Print file specifications

Providing files for book printing can be a challenge. There are quality requirements that the files need to meet for your book to look picture perfect! This page will provide you with all the information you need to deliver your files ready for printing. That will also save time in the final printing process. If you’re still struggling to format your files properly, we are always available to provide help and advice!


Photos and graphics

Adding in photos and graphics can be a fun, and sometimes necessary, way to spruce up your book. We recommend using images that are at least 300 dpi. That guarantees the photos will look their absolute best. Photos can start to look grainy and out of focus when the quality dips below 240 dpi. Do not use photos from the internet. They are often copyrighted and may be poor quality.

Setting up the bleed

If your book contains images that extend to the edge of the paper, it is important to add a bleed to the document. The bleed is an extra margin around the document so you don’t end up with white edges where they don’t belong once the covers and book blocks are cut. Images that extend to the edge of the page should also extend into the bleed area. We can provide a sample drawing for the cover so you know exactly how to set up the document. On interior pages, you can assume a 3 mm bleed. If you’d like more information on setting the bleed, please contact one of our printing experts.

Specific issues: stroke and overprint

If you are using lines in your layout, they should be at least 0.25 mm thick. If they are thinner, they may not show up in the printing process, and that’s something we certainly don’t want on our conscience. Another thing to keep in mind is overprint, a setting that can cause colors to look different. In InDesign, you can turn on ‘Overview Preprint’ under ‘Display’ settings. When you see the colors change, that means overprint is on. You can turn off overprint by going to the ‘Window’ menu in InDesign. Select ‘Output’ and then ‘Attributes’. The menu will have options for turning off both ‘Overprint Fill’ and/or ‘Overprint Stroke’. Mission accomplished!

Color recommendations | CMYK

If you submit a color print file, it must use CMYK color values. The file should not contain RGB colors (these are ‘screen colors’). For offset printing, you also need to make sure that the CMYK values of the total color print do not exceed 280%.

Color recommendations | Black

Is your book text-only? Then there’s a good chance that the inside will be printed entirely in black. Black text always reads best! Sometimes, however, the text looks black, but is in fact made up of color values. For the printer, it is very important that the text is 100% black. The same goes for line drawings, graphs, barcodes and QR codes. So it’s always a good idea to double check before submitting the files.

Color recommendations | Rich black

Rich black is composed of CMYK values: C 50 / M 40 / Y 40 / K 100. This composition makes the black look stronger. Because this particular black consists of four colors, a rich black print is considered a color print. Interior printing in rich black is uncommon, but it is often used on the cover. Text in fonts below 15 pt do not need to be printed in rich black.

Color recommendations | PMS

Sometimes a print is done in a PMS color, usually when something needs to be printed a special color set as part of a company style. A PMS color is a mixed ink, so it always gives the same color result (with negligible deviations). PMS colors can only be used in offset printing.

Submitting files in cPDF

Print files always need to be in PDF format. The best file format is cPDF (certified PDF). This means that it is a print-ready file. You can generate a cPDF from graphic programs like InDesign and Photoshop. Files formatted in Office programs such as Word and PowerPoint unfortunately cannot be saved as certified PDFs, so we don’t recommend finalizing the formatting for your book in Office programs.

If you do not have any graphic editing software, we recommend that you use a designer for the layout. Are you doing the work yourself but can’t seem to find the best solution? Don’t hesitate to call us! We can help point you in the right direction. You can also outsource the book layout to us: our design team has years of experience.

Crop marks & fold marks

Once the copy has been written, the images have been selected and the formatting is done, the files can be exported as PDFs. It’s also important to make sure that the print-ready document includes the crop marks, and any fold marks (e.g. on a cover with flaps). If you’re using InDesign, this is easy to do in the ‘Export PDF’ menu.

PDF export

When exporting a PDF from InDesign, it’s important to make sure the settings are correct. Follow the steps outlined below to make sure your file is print-ready. The settings are slightly different depending on whether the file is for a book cover or the interior pages (see step 2).

  1. In the ‘General’ tab, select ‘High Quality Print’.
  2. Choose ‘Export As Pages’ for a file containing interior pages.
  3. Choose ‘Export As Spreads’ for the cover.
  4. If ‘Optimize for Fast Web View’ is checked, turn it off.
  5. Go to the ‘Marks and Bleeds’ tab. Check the following options in this menu: ‘Crop marks’, ‘Use Document Bleed Settings’ and ‘Include Slug Area’ (this refers to the white space around the page).
  6. Enter the bleed at ‘Offset’. For example, if you set 3 mm. bleed in the document, then fill in the same under ‘Offset’. This ensures that the crop marks will be outside the bleed.
  7. Press ‘Export’ in the lower right corner of the menu to create the print-ready PDF.
  8. After you submit the files, we perform a thorough file check to make sure everything is finalized and ready for printing.


The New Energy Printing team is always ready to provide you with tips and advice – before you start formatting, during formatting, or when you’re finishing up your files and want to know the best way to finalize and submit them. Call +31 (0)347 779 407, e-mail us, send a carrier pigeon… whatever works for you!


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New Energy Printing


+1 (347) 354-1943



2324 Matthews Avenue,

Bronx, New York,

10467 United States

Opening hours

Mon – Fri: 08:30 AM – 05:30 PM
Sat – Sun: Closed