Word, PDF, RGB, CMYK problems for a new self publishing author - Help Please

rshome123

Member
Hello,

I have a problem which I need expert help with - regarding Word, Photos, PDF, and RGB / CSYV colour spaces.

As a complete publishing novice, but with reasonably good technical knowledge of windows, I’ve dipped my toe into the world of self-publishing, and have recently published a Kindle eBook on Indian cooking. I produced the book in Microsoft Word and used Amazon’s upload converter to get it in the final kindle format. All good so far.

I had always planned to follow the eBook up with a paperback version, and I had naively assumed that getting the Word doc formatted up nicely then exporting to PDF would be all that a potential printer would need to produce a professional looking book.

Having met with a couple of printers recently, I was very alarmed to learn about the difference in the way photos appear when printed versus viewed on screen. The printers stressed they need a pdf file in CMYK colour space, and that any content originating from Word would always have been created as RGB.

With over 60 high quality photos of curry in the word document, I need to know the optimal way to end up with a PDF file suitable for a good quality print. It’s further complicated that I originally edited each photo in PowerPoint to add a fancy graphic caption and an embossed border, before saving as JPG. By the way, loss of resolution wasn’t an issue for me because the kindle ebook needed to have smaller size photos to save costs from Amazon.

Bear with me. I DO have the original JPG photos, which were originally taken with my iPhone 8 Plus, but of course they do not have the fancy font captions or the embossing (no big problem - I can work around that if I have to). Windows File Properties (detail tab) inform me that the original images are have ‘uncalibrated’ Colour representation (I assume this is a good thing).

So, I’ve been wracking my brain about this, and even started a trial of Adobe InDesign to evaluate how much work would be needed to completely rebuild the book. My conclusion is that the learning curve would be too steep and painful, not to mention expensive. I also do not want to spend hundreds of pounds paying a professional to sort it all out.

In conclusion, my question. HELLLPPPP... I want to keep editing the book in Word if possible as I’m familiar with it., but I need the final print-ready PDF to look as good as it does on a screen (CMYK colour space ?).

I stress that I’ve only starting learning about the world of physical printing in the last week or two, so please bear that in mind in any replies.

Thanks in advance, during, and long after.

Richard (Misty Ricardo’s Curry Kitchen)

P.s. My kindle ebook content can be previewed using the supplied url, if it helps.
 

arossetti

Well-known member
Find a printer that can do the layout for you as part of the printing. Most print shops will have someone who can take what you have and re-lay it out in InDesign. You would want to give them the original photos, the word document, and the PDF. Have them replace the original photos and recreate your fancy type on the images using the PDF as a guide.

Most modern printers will accept artwork in both RGB and CMYK and do the final conversion themselves to CMYK so I wouldn't worry about the profiles too much and it sounds like the printer you originally contacted isn't setup to do the layout/file creation.
 

rshome123

Member
Thanks that’s great advice, but I want to avoid the expensive option of getting a professional to do it for me. I’ve had quotes for it which completely wipe out any profit margin I may obtain. It’s going to be a relatively short print run of 200-400 copies, and budget is tight.

If I can find a way to do this myself without incurring significant costs, I’ll be happy. I have time on my hands, and thinking of printing in 4-5 months.
 

Correct Color

Well-known member
Thanks that’s great advice, but I want to avoid the expensive option of getting a professional to do it for me.

So, put another way, you want someone to give you the knowledge that they use to sustain their livelihood for free.

Why do you suppose someone would want to do that?

There's quite -- quite -- a lot you've done so far that makes any professional in the graphics industry just drop their head to the table and groan.

As a for instance, it's as simple as this: If you want a professional result, you can't create your artwork in Word. Sorry that you already know it, but it's writing software, not professional graphics software. You can either pay someone to convert what you've got to Indesign, or you can learn it yourself. (Unless maybe you'd like to learn Quark.) Those are your choices.

As far as color spaces go, what's necessary first is to either understand what they are (no, "uncalibrated" is not a good thing) or use a printer who knows what they're doing, and they will charge you for their knowledge.

There's a lot to this. If you want a professional-looking printed piece, you're going to have to spend some money to get it. That's just all there is to it.



