Quick Specifications for Digital PDF's

Digital Cover

Cover specs are the same as the interior specs for digital books, but placement of covers in a PDF is important for flow.

In a normally formatted PDF, it’s customary for the first page to be the front cover, and the last page to be the back cover. Alternatively, the back cover can be the second page.

We also recommend the cover and leading page(s) be numbered with Roman numerals so that the page numbering of the book matches the page numbering of the PDF file. This ensures when a PDF reader jumps to page 56 of the PDF, it is also page 56 of the book.

How to Number Digital PDF Pages

  • Open the Left Navigation Plane.
  • Open the Page Thumbnails panel and select the front cover and all pages before page 1 (hold shift key to select multiple pages.)
  • Open the Thumbnail menu and select Page Labels.
  • 1.png2.png
  • In the pop up window, choose Selected and Begin new section, under that set style to i, ii, iii... then click OK
  • 3.png
  • To number the rest of the book, click on page 1 and then hold down the shift key and select the last page of the book (this should select all but the pages with roman numbers).
  • Open the Thumbnail menu and select Page Labels as in step 3
  • Repeat step 4 except under the Style pull-down select 1, 2, 3,...

All other specifications for the cover are the same as the interior.


Interior Specs

The following are specifications that you should know when laying out Digital Interiors.

Resolution: 150 dpi

Color Space: RGB

Do not use JPEG2000 compression

Preferred file format: PDF (.pdf)

PDF Output Compliance: Do not use PDF/A


  • Do not use JPEG2000 compression at any point of file creation, even if that would help reduce your file size. Not all tablets and phones can display images compressed with JPEG2000 compression.
  • Turn off all transparency. This can also cause problems on tablets and phones.
  •  Do not use any Security settings in your digital edition export, PDF files must be unlocked. The ability to copy/paste or print the digital edition can be managed under the File Security settings in your Product File information when you upload the book. Any security settings imposed on your uploaded digital edition will hinder the automatic watermarking process during customer check-out.
  • To assist customers in identifying their files and organizing their libraries, please include metadata, such as title, author and keywords. In Adobe Acrobat, metadata can be entered from the File menu > Properties.
  • Use consistent file-naming conventions for digital files. An abbreviated prefix to identify the publishing partner and/or product line, followed by a short version of the book title for example: pub-ExampleTitle_v1.pdf Use file names containing alphanumeric with dashes or underscores to help make the file name more readable. Many non-alphanumeric characters are not compatible with all operating systems and are best avoided.
  • Files are more dynamic and user friendly when preflighted and optimized. Directions on how to do this are in this document.


Products can have more than one file associated with them. A few partners like to offer one PDF version in color for screen reading and a second PDF file with fewer graphic elements and in black and white for home printing.

Maps and counters can be provided as JPEGs. For customer convenience, large maps can consist of a JPEG of the full map and individual JPEGs of the map split into page-size pieces for printing. All of the map files can then be zipped into one file for easier delivery. If including JPEGs it's best to Zip them into one folder and upload the Zip folder and the PDF as separate files.

See our Digital Title FAQ for more details.

How to Level up Your Downloadable PDF

We highly recommend some things to make your Digital PDF user and platform friendly. 

  • File naming conventions (mentioned above)
  • Optical Character Recognition for scanned books so the text is searchable and can be Bookmarked and linked (see link below)
  • Correct Pagination so the book page numbers match the PDF page numbers (see digital cover section above)
  • Preflight and Optimization to make them platform friendly and reduce file size (see link below)
  • Bookmarked so that users can jump to what they are looking for (see link below)
  • Linking so that information can be cross referenced (no more page xx's) (see link below)

We have video tutorials for both Acrobat 9 and previous and for X and beyond, though some of the in between versions may have tools in different places, they should not be hard to find.

We have also have advanced video tutorials for Acrobat 9 and previous (in the same link above) for Layers, adding audio and video and creating interactive form fills. These tools are available in X and beyond as well, but the way to add these features changes between versions slightly, so it's best to do an internet search including the version of Acrobat you are using to find exactly what you need.

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