Print file specifications

Providing files for printing a book can be a challenge. These files need to meet certain quality standards to ensure your book looks perfect! On this page, we provide information on how to deliver your files so they are print-ready. This will also save time in the final printing process. If you still have trouble getting the files properly formatted, we are here to help and offer advice!


Photos and graphics

Including photos and graphics can be a great and sometimes necessary way to enhance your book. We recommend using images with a resolution of at least 300 dpi to ensure they look their best. Images below 240 dpi may appear grainy and blurry. Avoid using photos from the internet, as they are often copyrighted and may be of low quality.

Setting up the bleed

If your book contains images that extend to the edge of the paper, it’s important to add bleed to the document. Bleed is an extra margin around the document, ensuring that no white edges appear where they shouldn’t when the covers and book blocks are trimmed. Images extending to the edge of the page should also extend into the bleed area. For the cover, we can provide a template to help you set up the document correctly. For the interior pages, use a bleed of 3 mm/8.5 points. If you need more information on setting up bleed, please contact one of our print experts.

Specific issues: line thickness and overprint

When using lines in your layout, it is important that they are at least 0,25 mm/0.25 points thick. Thinner lines may disappear during printing, and we certainly don’t want that to happen. If you are using a special finish like foil stamping, the minimum line thickness should be 0,4 mm/0.5 points. Another point of attention is overprint, a setting that can cause color variations. In InDesign, you can enable ‘Overprint Preview’ under ‘View’. If you see the colors change, overprint is enabled. To turn off overprint: in InDesign, go to the ‘Window’ menu. Select ‘Output’ and then ‘Attributes’. In this menu, you can uncheck ‘Overprint Fill’ and/or ‘Overprint Stroke’. Mission accomplished!


If you use transparency, it is important that it is flattened. If not, the printer may not process it correctly. Therefore, it’s essential to flatten transparency in your files. Here’s how to do it when exporting in InDesign:

    • In the Adobe PDF Preset, select [PDF/X-1a:2001].
    • Click on Standard > PDF/X-1a:2001.
    • Go to the General tab and check if Pages or Spreads is selected—use ‘Spreads’ for the cover and ‘Pages’ for the interior.
    • Go to the Marks and Bleeds tab. Ensure that the crop marks are enabled and that the Offset is outside the bleed area.
    • Select Use Document Bleed Settings, and you are ready to export.

If you are using transparency in your file and want to export it to PDF, go to File > Adobe PDF Presets > Flatten Transparency.

Color recommendations | CMYK

When you submit a print file in color, it must be composed of CMYK color values. The file should not contain any RGB colors (as these are ‘screen colors’). For offset printing, the total ink coverage in terms of CMYK values should not exceed 280%.

Color recommendations | Deep Black

Deep black is composed of CMYK values: C 50 / M 40 / Y 40 / K 100. This composition gives the black a powerful appearance. Since this black is made up of four colors, printing in deep black is considered color printing. It is not common to use deep black for the inner pages, but it is often used for the cover.

Color recommendations | Black and White

Is your book composed solely of text? Then there’s a good chance that the interior is entirely set in black. Black text is always the easiest to read! However, sometimes the text appears black but is actually made up of color values. For the printer, it is crucial that text is composed of 100% black. The color values should be: C 0 / M 0 / Y 0 / K 100. The same applies to line drawings, graphs, barcodes, and QR codes. Therefore, it is always a good idea to double check before submitting the files.

Color recommendations | PMS

Sometimes a PMS color is chosen. This usually happens when it is a brand color. A PMS color is a mixed ink that always provides the same color result (with minimal variations possible). The use of a PMS color is only possible with offset printing.\

Color profiles

To ensure your files are printed in the desired colors, it’s important to apply the correct color profile to your files. This can be done in your layout program when exporting your document to PDF. The color profile to use depends on the type of paper on which the file will be printed, especially whether it is matte or glossy paper.

  • A suitable color profile for MATTE paper is: Uncoated FOGRA29 (ISO 12647-2:2004)
  • A suitable color profile for SILK or GLOSSY paper is: Coated FOGRA39 (ISO 12647-2:2004)

Spine text

If you place text of your book on the spine of the cover, make sure the text is always at least 2 mm/0,08 inches away from the edge of the spine. This margin is necessary to ensure that the spine text does not come too close to the edge of the spine.