Mike Adams
Correct Color
 

mastegman

Active member
Like Mike, a lot of people in Printing and Graphic Arts as well as Graphic design and Photography, get annoyed at questions like this but we're are not alone in having our skills 'dumbed down' by what technology supposedly offers. At the moment you probably don't have a 'trained eye' let alone anything else related to publishing so you might not appreciate what a good food photographer mufti add to the value of your publication. The same goes for all the other processes in the chain. Respectfully I ask, do you service your own car, fix your own plumbing or electrical appliances? If not, why do you think that printing a book is any simpler? Probably because Microsoft told you so. You DO need help and you will have to pay for it if you want a quality reproduction with consistent colour. Books on food and cooking usually have very good photos (an art in itself) and need very tight control over the production process to ensure consistent quality especially in colour. You would probably benefit from having a good designer go over the layout as well as they can add a lot to the readability and functionality. A good printer will ensure that the book is good in all aspects so that it not only looks good but will not fall apart after the first few sessions of being open in a hot, steamy kitchen. A really good cook book can be a treasured item in the kitchen OR just become another bookend that never encourages the sale of Volume 2. It's what we call "horses for courses". You get what you pay for. If you have nothing better to do with your time you can spend a few years getting on top of all that there is to know about making a well printed product OR you can go on writing great recipes and getting Volume 2 together. Up to you.
 

PricelineNegotiator

Well-known member
Pay someone to do it or learn the ENTIRE process yourself. Doing it half way will STILL incur extra charges.

I'm sure a community college near you can offer a program that you can complete within 4-5 months. There are some online courses as well for $500+, check those out.

You will not be able to learn about this via a forum, just like you can't learn to install a transmission via some enthusiast forum.

Also, ditch Word and use InDesign. The subscription is only $50 per month. Word and Publisher are taboo throughout the industry for GOOD reasons. Unfortunately people like you have to be pulled away from Word kicking and screaming.

My comment combined with the two above is pretty much all you will get from this forum. It is up to you on how to proceed.
 
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kyle

Well-known member
Word is certainly not the best software to use for page design, but it shouldn't be too difficult to get a printed result that looks as good as your electronic version. I would categorize the Word pitfalls in this way:



Design utility

Word provides a simpler world of design possibilities. That's okay for plain documents where you're mostly concerned about simple text attributes like bold, italics, size, etc. Fine for academic papers, terrible for a magazine. This applies whether your final product is printed or viewed on a Kindle. A cookbook probably falls on the simpler side of the spectrum.


Design stability

Word will happily change page breaks, fonts, and probably seven other things I don't even know about without warning. The ways of dealing with this when a Word document is opened on a different computer in a different environment are painful. Making a PDF from Word avoids this volatility and locks it down to a stable appearance. Don't assume the PDF you create matches exactly what you saw in Word - check it. When it's printing time and you want to give it one final careful review, open it up in Word, make a PDF, then review the PDF.


Print preparedness

All fonts used in the document should be embedded in the PDF. Word does not like to do this by default, but can be made to (you tell it to make a PDF/A compliant PDF I believe).

Black type should be 0/0/0/100 CMYK, but it usually comes out RGB. It's not terribly hard for most printers' prepress departments to fix this globally. Ask them to do this, and if they say no, ask another printer. When you get your proof, confirm this was done (sometimes there is a fast-track garbage-in-garbage-out workflow, and supplying a PDF from Word increases your chances of being relegated to that workflow). There may be an extra charge for that modification.


I don't think Word has any concept of bleed. Bleed is printing to, and therefore past, the edge of the trimmed page. It looks like your cover page bleeds. Since the final trim is not made by someone with white gloves carefully cutting with an X-Acto knife, but rather a blade coming down ruthlessly through a stack of sheets, bleed is required. Three millimeters should be sufficient, but confirm with the printer. You would have to make your page larger by 6 mm in both dimensions, with the understanding that the outer 3 mm border is the bleed area. If your cover page bleeds and nothing else, I would make that a separate, larger PDF. If you have multiple pages that bleed, make the whole thing 6 mm larger and tell the printer what you did for bleed (otherwise they might think you want a larger size than you actually do).



Some printers balk at RGB images. It used to be nearly all of them, but they will be in the minority soon if not already. Images are never born CMYK (no such thing as a CMYK camera), and nearly always print CMYK. They must be converted - the question is where. You could open each one up in Photoshop, convert to CMYK, save, then place them all in Indesign (after paying for it and learning it of course). That's the hard way. Or anyone who owns Acrobat Professional or most any RIP system made in the last decade can do it in one shot to a PDF containing RGB images (I'm referring to printers here, and this should be a majority of them). You'll get the same result either way, assuming the same color profile assumptions were made in both scenarios. There are probably some printers out there that would do an improper conversion. You may want to start by paying them to take a couple of pages and give you a color proof to see if you're happy with the result.

Some printers may tell you "you shouldn't do this in Word." I probably would have too, but you've already done it and now there's money to be made for both you and the printer that probably won't be if you would have to rebuild the whole thing. Cross the printers off your list that tell you it has to be rebuilt. You want the printer that says "I'll be happy to fix the RGB black type and print it for x pounds." If you don't have the kind of printers in the UK that are willing to make some money even if it means they have to spend 5 minutes fixing your Word PDF so it prints decently, my company in Seattle would be happy to get it done.

