Preparing a PDF for publication, DPI is off - help!

I’m helping a friend of mine prepare his autobiography for publication via Amazon’s This is definitely a labor of love for him, and he’s very anxious to get it going. He’s an older guy, and not very computer literate, so I volunteered to move the story from the web site where he’s meticulously typed it in to a PDF that CreateSpace can work with.

He’s submitted the PDF twice, and both times, they’ve come back and said the pictures aren’t high enough quality for them. They claim they are coming through at 71-96 DPI, and they want 300 DPI.

The first time, I figured it was my fault - I copied and pasted his text and pictures from the website into MS Word, and created the PDF using Bullzip. I figured that something got lost with the cut & paste.

So I had him send me all the picture files. I pulled them into photoshop, and converted them all to 300 dpi. I then re-inserted them into Word, and created the PDF. I made sure to set the PDF settings to 300 DPI.

CreateSpace again refused the PDF, saying again the pictures weren’t high enough quality.

So what’s going on? I admit I’m at the end of my desktop publishing knowledge. I can’t even figure out how to find any software that will analyze the PDF for me and tell me what DPI the pictures are.

What am I doing wrong?

Did you just up the resolution on the images you were sent? Because you can’t add information to an image. Upping the res will just make the file bigger and the image blurry or bitmapped.

OR, when you pull the images (at 300dpi) into your word document, are you scaling them up from their original size? Because that will reduce the image resolution, i.e. if an A5 300 dpi image is then reproduced at A4 in your Word document, you’re basically reducing the file back down to 200dpi.

Aside from that, I wonder if Word is condensing the file when you pdf it. I’m afraid I don’t know enough about Word to work it out for you though.

Supposedly the files were scanned at 300 dpi. In Photoshop, I changed the pixels-per-inch to 300. My few minutes of Internet research led me to believe that ppi/dpi were close enough to the same thing that I was at least in the same realm. Yes, I’m an idiot about this stuff.

Of course, making them 300 dpi made the files huge. Which was fine. When I pulled them into Word, they didn’t require re-sizing, though. So in that sense, I didn’t muck with them.

I, too, suspect Word is doing something weird.

There is also the chance that the Old Dude isn’t understanding something quite right. He’s actually a joy to work with - much brighter than many younger, more computer-literate people I deal with - but he knows even less than I do about all this and it’s possible he’s not reading the emails correctly. I’ve asked him to send copies, we’ll see what they say.

Hang on, if making them 300dpi is making them ‘huge’ then you’re adding information to them. What resolution are they before you change the res? When you change the resolution, you need to make sure that under ‘Image Size’ you have unchecked the ‘Resample image’ box. This essentially means that if you up the res, the image will scale down in proportion, so it retains its quality but needs to be used at a smaller size. Make sense?
(oh and, yes, ppi and dpi are essentially the same thing for your purposes).

I’m pretty sure I unchecked that box.

But this just in: Old Dude is indeed a bit confused, he reports now that he was looking at an old email. So maybe we don’t have a problem. <whew> We’ll see.

Do you have any other way to do this than Word? Do you have access to a publishing application (which Word is not)?

Are the pictures in among the text, or are they on pages by themselves? If the latter, you should consider PDFing them from Photoshop, then stitching them into the PDF with the text. It’s easy to do in Acrobat, and I"m sure most other PDF editors.

Unfortunately I don’t have a PDF editor.

Before I volunteered to help the guy, he’d just been writing his life story into a blog area on a forum he frequents. He doesn’t even know about Word, much less a DTP program, but he did put a lot of work into the story and he wants to make it available to others. Thus the Amazon printing thing. He had no clue how to get it from the web to a PDF, and that’s where I volunteered to help.

I had assumed it would be as easy as cutting & pasting from the web and printing to a PDF, but the picture thing has put a hitch in it. There’s nothing fancy with the pictures - they’re not even inline, just on the page - but there’s quite a few of them.

Are you sure you don’t have InDesign, if you have Photoshop? It’s come with Creative Suite since 2003. I suppose you’d probably know if you did.

I’ve just installed the Free version of Bullzip - I placed 300dpi images into Word 2003 and printed with Bullzip.

On the first screen (Layout Tab) I clicked Advanced and made sure Print Quality was set to 300dpi. Then OK’d and OK’d, and on the following window (Document Tab) the Quality was set to PREPRESS. On the IMAGE tab I couldn’t do anything(maybe because I had the free license), and the grayed out info read 150dpi… I printed anyway.

I checked my PDF in Acrobat, and Edited the images directly from Acrobat in Photoshop… All images were at or above 300dpi.

So everything seemed fine. If you still have an issue, send me the word file and I’ll PDF it using Acrobat.

PS… Although I hate Word for any layout stuff I do, I don’t believe in this case Word is faulty.

Another vote for InDesign, or Quark if you have it. I would never use Word for such a thing.

And I’m a little troubled by your statement that 300dpi makes the files “huge.” Weren’t they already 300dpi? And could this be a file size (ppi) vs. output size (dpi) issue . . . that is, could the images be 300ppi, and set to print at 72dpi?

I have an old copy of PhotoShop (CS2). BUT… hubby has the latest on his machine. So if worse comes to worse, I bet he’s got it!

What is InDesign? A DTP App?

Cool, that’s more or less what I did. I think I chose “Print” instead of “Prepress.” If it comes back from Amazon as faulty maybe I can try that setting.

I think the first time that I cut & paste the images from the web, they came through as a lower quality. Once I actually inserted the files, the PDF got bigger.

And yeah, I’d rather use InDesign or Quark… but I know and own Word, I thought this was going to be a very quick process, and heck if I’m going to spend the $$ to buy Quark or InDesign and take the time to learn them (though I sorta know Quark) just to make a PDF as a favor for someone.

Yes. A DTP software from Adobe.

Hope it helps… if not, my offer still stands. And Print is generally about 200dpi, so that should have been good enough.

Stay with it… I use InDesign for a living, and if I can get away with PDFing directly out of Word, I do.