UV Spot is a special finishing technique for covers: a transparent coating layer that allows you to accentuate elements on your book cover and create a nice contrast, especially when applied to a dark background. A UV spot should always be designed at the same size as the cover and submitted as a PDF. Elements you want to “spot” should be solid vector shapes and designed in 100% black.

Foil Stamping

Another special finishing technique for a cover is foil stamping. Foil is available in matte and gloss finishes and in various colors. It can add that extra touch to make your book stand out! Popular foil types include gold and silver. It is often used to accentuate certain words or images. For example, you can choose to have the title of your book stamped in foil. But other “stand-alone” elements on the cover can also be foil stamped. We are happy to provide you with advice on this. A foil stamping file should always be designed at the same size as the cover and submitted as a PDF. Elements you want to be foil stamped should be solid vector shapes and designed in 100% black.


Embossing is a raised area on your cover, creating a relief effect. There are two different types of embossing. A deboss is pressed into the cover, creating a depression. With a boss, it’s the opposite: the embossed area protrudes from the cover. For a hardcover book, only a deboss can be used. For a softcover, both a deboss and a boss are possible.


Endpapers are the sheets glued to the inside of the cover in hardcover books. This is done on both the front and back of your book, providing additional strength. Typically, endpapers are white, but you can also choose to have them printed or use colored paper (so one solid color for all endpaper pages), which can make the book more visually appealing. An endpaper consists of four pages, or two spreads. Of those four pages, three can be printed if desired, with the other page being glued to the cover. You can provide the endpaper pages separately (not as spreads): this means a file of four pages for one endpaper, with one page remaining blank. Another option is to choose colored paper for your endpapers. We can provide information on colored paper options available for this purpose. Feel free to contact us if you’d like further advice on this.

Wire-O Binding

f you’ve opted for a Wire-O binding, you need to consider where the holes for the wire binding (punch) will be placed. The punch is located on the long side, with odd-numbered pages on the left and even-numbered pages on the right. Ensure a distance of 0.47 to 0.59 inches/12-15 mm from the edge so that the printing does not interfere with the punch.

Submitting files in cPDF

Print files should always be submitted in PDF format. The best file format to submit is cPDF (certified PDF), which means it’s print-ready. You can generate a cPDF from graphic design software such as InDesign and Photoshop. Unfortunately, files created in Office programs like Word and PowerPoint cannot be saved as certified PDFs. Therefore, we advise against completing the layout of your book in Office programs.

If you don’t have graphic design software yourself, we recommend hiring a designer for layout. If you’ve started on your own and run into issues, don’t hesitate to give us a call so we can assist you! If you prefer to fully outsource the layout of the book, we offer this service: our designer has extensive experience in this area.

Crop Marks & Fold Marks

Once the text is written, the images selected, and the layout completed, the files can be exported as PDF. It’s important to include crop marks, and if applicable, fold marks (for example, in a cover with flaps), in the print-ready document. This can be easily done from InDesign through the “Export to PDF” menu.

PDF export

When exporting a PDF from InDesign, it’s important to ensure that the settings are correct. Below are instructions to achieve the best results for a print-ready file. The settings for a cover file and an interior file differ slightly (see step 3).

1. Under Adobe PDF Preset: [PDF/X-1a:2001]
2. Click on Standard > PDF/X-1a:2001
3. Go to the General tab and check if Pages or Spreads is selected – choose ‘Spreads’ for the cover and ‘Pages’ for the interior
4. Now, go to Marks and Bleed. Ensure that Crop Marks are enabled and set the ‘Offset’ to outside the bleed area
5. Select ‘Use Document Bleed Settings’, and you’re ready to export!
6. Click ‘Export’ at the bottom right of the menu to create the print-ready PDF file
7. After you’ve submitted the files, we’ll conduct a thorough file check to ensure everything is indeed 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!


Send us the specifications of your book and we will make sure that you receive a tailor-made price quote.

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New Energy Printing


+31 (0)347 779407



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