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How to create and self publish a print book with a lot of images and pictures
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Exporting proof PDF files

Assorted Books Illustration by Brett EngleBy this point you should have 1 InDesign document containing all the inside pages of your book, as well as 1 InDesign document with your front cover, back cover, and spine.

These two documents probably have dozens or even hundreds of images linked into them, and some computers struggle to display the pages at high resolution, making it difficult to review and proofread your work. The best solution is to export a PDF (Portable Document Format) of your InDesign document. PDFs are an all-in-one file format that is easy for most people to open, and they will show you a clear view of what your layouts look like.

When you are ready, you may want to send a PDF of your book to other people who can proofread it and suggest edits. You probably shouldn't send your book to someone unless you trust them and feel comfortable with them viewing it before it is finished.

We will be preparing 1 PDF proof of your interior pages and 1 PDF proof of your cover.
The process for creating both PDFs is the same. Follow the directions below for both of your layout documents to export them to PDF format. This process will not destroy or alter your original InDesign layout document, only create a new PDF document.

With the desired file open in Adobe InDesign, select "File > Export". A window will pop up prompting you to name your file and pick the location to save it on your computer. At the bottom of the window select "Format: Adobe PDF (Print)" if it is not already selected. Click the "Save" button.

Support the author and download this entire guide ad free. Only 99 cents for the PDF. Click here! The next window that pops up will allow you to control the settings that create your PDF. There is a lot of power in this window if you poke around.

From the list of Adobe PDF Presets, select "[Smallest File Size]".
Make sure "Pages" has "All" selected.
Also make sure "Spreads" is not selected.
Make sure the "View PDF after Exporting" box is checked.
Click the "Export" button.
The PDF will be saved to your files and then open.
Review the PDF to be sure all elements on all pages look how you intended. If things don't look right, you will need to troubleshoot the issue in InDesign and export a new PDF file.

If you find the PDF that is exported is not high enough quality (looks blurry), export a new PDF with increased image quality.
Follow the steps above but before clicking the "Export" button, click on "Compression" in the list on the left side of the window. New choices will appear in the right panel of the window. Change both "Image Quality" options to a higher setting like "Medium" or "High". You may need to export several PDFs to get the quality desired. You can replace and save over the last PDF until you are satisfied.

If your PDFs are very large in file size, they may be too many megabytes to email.
Use the compression window as instructed above to reduce your PDFs image quality and it will reduce your file size. Consult your email service to determine what their file size limitations are, or consider using a basic (but secure) file sharing service like Google Drive or Hightail (formerly YouSendIt).

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