Designing and exporting your PDF for online viewing is a different task than designing one for print. For starters, with a printed catalog, you decide the dimensions and the way it is consumed.
With your digital catalog, it's important to make sure that your output looks crisp and desirable across all devices and screen sizes, while maintaining fast loading times.
Fortunately, the iPaper platform does most of the work for you!
🔰 This guide will show you how to:
🎓 Download our InDesign PDF preset
If you're already acquainted with designing your PDF for optimal results, digitally, you might want to download our InDesign PDF Preset and get stuck in, straight away:
Otherwise, let's start with the basics…
Designing for the iPaper platform
The iPaper platform will always show your publication as a spread (two pages facing each other). This means you need to design and export your PDF files with that in mind.
Furthermore, when designing for online use, it's important to remember that your publication will be displayed on screens, exclusively. This means there are some restrictions, regarding the format, different from those for printed publications:
General tips and guidelines for format and layout
The maximum file size of your PDF must not exceed 1 GB.
The PDF must not “secured” or “restricted” (you can protect your Flipbook at a later stage).
Images & Colors
Avoid hidden layers if not explicitly needed (e.g., no old text layers with other objects placed above).
Avoid complex vector images, as they can cause PDF conversion to fail.
If you are designing for both print and digital formats, you can use the CMYK blending space, otherwise for digital-only, consider using the RGB blending space.
Your font choice should be limited to sans-serif types.
The general font size should be easily readable on mobile, preferably without needing to zoom. 16pt is currently considered optimal for body fonts, for reading on a mobile screen.
💡 To achieve the best, readable result, consider this article on font types for online use.
Embed all fonts in the PDF, when possible.
Text should exist as selectable text (you should be able to highlight & copy the text on the PDF file), as opposed to an outline, or bitmap.
Pages should be cropped to size, with no visible cutting lines
A4 size (210×297mm) pages or 210×280mm will yield good results across devices. A square format (e.g., 280×280mm) will utilize more screen space on desktop/laptop monitors but might not provide an equal experience on mobile devices in portrait mode.
To optimize for mobile, you can create your pages in a ratio of 1.7.
Example: If your page width is 1000 pixels, your height should be 1700 pixels.
Creating your InDesign document with Facing Pages and Portrait orientation will give you the optimal view and best results when working on your Flipbook.
You can create Bookmarks in InDesign which can be imported directly into your Flipbook as an Index
You can create Links (external links, internal page links & email links) in InDesign which can be imported directly into your Flipbook as active Links. Find more information here:
Exporting your PDFs for the iPaper Platform
When you have finished up your design, you will need to export to PDF.
Even though you are about to export for online use, select the High-Quality Print preset.
Go for Acrobat 6 / PDF 1.5 compatibility
⚠️ Please note: iPaper does not support PDF 2.0
The iPaper platform will always display spreads (2 pages facing each other).
This means you have to export your PDF as single pages for optimal results.
You should only export Visible & Printable Layers if you have a specific need for content in hidden layers (e.g., for Custom Link Import purposes)
5. Interactive Elements
The iPaper platform is not compatible with Interactive Elements, and they should not be included when exporting.
6. Bookmarks & Hyperlinks
If you created active links in InDesign, you can choose to export them, and then import them as an Index and active Links in your Flipbook.
To optimize your results across all screen sizes, we recommend exporting your PDF at 150 PPI. Alternatively, you can input your PDF page dimensions in our DPI Calculator, to get the exact resolution you should export in:
Use settings as seen below:
Marks and Bleeds
Printer marks and Bleed should not be included in your export, as these options are for printing purposes only.
Consider saving your settings as a Preset
You can save this as a Preset for use in future publications. Name it "iPaper" for easy access.
All that remains now is to export your publication, and you will have yourself an iPaper optimized PDF.