How to Create an E-PDF    

PDF Submissions: How to Create an E-PDF


If you do not wish to have IPG convert your print-ready PDF into an e-book PDF, you can do that conversion work yourself, or with the assistance of your designers.  Please note that there is not just one way to do e-book PDF preparation work. In fact, the programs capable of doing this work are so numerous—and so omnipresent—that creating a step-by-step guide is all but impossible. No one’s version of Adobe Acrobat looks just the same as someone else’s.  In general, try to find a recent version of Adobe Acrobat for the project. Version 10 or later is best. Adobe Reader, which is free, is not up to the task, unfortunately.  You can see an example of a completed e-book PDF here. 

Of course, along with these guidelines, you will need to ensure that your completed PDF conforms to the general requirements  for all PDF submissions as well.

Creating the Table of Contents (TOC)

Figure 1: The TOC in a completed e-book PDF

  • The PDF TOC should mirror the original book’s TOC, and match any parent-child hierarchies.  You can nest sub chapters up to three deep. A table of contents can be created in Acrobat using the “Bookmarks” area. For information on how to create bookmarks, click here. 
  • The PDF TOC must also be hyperlinked. For example, when you are reading the TOC within the e-pdf, it must be possible to click on the sections of that TOC and jump directly to the page where that section begins. For information on how to add hyperlinks to your PDFs, click here.
  • Cover image, title page, copyright page, and Table of Contents should all be bookmarked, in addition to all TOC entries.
  • Provide a unique Page Label for every page, including front matter (CIP and all title pages), specialty sections (such as photo and/or plate sections), parts, chapters, end matter (indices, appendices, etc.), and blank pages. See Figure 1, right, for an example of a complete TOC.
  • Each Page Label MUST match the page number represented on the page. If there is a mismatch, go back to page 1—there is probably something wrong with the way your front content has been numbered. See figure 2, below, or go  here  for more information on page numbering. 


 Figure 2: Note how Adobe Acrobat's idea of the page number (top left) matches the page number indicated within the document (bottom right).



  • Pages MUST be cropped and free of registration and/or printer marks. See figure 3 at right. Instructions on removing crop marks are available here and here.
  • Pages MUST be consistently sized. For example, if the cover page is 5.00 x 7.00, all other pages must be as well. Make sure you pick the size that matches the dimensions for your title, and then be sure all pages match that dimension. NOTE: After cropping out registration and printer marks, your pages may shrink slightly. This is not a problem for an e-book PDF as long as each page has been shrunken to the same height and width. Adobe’s built-in cropping tools make it easy to ensure that all deletions affect the total page width identically.


Image size recommendations:


Line Art

Leave as original

Optional compression


150 dpi

Minimum: 72 dpi


150 dpi

Minimum: 72 dpi


300 dpi

Minimum: 72 dpi

Figure 3: Common printer marks on a standard print-ready PDF.

The following websites may be helpful when preparing your PDFs for sale as e-books:



Adding Bookmarks to PDF


Adding Links to PDF (2)


Inserting and Deleting Pages in PDF


Embedding Fonts in PDF (2)


Cropping Pages in PDF (2)


Numbering Pages in PDF

PDF Submissions: General Requirements

 In order for IPG to successfully distribute your PDFs to vendors, you must provide us with files that fill the following requirements. Note: these requirements are for everyone; not just for those that wish to create e-book PDFs on their own. While these requirements can be met without extensive formal training, it is highly recommended that this document reach your designers. They should be able to provide what is necessary with ease.

  • PDF version 1.6 or later, created with Adobe Acrobat version 4.0 (minimum) or higher.
  • PDFs created with third party plug-ins that embeds fonts, built-in PDF writers, scripts, and other creation methods MUST match all other requirements.  For example, if you create a document in Microsoft Word, then use an “Export to PDF” function, the PDF that is created must conform to the other bullets indicated in this document.
  •  Front cover must be the first page of the PDF.
  • Use Standard fonts in the Table of Contents  (TOC).  Use Western European and Unicode 8 character entities and encoding to ensure the original TOC converts to your e-book formats.
  • All fonts MUST be embedded as complete sets. Subset fonts, while acceptable, limit the editing capabilities within the PDF. Click  here for more information about embedded font sets. If you need general information about embedded fonts, click here.
  • All text MUST be captured in order for the PDF to be full-text searchable online. If all or part of your PDF was created from hardcopy scans, you must capture the text, using an optical character recognition (OCR) program.
  • All text MUST be available for search, copy, and paste.
  • Do NOT use custom fonts because they can contain unsupported encoding.
  • Submit files free of encryption, password protection, or any security features applied in Acrobat.