Tips and tricks for common conversion problems

Converting your documents into issuu publications

NOTE: You may also like to learn more about Upload problems.

If conversion fails

- Probably one or more of your pages are too complex (contains too many vector objects). Find them by looking for pages that loads slowly in a PDF reader.

- Remove those pages and upload a test to see if conversion will succeed.

- Finally, simplify the design of the complex pages or simply flatten them to bitmap graphics.

Note: Often you can't see on the page if there are too many vector objects, as it's normally something the design program does when you work (a little too much) with your layout.

You can also try simply generating your PDF as 'optimized for web' or 'linear PDF'. This can often be achieved by printing your PDF (instead of exporting it).

NOTE: If you're using InDesign to create your publication, you can download this issuu Export Preset and add it to your presets, to ensure that during the export process, your PDF is issuu-ready.

Tips for Adobe Acrobat and problems with Transparencies

Try flattening all the complex pages into single-layered bitmaps (JPG)

Do a text-recognition (OCR scan) before uploading to ensure your document is optimized for search

View this Adobe help article on fixing common problems with transparencies or download this Quark PDF on Best Practices for working with Transparencies.

Problems with links

Make sure long links are added before upload. Make sure links in your text are not separated by line breaks or placed directly next to non-link characters (add a blank space on each side of the link/email-address). If your links are displayed in the wrong place you need to export your document for viewing on the screen (not for print).

Problem with full-page links

If you are turning full pages into links, e.g. for full-page ads, make sure the link area is smaller than the actual page. issuu is not able to work with link areas that are bigger that the page size. So, the best approach is to leave space for a margin around your link area.

Problem with fonts

Make sure your fonts are embedded in the document you upload (export with fonts). Note: Your document may look correct in a desktop PDF reader, because the reader will automatically substitute the missing fonts (issuu can't do that).

If you make sure all your font elements are outlined they will appear as you intend them to no matter what. You will however not be able to edit your text after this, so a good advice would be to save a "Ready-for-publishing" copy of your document and outline the fonts in that one.

Try googling "how to outline fonts in indesign" or similar. There's a couple of links here that may be helpful:

Layout problems

Try a different PDF version (e.g. v 1.3) or a different PDF printer. Or change your layout so you're not using unsupported design features. If nothing works replace your vector graphics with bitmaps.

If your text is 'bleeding though': You are using an unsupported layout feature (e.g. 'soft masks'). Please use a different layout feature or replace that page/item with bitmap graphics.

If images are not showing they are probably inserted in the publication using unsupported features, e.g. frames/forms. Try to simplify or 'flatten' your layout.

Problems with Crop Box

A friendly users shared this with us, regarding positioning of hyperlink areas on pages being off:

"It appears to be related to the "crop box" specs in the PDF. I'll explain: It turns out the pages of the title that demonstrate the above anomaly did indeed start life as a print title, i.e. when they were output from Quark XPress, they were output with marks, bleeds and 1/2-inch around the trim. Then, when we repurpose those pages for digital editions, we crop those pages to trim in Acrobat. So, the offset of the hyperlink boxes corresponded exactly to that 1/2-inch offset. When I set the crop box on each page to zero the hyperlink boxes are no longer offset but the marks, bleeds and 1/2-inch around the pages are visible. Not acceptable. Alternatives: 1) re-output the pages from XPress/Indesign withOUT marks, bleeds and extra space around the pages, i.e. output the pages to trim or 2) figure out what the Top and Left Crop Box coordinates are set to in the PDF pages and then go to each page of your document and select all the links and move them by that amount. In our case 1/2-inch up and 1/2-inch to the left.

Problems with vector graphics / crashing

A helpful user shared his way of solving a problem with too complex vector graphics that caused the browser to crash:

  • I upgraded CutePDF and turned-off ICM and ICC profiles when printing to PDF.

  • I turned off Rasterization, so this was a normal PDF conversion.

  • I down-sampled bitmaps to 150dpi.

  • Compatibility was set to Level 2 with Conform to DSC deselected (not selected)

  • Font downloaded was selected, so fonts were NOT flattened or converted to curves.

  • Apparently, I did something right because it now works.

So, the problem was that I converted a doc to PDF without downsampling to 150 and WITH ICC profile on. Colors were set to CMYK conversion. No JPEG compression. Fail. The document crashed in the issuu viewer.

I went back and manually downsampled to 150, turned-off ICC profile, set output color for RGB, set JPEG compression to 10%. Win.

Nothing works!

If nothing else works, try re-saving your PDF in Preview for Mac (or similar software on a PC) as it can remove unknown errors. If you are uploading Word or Powerpoint, try exporting to PDF before upload.


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