How to prepare a PDF for use as an eBook

Insights How to prepare a PDF for use as an eBook

The following is a list of best practice ideas and tips to create the best looking eBook possible. Naturally, we will help with the setup of your files but the following may be helpful to you.

1. Ideally create your PDF using an Adobe PDF tool. Some tools compress or optimise files with the result that the PDF is a flat image. The eReader, Kortext, needs to be able to distinguish the text and fonts to be able to allow highlighting and notes.

Please supply as a high resolution file – we will need to optimise for screen use but need to do this in a particular way to ensure optimum performance in Kortext.

PDF files from scans do not work since, whilst appearing on screen as text the file is actually a single image which Kortext cannot read. Even passing through OCR reader software doesn’t appear to work on most occasions either.

 2. Fonts – to allow presentation on screen the fonts must display characters in the ISO-8859-1 Latin-1 character set – for most European languages this is not an issue but it does bar Arabic, Japanese and Chinese characters. Also, some symbols such as the ® or © may not be displayed properly and will return the character �.

 3Page numbering 

Kortext will display the page number in the bottom of the eReader – to ensure the page numbering displayed, matches the page numbers in your file, remember that

  • Kortext will start to number the pages with the cover being page 1 – for those who use a common cover, you do not need to supply the cover each time but be aware of the page numbering when preparing the file
  • In an eBook blank pages can look odd – if the file was originally used for print, where blank pages are appropriate, then remember if removed the page numbering sequence will be thrown out.

4. The Cover

The cover will appear in the book shelf of Kortext as a relatively small image on screen. It is good practise to make the cover big and bold – a cover with a single line of text may not be readable.

5. Table of Contents

  • All eBooks require a table of contents for navigation, ideally placed at the front of the book straight after the cover.
  • If you know how to book mark the table of contest great – but we will do this as a matter of course during file set up.
  • The level of detail in the table of contents is up to you – but multi-level complex tables tend confuse navigation rather than help.

 6Design of Content

  • Colour does not cost! Unlike printing there is no cost to adding colour to images.
  • PowerPoint slides do not need to be presented as multiple slides per page. There is no cost benefit and the slides look better as one slide per page in landscape.
  • When printing a manual space is often given under slides and elsewhere for the writing of notes - this may not be necessary since the notetaking in Kortext places the notes in a separate area for ease of navigation of notes
  • If your design has a high resolution watermark which appears on every page there is a danger that this will slow the eBook down. In a PDF file the PDF reader creates the watermark once and then overlays the text as you move from page to page. Kortext will load the watermark each time – slowing the reading experience.
By: Karen Walker