Formatting can be a very challenging part of the creation process. Below we will provide tips on how to format your documents for the best results during the printing process.


Upload an Appropriately Sized Source Document

The page size in your source PDF document determines the book size you can create. For example, if your PDF file is created with 8.5 x 11 in pages, you can only choose to create books in that size.

There are a few more settings to consider if your file includes full bleed images. This means images or printing that extends to the edge of the page. To learn more, take a look at this article on full bleed layout. You can also download the Lulu Book Creation Guide where you can learn about bleed areas, gutters, and safety margins.

For more information about book options and pricing, see our Pricing Calculator.

Set Document Pages to Portrait Orientation (NOT Landscape)

Print-on-demand printers tend to print landscape pages sideways, so even if you are creating a wide format book (9 x 7 in), the uploaded source document page orientation must be set to Portrait, with page dimensions defined with the width wider than the height. 

Double-Page Spreads

Lulu does not accept two-page spreads. Landscape or horizontal, images that you intend to spread across two pages must be split accordingly to print correctly.

Page Margins

Leave at least 0.5 in margins on all your pages. Most books will require a gutter of 0.2 - 0.3 in. The gutter is a book binding term for that part of the page that is glued in the book’s spine. Adding a gutter provides a little bit of extra margin on the spine edge of your pages, making your book easier to read without putting too much stress on the spine. For coil-bound books, the coils bite about 0.312 in (8 mm) on the spine edge, so we suggest a gutter of 0.375 in (9 mm).

Follow these directions to set your margins:

  • Microsoft Word: Go to File > Page Setup, then use the Margins tab to set page margins. When adding a gutter, select MirrorMargins. Apply the settings to the entire document.

  • OpenOffice: Go to Format > Page. To create a gutter, add the desired gutter to the inside margin dimension. Then for Layout Setting > Page Layout select Mirrored.

You may use any fonts you like, but you must embed the fonts in a print-ready PDF before uploading it to Lulu. For more information about PDFs and fonts, see How Do I Embed Fonts in a PDF?

Embed Your Graphics

Always embed all images and other graphics instead of linking (or referring) to them. This means insert the image into your document file. When you save the document, an embedded graphic becomes part of the document file.

When you save a document with a linked graphic, the document file only contains a pointer to the graphic file. As a result, the document file and graphic file remain separate. When you upload your PDF to Lulu, linked graphics do not upload.

Odd Numbered Pages Are On The Right

The first printed page of your book will be on the right-hand side, opposite the inside front cover.

Therefore, the odd-numbered pages in your print-ready PDF file will display on the right and even-numbered pages on the left side of an open book.

Page Breaks

When you want to start text on a new page, for example in a new chapter, use the Insert > Page Break function rather than repeatedly pressing the ENTER key until you get to the next page.

Pro Tip: If you are unsure whether you have inserted page or section breaks, click on the Pilcrow (¶) button in the toolbar to display your formatting marks. Hard returns (pressing ENTER) are displayed as ¶ while page breaks display as "---page break---."

I Need Help With Page Numbering

When creating your book, make sure that your title page falls on an odd-numbered page (on the right-hand side of your book) and the copyright page falls on an even-numbered page (on the left-hand side of your book). Here is a helpful resource for perfecting your page numbers in Microsoft Word.

Do I Include the Book Cover in the Same File As the Book’s Interior?

No. Your cover should be completely separate from your interior file. You will upload your cover file separately from the interior file. 

For more information on creating a cover, see our guides below:

Lulu only prints what you upload. You must design each page, including the title, copyright, table of contents, and index pages exactly as you would like them to appear in your book.

For more information regarding copyright, please visit Copyright: The Basics.

Why Are There Blank Pages at the Back of My Book?

Lulu's global network of printers produces books based on the best fit for the job in a given region of the world. Some of the factors that determine where your book will print are; book size, binding type, order quantity, page count, delivery destination, etc. Based on those factors, your book could end up with additional blank pages at the back of your book depending on where the order is fulfilled. It is not a mistake or a defect in workmanship or process, it is simply an aspect of a highly automated global book production network.

You can minimize the potential for extra blanks by keeping your page count divisible by 4 and do not add additional blank pages to your book file.

Distribution Requirements

You may offer any book for sale in the Lulu Bookstore, regardless of the book size or format. However, if you plan to offer your book for sale on other retail sites, it must comply with the Print Book Distribution Requirements provided by our retail partners.