packs, etc.) fall in the larger range.



Utilizing a variety of fonts can give your book character and set it apart from others. Try limiting your font choices to two or three styles. Any more than this and your reader may become confused.

There are two basic font categories: serif and sans serif.

SERIF Serif fonts are much easier to read for long periods of time. The font family is distinguished by the “caps” at the ends of each letter’s stroke.

Examples of serif fonts include:

–  –  –


Sans serif fonts can look much more clean and more modern when used in conjunction with serif fonts. This family is characterized by its lack of “caps” at the ends of each stroke. They are much harder to read over extended periods of time.

Examples of sans serif fonts include:

–  –  –

Most word processing programs measure font size in “points.” To get an idea of what a “point” or “pt” is, a 72pt font is 1 inch tall.

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