Book Interior File Setup

We’ve spent a lot of time guiding clients on how to set up their files well. This guide will help you submit files like a pro whether you’re working with us, or with another print provider. You can even use this guide as general reference for most print file setups.

Do you have to use this guide?

We certainly recommend it. The great news is, if you spend the time now to figure this out, it’ll help save you time and money for almost any future print product. When it comes to setting up files for print, we strongly recommend using Adobe InDesign as it’s designed for print layout. We know most graphic designers are more comfortable with Photoshop or Illustrator but we promise that it’s worth the extra 5-10 minutes it’ll take to get used to working in InDesign. 

Getting Started on Basic File Setup

The elements on the right are critical in the success of your print project. We spend a lot of our time confirming these items so you can speed up the process by confirming these items before we do our double checks.

Bleeds consist of the area outside of te trim line that will get cut off, and while it ultimately gets removed it’s still important to the overall production of your product. As with any manufacturing product, there is movement from sheet-to-sheet so bleed helps eliminate this imperfection.

In InDesign, set your bleeds to .125″.

This is the area within the trim where any text, important parts of photos, logos, and other critical parts of your design should be kept, otherwise, it may get cut off. 

In InDesign, set the margins for book projects to .25″.

This is the final size of your book. 

In InDesign, put your desired final trim size in this section.

How Your Interior Page File Should NOT Look in Adobe InDesign

Here’s an example with a file not correctly set up. The final product will likely have thin white lines on the edges.

How Your Interior Page File Should Look in Adobe InDesign

Here’s an example with a file that is now correctly set up. The final product will likely have thin white lines on the edges.

Set up each page by adding pages within InDesign. 

Your Exported File

If your file was set up correctly, it’ll look similar to the example on the left below. You should not see any white borders in your final file. 

Now that you know the basics of file setup, take a look at our InDesign template below!

How to use our InDesign Interior Pages Template

Our indesign template will help get you started in creating a great file. Click here to download. 

We have built this template for you to set up your book files perfectly! Take a look at the steps on the left to get started.

A Master Page is a nonprinting page that you can use as the template for the rest of the pages in your document. Master pages can contain text and graphic elements that will appear on all pages of a publication (i.e. headers, footers, page numbers, etc.)

InDesign layers are document-wide. When you create a layer, it is available on every page in the document, including the master pages. When you hide or show a layer, all pages in the document are affected by this change.

Bleeds: the red line in your document. If you do not want white boarders, then make sure to place background art all the way to the red line.

Margins: the purple line in your document. Place critical artwork in this area that you do not want cut off. We’ve also added extra space in the spine area so that you can make sure your critical art is always easy to read.

Trim: This is the white area of the document. This is what your final document will look like after we trim it down. Press “w” on your keyboard to give a nice preview of your work.

Step 1 - Download and Open the Template

Our indesign template will help get you started in creating a great file. Click here to download. 

Step 2 - Familiarize but read the rest of this guide first.

Familiarize yourself with the layers, pages, master pages, and lines and then read the rest of this guide before making any adjustments.

Step 3 - Understand and adjust master pages if necessary.

Go to the “A-master page” in the page palette and set up page numbers or other elements that will be on each page. You can delete the elements we placed in this area.

Step 4 - Understand and modify the layers.

Look at the layers palette to see all binding reference layers. You can turn them on and off by pressing the eye icon. You can delete them as well using the icon on the lower right corner. When you’re ready to send a file, hide all layers except for your artwork. 

Step 5 - Look at the guides.

Bleeds: the red line in your document. If you do not want white boarders, then make sure to place background art all the way to the red line. 

Margins: the purple line in your document. Place critical artwork in this area that you do not want cut off. We’ve also added extra space in the spine area so that you can make sure your critical art is always easy  to read. 

Trim: This is the white area of the document. This is what your final document will look like after we trim it down. Press “w” on your keyboard to give a nice preview of your work.

Step 6 - Adjust the document size and you're ready to start book making!

Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with the different elements of the template, you’re ready to start working! Go to the document settings (“file”- “document setup”) and insert your final document width and height.  

Note: Once you change the size, much of the text in the guide will look wonky now which is normal. You can delete the reference layers so it doesn’t bother you.

Export the Print Ready File

Once you layout your artwork, export a print PDF. The elements on the right are the most critical.

  •  Use the “pages” setting. This is so that we get your file in single page format, and not spreads. In general, we do not print in spreads.
  • Do not check any of the boxes under “Marks” area in the ‘Marks and Bleeds tab.
  • Set bleeds to .125″.
You can download our InDesign export preset if you want easy access for the future. Click here to download the preset.
 
Here’s the tutorial on how to install a preset in InDesign. Click here to view. 
 

This is so that we get your file in single page format, and not spreads. In general, we do not print in spreads.

We’re able to set marks on our side so it’s best if you keep them off of your artwork. Export do not use marks.

This step is critical so that you don’t get thin white lines on your artwork.Bleed set to .125

PDF Export Settings

Once you layout your artwork, export a print PDF. The following settings are the most critical:

  •  Use the “pages” setting. This is so that we get your file in single page format, and not spreads. In general, we do not print in spreads.
  • Do not check any of the boxes under “Marks” area in the ‘Marks and Bleeds tab.
  • Set bleeds to .125″.
You can download our InDesign export preset if you want easy access for the future. Click here to download the preset.
 
Here’s the tutorial on how to install a preset in InDesign. Click here to view. 
 

Your Exported File

Once you export your file, it should look something like the example on the left below. If your document has a white border then the example on the right side is totally fine.

Cover File Setup

You may not need to set up a cover file. If your book does not need a spine created then most of the time we can just use the same setup as your interior pages.

If you do want more design control, or if your book does need spine art, then you may want to check out our guide.

Click here to go to our Book Cover Spine Calculator.

If you do want more design control, or if your book does need spine art, then you may want to check out our guide.

Click here to go to our Book Cover Spine Calculator.

No problem! You can either order your book online or you can start your quote request and upload your mockup by clicking here.

Order Perfect Bound Books Online

See a digital preview of your book and order anytime at our Nonstop Docs portal.

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