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5,617 Views 2 Replies Last post: May 11, 2013 8:43 AM by Lighthouse24 RSS
Level 1 25 posts since
Apr 24, 2013
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May 11, 2013 6:05 AM

The Create Space Pre-Flight Plug In

My most recent PDF cover image failed the pre-flight standards in Adobe XI (free trial version) with error messages about too few dots per inch. My remedy?


First I installed (imported) the Create Space pre-flight plug-in into Adobe Acrobat XI. Second, I changed the PDF standard in Adobe from PDF/X-1a:2001 to PDF/X-3-2002. Now my cover images pass the pre-flight with flying colors. Am I hearing voices? Am I on the right track?


Note: Aaron Shepard says Create Space and Lightning Source no longer insist on pdf cover files in the CMYK color scheme. He says it is best to submit JPEG's and let the printers at the printing houses accomplish the RBG to CMYK conversion. Please keep Mister Shepard's remark in mind as you critique my workflow.  

Level 5 19,567 posts since
Sep 5, 2009
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1. May 11, 2013 8:39 AM in response to: AlanDrabke
Re: The Create Space Pre-Flight Plug In

I have long been campaigning on the forum for sRGB over CMYK: CS uses non-standard process colors (compared with Panton Process Colors), proprietary proflies, and printing presses (Indigo), which are designed to emulate RGB color.


The CS Preflight is convenient; however, no preflight will guarantee that CS will accept your files.  You don't tell us what parts of the CS Preflight reported a failure (not a warning); without knowing that it is hard to tell why the PDF/X-3 might have passed when the PDF/X-1a did not. Did you make any changes to the file before the PDFX-3 conversion?


Among the PDF presets offered by Adobe products, my preference is for HighQuality: however, it does not remove transparency.  There are files where that is important, in which case, I use PDF/X-1a.


If you are only talking about your cover, then I cannot see anything wrong with PDF/X-3.  However, if you are talking about interiors, then I would recommend against using PDF/X-3.  See  The problem is that depending on your source file PDF/X-3 could lead to screened text.  I do not see this as a problem in Black & White books, unless the ink is light, but in color books, the text will generally be a rich black and if the printing is misregistered, you can have problems you do not want.


CS has never insisted on CMYK, except indirectly vis a vis Laurel's article on PDFs,, which was fairly inaccurate when it first came out, and has been changed several times along the way.


This is the second time I will have quoted the LS File Creation Guide ( in a month (retyped due copying problems):


Color text: Quick Reference

The following are specification that you whould know when laying out text for a Standard Color or Premium Color color book title

Resolution: 300 dpi

Color Space: CMYK

[Page 10]


Cover: Quick Reference

The follwoing are recommendation and specification that you should know when laying out cover for all book types.

Resolution: 300 dpi

Color Space: CMYK

[Page 16]


Yes, LS will accept PDF/X-3 files, but the do still at least recommend CMYK.  Perhaps they will accpt RGB, and perhaps they will accept TACs about 240%, but their guildelines are their guidelines.



Level 5 13,071 posts since
Aug 22, 2008
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2. May 11, 2013 8:43 AM in response to: AlanDrabke
Re: The Create Space Pre-Flight Plug In

There's nothing about the PDF/X-3:2002 default preset that would resample an image to have more pixels per inch in the resulting PDF than it did in the source layout -- so something else is going on there.  The main difference with regard to images between the X-1a and X-3 presets is that X-1a converts color to CMYK and X-3 tags everything for color management.


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