Softcover Books

These are the common questions and issues faced by Design Tool users...

What are the system requirements?

The software supports the following systems. Minimum requirements are listed but higher specifications are recommended for best performance.


Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7 (32 and 64 Bit) 512MB RAM (More Recommended) 250MB Hard Drive space required for full installation


Mac OS 10.4.11 (Requires specific "Tiger" build) - Power PC not officially supported at this time. - Please note that Tiger support will be discontinued with the release of OS 10.7 (Lion) Mac OS 10.5.8+ with latest Java installed 512MB RAM (More Recommended) 250MB Hard Drive space required for full installation

Java - The latest Java should be installed for all machines.

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I can't find my saved book (in my account).

The Design Tool saves your book projects in a books folder on your computer hard drive. Only book projects ordering information is saved on the PhotoBook Press website. All saved books will be visible in your Design Tool Photo Books window.

Click on the image of a saved book, or choose Open.

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What image file types are supported?

The Design Tool software requires jpg files.

Minimum recommended resolution is 300 dpi (dots per inch) in the intended printed size. Watch the PreFlight notification for instances where image resolution is not satisfactory.

The application will not load images with unsupported file types, and may run very slowly if the file size is excessive. There are no warnings for either of these issues.

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Can I make a book with more than 36 pages?

A sewn signature book begins with 36 pages (3 signatures). You can add additional pages in increments of 12 (a signature). Go to the Insert tab and select Insert New Page, as in the image below.

You will see that 12 new pages have been added, for a new total of 48 pages. Keep inserting pages to further increase the number of pages.

Sewn signature books have virtually unlimited page count potential. Design Tool books are limited to 312 pages. However, if you require more pages, contact us to discuss your project.

A glued spine book begins with 20 pages. Additional pages can be added in increments of 2 pages to a maximum of 120 pages.

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Can I change my order?

Yes. If there are changes (typos, low resolution images, out of sequence pages, etc.) that need to be made after you see your final approval PDF, you can upload a revised project. You do not need to complete the shopping cart a second time.

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How do I complete my order?

When you have completed your book design, save the final version. Click on the Send to PhotoBook Press button at the top of the Design Tool page.

The dialog box will assist you through the upload process.

When the upload is completed, you will automatically be redirected to the shopping cart where you will complete your selection of the book options and submit your order. We collect a deposit of 50% of the estimated price at the time the order is placed. The balance is due when the book is ready to ship.

No project will be started until the shopping cart order has been completed.

We will show you a PDF of your project (after we prepare it for print) for final approval before it is sent to print.

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Do I need to upload images?

No. If you have created a Design Tool book, the images are embedded in the file that is uploaded to PhotoBook Press. You do not, and should not, upload a separate folder of images.

If you want to ensure that you have a version of your project that is complete for storage purposes, you should Export your project. The Design Tool will create a file complete with images (not just links to images) that can be restored (imported) at any time - no matter where the original images are currently saved.

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How do I align pictures?

After clicking on an image, use the photo tool bar at the top of the work space to align images within a page.

You can align a group of images by clicking on the layout tab...

Or, you can right click on the image and align it from there...

You can also assure that your pictures will be properly aligned with each other, as well as relative to the page, by using the Show Grid & Snap to Grid controls located under the View menu. To adjust grid spacing, use the Setup Grid control.

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How can I edit my PhotoBook Design Tool book after I have saved it?

All your saved projects are stored in a photo books project folder on your computer. You will see thumbnails of saved projects in the main photo books project window, or you can select the Open icon in the list of functions.

Open an existing project.

If you move or rename the folder of images, the links will be broken and the images will not be seen in the Design Tool workspace until you have re-linked them. (See Why Don't Images Load... below.)

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How do I export a project?

You can Export a project to ensure that you have all the book content data AND associated image files in one complete package. This is particularly helpful if you need to move your book to another computer or hard drive for archiving. To open an exported project, select Import from the list of options.

Exporting a project

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Why don't images load in my saved projects?

This usually happens when the images folder is moved or its name is changed.

The recommended method of designing and saving a book is to create a folder (with the same name as your book title) with copies of selected images on your computer. Keep this folder of images on your computer AND in the same location as long as you want to return to a saved book for editing, or if you want to use it as a template for another book. Any images on an external device (external hard drive, server, etc.) that is disconnected from your computer will result in a “de-linking” of those images. Your saved book will not be recoverable until the folder is returned to its original location. Any folder name changes, or image name changes will also result in "de-linking" and a book design failure.

For permanent archiving of the book design with all of its associated images, Export the project. Any book that has already been sent to PhotoBook Press will be saved – but in PDF form - and will not be editable.

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How can I create partial-page spreads with my images?

Any of your pictures can be used as a background for a partial-page spread. Just drag & drop a picture from the Image Browser to a page (but not onto a frame), and when the “How to Drop?” dialog box appears, click the Add a Picture or Layout a Picture button.

Drag & Drop a PictureHow to Drop Dialog Box

Size the image to suit your design by grabbing the corners or any of the sides, and move the image around to ensure important features are not centered exactly in the gutter. Move your image out to the bleed marks if you want any part of the picture to go to the edge of the page. Ensure that your images have enough resolution for the larger size.

Partial Page Spread

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How can I show the entire image, irrespective of aspect ratio?

When images are added to a page, they are automatically loaded into a frame of similar shape. However, the automatic frame is created in a "standard" aspect ratio. Some parts (top/bottom or sides) might be cropped if the image is not exactly the same aspect ratio.

You can move the image around inside the frame to reposition it to your liking, or you can change the frame size. Compare two versions of the same image, one in a standard frame and the other with a frame to fit the image...Compare Frame Sizes

To ensure that you have the entire image visible, select "Fit Frame to Image" from the Format tab at the top of your Design Tool window...Fit Frame to Image

Or, you can always expand the image size within the existing frame by scrolling up and down with your mouse to expand or reduce the size of the image within the frame. Be sure to maintain sufficient resolution.Change Image Size inside the Frame

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Ordering Your Photo Book

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Designing Your Photo Book
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