Your biggest problem may just be the one you're most prepared to solve - image resolution. Do you know what you have now?
 
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rshome123

Member
Thanks for the responses, and apologies if I have annoyed some of you. It was not my intention.

Kyle, many thanks for your positive and encouraging reply. In answer to your question, 95% of my images were taken with an iPhone 8 Plus in the best HD mode. The original JPG files on my PC (transferred automatically using iCloud), are 4032 x 3024. (See attached screen grab) of an example file. The other 5% are collages I've created in picsart (or similar) and a few photos supplied by my followers.

I think I will most likely have to ditch the idea of overlaying fancy fonts (see attached picture.
 

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kyle

Well-known member
I meant the resolution in the images you've already edited. What are those? I know very little about Powerpoint. Does it not have a way to preserve resolution when you use it to add text to images?
 

abc

Well-known member
@rshome12
Do you have the capabilities to actually create a PDF from word, that's the first step?
Also I would recommend that you talk to a digital printer, you could even consider an online printing company and order one copy of your book. Then at least you will know what you are going to get, with what you have.
Digital print is less hung up on CMYK, and will normally accept RGB content. You will probably even get a better result as often the color range they can print is bigger than the one CMYK can provide.
You are looking for someone with a high quality print engine, something like an HP Indigo would be ideal.
 

rshome123

Member
The best resolution I could get with Powerpoint was (3000 x 2250) using the Save As menu option and choosing JPG, rather than using the right click 'Save as Picture' option. Please see attached images.
 

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Slammer

Well-known member
If you have already published then you know that layout etc. do not matter, KPS does it for you to KPS´s requirements, just upload as a .doc and follow the step by step instructions.
 

PricelineNegotiator

Well-known member

Some printers may tell you "you shouldn't do this in Word." I probably would have too, but you've already done it and now there's money to be made for both you and the printer that probably won't be if you would have to rebuild the whole thing. Cross the printers off your list that tell you it has to be rebuilt. You want the printer that says "I'll be happy to fix the RGB black type and print it for x pounds." If you don't have the kind of printers in the UK that are willing to make some money even if it means they have to spend 5 minutes fixing your Word PDF so it prints decently, my company in Seattle would be happy to get it done.


You've ignored the fact that Richard is not interested in paying anyone to correct his mess.
 

rshome123

Member
Not averse to paying someone PLN, just not for a service that costs hundreds of pounds/dollars if solution or workaround is relatively simple that I can do myself (extremely tight budget). I've been impressed with the expertise and professionalism of those in the printing sector that I've met, and I'm not assuming advice is for freely given on this forum, nor am I underestimating the competitiveness and tight margins in the printing business. Peace.
 

kyle

Well-known member
The best resolution I could get with Powerpoint was (3000 x 2250) using the Save As menu option and choosing JPG, rather than using the right click 'Save as Picture' option. Please see attached images.

The size of that image should be more than sufficient. If all of your images are like that, I'd say there's no need to redo them. If you were printing large posters, maybe there would be a need to revert to your originals. I second abc's comments. His company actually makes the software most of us would probably use to fix your black type. While I generally prefer offset litho to so-called digital, your quantity range makes sense for digital (and offset too). The best aspect of digital is that your proof will often be a nearly exact match to the final product. The proof is usually, but not always, a print run with a quantity of one. It's not cost-effective to do that for offset.
 

kyle

Well-known member
You've ignored the fact that Richard is not interested in paying anyone to correct his mess.

Not exactly. A charge for fixing the black type should be much less than a charge for rebuilding the document from scratch in Indesign. I wouldn't charge less than $500 for recreation of the document, and would do the black type conversion for free.
 

abc

Well-known member
If the RGB Black is a neutral black, where RGB values are the same, most DFE's are going to handle that as K only.
I would just throw it at a DFE and a digital press and then see if the result meets expectations.
It's the 21st century, if the resolution is acceptable then I don't see a problem in word generated PDF to be honest.
It may not be as good as a regenerated file in Indesign, but if it meets expectations then that's good enough IMHO.
 

rshome123

Member
Thanks again Kyle and abc. Just a quick update - I started a trial of Adobe Acrobat Pro and played around with changing the colourspace in a PDF exported from Word. After much head scratching and research, I eventually managed to change the colourspace within the 'Print Production' options.

I verified the conversion had applied to all objects by inspecting them with the Object Inspector part of Output Preview. The ColourSpace of everything had changed to 'DeviceCMYK', which I assume is correct.

Reassuringly all black text had been converted to a CMYK of [0.75,0.68,0.67,0.902], which I assume is an acceptable representation of Rich Black. Please correct me if I am wrong.
 

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