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If you want to export an e-book, a brochure or another type of publication from Adobe Indesign into a PDF format, you should consider how this PDF file will be consumed by the reader.

The following example shows you why. In order to keep myself fit and healthy, I spend a few evenings per week in the gym and read newsletters, e-books or other articles on my iPad while crosstraining. In this case, I wanted to read an e-book on content marketing:

content marketing e-book

As this content was promoted as an e-book, the producer of the e-book should have taken into account that this PDF file would be consumed digitally, on a computer screen or a mobile device.

content marketing e-book print export

As you can see, the e-book was exported so that several PDF pages are visible at once. This e-book PDF was exported as spreads, so one PDF page does not equal one display page on the tablet. This made it very difficult to read this e-book as I constantly had to manually zoom in and out - on every single page!

As this e-book had approx. 30 pages, you can maybe imagine how nerve-wracking it was to consume this content. The reading flow was so impaired that many people would probably not finish reading this e-book. What a shame.

The solution: correctly export PDF files!



If an e-book or a PDF file is intended for digital reading (on a computer or mobile device), I recommend to export it as separate pages. This is how to do it (Adobe Indesign):

exporting a pdf as single pages

File (Datei) - Adobe PDF Presets (Adobe PDF-Vorgaben) - High Quality Print (Qualitativ hochwertiger Druck) (or another preset)

save (speichern)

select Pages (Seiten)

export (exportieren)

export pdf as pages

By the way, I recommend to activate the command View PDF After Exporting (PDF nach Export anzeigen) so the PDF file automatically opens up right after the export, so you can check everything again.

The end result is a PDF file that is displayed perfectly for digital reading. One PDF page equals one page on the iPad:

content marketing e-book pages export



If a PDF file shall be read in printed format (i.e. book, brochure, magazine layout design), I recommend to export it as spread. This is how you do it (Adobe Indesign):

export pdf as spread

File (Datei) - Adobe PDF Presets (Adobe PDF-Vorgaben) - High Quality Print (Qualitativ hochwertiger Druck) (or another preset)

save (speichern)

select Spread (Druckbögen)

export (exportieren)

export pdf file as spreadsheet

Attention though: Different printing companies work with different printing presets that should be taken into account during the export! If you want to export a PDF file for print purpose, always speak with your printer upfront to make sure you use the correct PDF presets.

You can also download this article as a free whitepaper.

Get another Indesign tutorial on overprinting white text by clicking here.

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