PDF stands for Portable Document Format. With PDF documents, each page is like a ‘snapshot’ of the original Word page. That’s why the format is called WYSIWYG – what-you-see-is-what-you-get.
Note: KDP will accept a variety of common file formats but recommends the PDF format.
Converting a Word document to PDF begins with ensuring that all the fonts in the Word document are properly ‘embedded’. Embedded fonts are flattened into ‘pictures’ so the appearance of the text does not change if the printer doesn’t have access to the same font.
Note: this is particularly important with POD printers as they will flag non-embedded fonts as errors.
The following instructions are provided for Word, versions 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007 and 2003.
Next, select the File tab and click Options on the File menu [last item on the list]. This will open the Word Options dialog box:
Click Save on the navigation pane [circled in orange above].
Next, scroll down the Save options until you reach ‘Preserve fidelity when sharing this document’.
Click the Embed fonts in the file checkbox.
Next, uncheck both of the optional Embed options. These common fonts are the ones that usually cause problems with PDF documents.
Finally, click the OK button to save and exit from the dialog box.
- To begin, click the Office button in the top left hand corner of the screen.
- Next, click the Save As option.
- On the Save As dialog box, click the ‘Options’ button.
- Finally, click the checkbox for ‘ISO 19005-1 compliant’.
This should embed all the fonts in your document.
- To begin, open the Tools menu.
- From the Tools menu select ‘Options’.
- From the Options dialog box, select ‘Save’.
- From the Save options, tick the checkbox for Embed True Type Fonts.
- Finally, uncheck the box for ‘Do not embed common system fonts’.
All the fonts in your document should now be embedded.
How to export to PDF in Word 2016 and 2013
Once all the fonts have been embedded in your manuscript, save the file.
Next, open the File tab again and click the Export option:
This will cause the ‘Create PDF/XPS Document’ options to display.
Click the Create PDF/XPS button. This will open Windows Explorer or My Computer [depending on your version of Windows].
Select a location for the new PDF file and give it a name:
Check that the ‘Optimize for:’ button is set at ‘Standard…’
Finally, click the Publish button.
To begin, click the File tab.
From the File tab options click Save As. You are now prompted to save the document with a filename.
Underneath the filename, there is an option to ‘Save As Type’. The default setting for this option is Word document (*.doc):
To change the type to PDF, click the small arrow opposite the current selection. This will display a list of available file types as shown.
Click the option for PDF.
Next, click Standard (publishing online and printing).
Click Options to display the Options popup:
Page range should be ‘All’.
Publish what should be ‘Document’.
Down the bottom, under PDF options, tick the checkbox labelled
Click the OK button to save and exit the dialog box.
Finally, give the document a name and click the Save button to save it as a PDF.
Word 2007 is capable of converting files to PDF format, but first you will have to download and install an ‘add-in’ program from Microsoft. The easiest way to locate and install this Word add-in is to click the Office button and select the ‘Save As’ option.
Next, click the option that says ‘PDF or XPS’.
Word will automatically take you to the relevant Microsoft page and download the add-in for you. After that, you will be able to save your documents as PDF whenever you wish.
For Word 2003 and earlier, you will have to purchase and install third party software that will convert the document to PDF for you.
Before KDP prints your book, it carries out a technical review. If the review finds that your book still contains non-embedded fonts, it may be because they are not standard to Word.
Note: some fonts imported into Word do not allow Word to embed them.
To check the status of the fonts in your book, create a PDF of the document and open it in Adobe Acrobat Reader.
If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer, you can download a free copy from the Adobe website:
Adobe bundles other software with its download, so unless you particularly want these software applications, untick all the checkboxes as shown below:
You should also note that ‘Acrobat Pro DC Trial’ is for evaluation only. If you want to keep using it, you will have to pay.
Once Acrobat is installed, find the PDF version of your book on your computer and double click the file name to automatically open it in Acrobat Reader.
Click the Acrobat File tab to display the File menu:
From the File menu, select ‘Properties’ as shown above.
You should now be looking at the ‘Document Properties’ dialog box:
Click the Fonts tab as shown above.
You should now be looking at a list of all the fonts contained in your document:
Every font in the list should be shown as ‘Embedded’ or ‘Embedded subset’.
Any fonts not shown as ‘embedded’ will be the cause of the KDP error.
The easiest and simplest way to fix the KDP font error is to replace the imported font with a standard Word font. There are other ways to fix this problem, but they are quite advanced and far beyond the scope of a guide for beginners.
In the next section we will look at preparing the cover of your book using a template guide.