Images are arguably one of the more difficult aspects of formatting a book for self-publication with CreateSpace or any other print-on-demand company. In part this is because you can never be sure exactly how an image will appear in the finished book until you have the printed proof in your hand. However if you follow some strict guidelines your images will more often than not reproduce remarkably clearly in the printed form.
(CreateSpace and other print on demand companies tend to use dpi and ppi interchangeably so for this explanation treat as the same)
The essential rules to follow are:
- CreateSpace requires images to be presented in the range 300-600 dpi and definitely not less than 300 dpi. Images less than 200 dpi will be flagged up by the online Interior Reviewer tool at the review stage. This gives you the opportunity to change the image although CreateSpace will not usually reject a file because of low-resolution images unless text within the image is illegible.
- Images must be flattened - not layered. The graphics program you use will have a simple tool for this. For example in Photoshop Elements:
Layer → Flatten Image
- In the graphics program resize each image to the size you require in the document and ensure that each is saved with a resolution of 300 ppi
- Black & White images must be saved in TIFF format
- Colour images must be saved in either JPEG or TIFF format.
- Any manipulation of an image other than positioning within the document must be completed before the image is inserted into the document. NEVER resize or make any other adjustments to an image once it is in the document other than as in point 8 below.
- Never copy and paste an image into a document.
- Always use the Insert function to place an image within a document.
- Decide where the image is to be positioned and then:
Ribbon → Insert → Picture → (select the image) → Insert
assuming the image is in the desired place you need to do the following:
(the Picture Tools menu should have opened automatically with the insertion of the image - if not click on the image)
Position → In Line With Text
- To reduce file size Word will automatically compress your images. You do NOT want this so:
Ribbon → File → Options → Advanced → Image Size & Quality → (select) do not compress images in file
(also set the default target output to 220 ppi)
- When converting the document to PDF format (required by CreateSpace) go through the PDF options and ensure that you select something to the effect of:
graphic print quality 600 dpi
If you do not do that you are likely to find that your 300 dpi images are flagged up as being less than 200 dpi by CreateSpace.
- As a first check look closely at your images in the CreateSpace online tool, Interior Reviewer. Then order a printed proof, check carefully and make any changes as necessary.