Creating a PDF? We’ll Help You Get Started

As we continue to add new product sizes to the MagCloud service, we’ve made it easier to find the requirements for the product you want to create with our Getting Started page. This new page in the Create section on the MagCloud site lets you select the product, trim size, and binding type for the publication you want to create, and then provides you with the appropriate PDF specifications, things to keep in mind when designing your publication, and step-by-step information packets to help you get started.

In the PDF specifications section, we not only provide the correct PDF size, trim size, safe zone, and bleeds for creating a MagCloud-ready PDF but we also make it easier to understand what these concepts are and how they relate to one another. As you hover over each of these values on the right, you’ll notice that the corresponding area gets highlighted in red in the diagram on the left. At the same time, a text description of what the specification is appears next to your cursor, letting you know, for example, that the PDF Size is the page size of the PDF you will upload to MagCloud. Below the PDF specifications, there is a section for Additional Information that is specific to the publication you are hoping to create. This area lists things that are important to keep in mind while designing your PDF, from embedding fonts to allowing space for the 2D barcode that goes on the back page of your publication.

Finally, at the bottom of the Getting Started page are links to download Information Packets for a variety of software programs. Clicking on one of the icons will download a .zip file, which unzips to become a folder specific to that program and the product, trim size and binding you initially selected. Each folder contains a PDF with step-by-step instructions to help you design a MagCloud-ready PDF from scratch, or modify an existing document for use with MagCloud. In addition, many of these folders also include templates or presets that can be used in conjunction with the step-by-step instructions to help jump-start your creation process.

At the moment we offer Instruction Packets for Adobe InDesign, QuarkXPress, Microsoft Word for Mac and PC, Apple iWork Pages, and Microsoft Publisher. We are planning to add instructions for additional software in the near future though, so keep an eye on the blog for news about those additions. And if there’s a type of software that you would like to see MagCloud-specific instructions for, we’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

35 thoughts on “Creating a PDF? We’ll Help You Get Started

  1. Zachary Arnold 17 Jul 2012 / 12:20 PM

    I have 4 different PDF pages and have saved them to a folder. How do I upload each page as one publication?

    • Meghan 17 Jul 2012 / 4:09 PM

      Hi Zachary,

      You’ll need to combine your 4 PDFs into a single multi-page PDF using a program like Adobe Acrobat or Apple’s Preview before you can upload to MagCloud as a single publication.


  2. andreia makkas 18 Jul 2012 / 1:00 PM

    I’m saving my PDF from adobe bridge, but I’m always getting backgrpund collors on my printes magazine

    • Meghan 26 Jul 2012 / 2:29 PM

      Hi Andreia,

      I’m not sure quite sure what your question is. If something is appearing in the printed version of your publication that isn’t in the PDF you uploaded to, than please submit a support request on the MagCloud website including both the order number for the order that had this problem and more detailed information about the problem itself:


    • Jones 16 Nov 2019 / 3:36 PM

      Inkscape (it’s free and powerful) templates!

  3. Derek 26 Jul 2012 / 2:06 PM

    I’d like to see instructions for Serif PagePlus X6. Also is the bleed setting in PagePlus compatible with MagCloud? There’s no way to set a separate bleed for the outside and top and bottom edges, at least that I can tell. If I set a .125″ bleed for all outside edges of facing pages then the total pdf size comes out to 8 3/8″ x 11″ instead of 8 1/2″ x 11″ for each inside page. Maybe I’m missing something.

    • Meghan 26 Jul 2012 / 2:38 PM

      Hi Derek,

      Thank you for your suggestion, we will consider it for the future. I am not familiar with the bleed settings in PagePlus, however if the program won’t allow you to add the MagCloud-recommended bleeds, another option would be to make your page size 8.5 x 11″ with no added bleed, and while designing your publication keep in mind that 0.125″ will be trimmed off the top and bottom, and 0.25″ will be trimmed off the outside edges. If you have the option to add guides, this might be another way to denote where this trim line will be for design purposes. This is how we recommend designing a MagCloud-ready PDF in Microsoft Word, which does not offer the option for adding bleed.


  4. Joanne 29 Jul 2012 / 5:06 PM

    In your calendar product, can you add images into the individual day squares?

    • Meghan 1 Aug 2012 / 12:07 PM

      Hi Joanne,

      With MagCloud, you design your publication using any kind of software that can create a multipage PDF, then upload that PDF file to the MagCloud website. For more information about designing a calendar for uploading to MagCloud, please see our blog post on the topic:


  5. fredericknoronha 9 Aug 2012 / 11:08 AM

    Can you help with more Free Software (free-as-in-Freedom) tools? Open Office, Inkscape, GIMP, etc?

    • Meghan 14 Aug 2012 / 9:48 AM

      Thanks for the suggestion – we’ll keep this in mind for future updates.


  6. Stephen 23 Aug 2012 / 12:16 PM

    Hi. Are you, or have you, considered offering the capability of using CorelDraw in designing publications? Thanks.

    • Meghan 27 Aug 2012 / 10:56 AM

      Hi Stephen,

      We haven’t looked at CorelDraw but will consider it for the future. Note that any program that can export a multipage PDF can be used for creating MagCloud publications. Just set your document size to the PDF Size shown on our Getting Started page for the MagCloud product you want to create, and then keep in mind the Trim and Bleed settings when adding content. When you are finished, export your document as a PDF with all the fonts embedded, and upload that PDF to the MagCloud site.

      Thanks for your suggestion,

  7. Megan 26 Aug 2012 / 8:06 PM

    I just followed all the directions for creating a PDF for a poster from a 2 page MS Publisher file. The PDF is 8 pages of separate “sections” of my poster. Did I do something wrong?

    • Megan 26 Aug 2012 / 8:31 PM

      Figured it out…page size setting issue.

      • Meghan 27 Aug 2012 / 10:50 AM

        Glad you were able to figure out the issue!

  8. Bill 7 Oct 2012 / 11:51 AM

    Can you add UV to magazine cover page?

    • Meghan 8 Oct 2012 / 9:42 AM

      Hi Bill,

      Perfect bound and Wire-O bound publications include a satin coating on both the front and back covers by default. The covers of saddle stitch bound publications do not include this coating, and at this time, we do not have a way for you to add one.


  9. stephencrimarco 16 Nov 2012 / 1:38 PM

    Hi what color space should our photographs be in? sRGB? Adobe RGB? CMYK? Thanks.

    • Meghan 26 Nov 2012 / 2:06 PM

      Hi Stephen,

      If possible, your images should be left in their original colorspace with the color profiles embedded in your final PDF.

      For additional information and step-by-step instructions to help you create your file, check out our Getting Started page ( You can also contact our support team at with any further questions.


  10. Lloyd Robertson 28 Jan 2013 / 10:37 AM

    Not sure who to ask about this, on my magazine cover, the image looks good all over, but on the left side of the cover its missing completly and I am guessing its a setting in my document. I am using the settings for MS Word. Any help would be appreciated.

    • Meghan 30 Jan 2013 / 12:22 PM

      Hi Lloyd,

      This sounds like an issue with the PDF settings. I suggest you first verify that you’ve followed all of the instructions in our Instruction Package for Word (available for download on our Getting Started page) and if you are still having issues, please submit a request through our contact form and our support team will be able to assist you further.


  11. TC 13 Mar 2013 / 1:47 PM

    For the 17X11 template it doesn’t show a gutter for the binding. Do I just add in an additional .5″ right or left depending on which page it is?

    Also, if I’m working in Illustrator, do I just make separate .pdfs and take them all into Acrobat to combine them somehow? If so, do you have instructions for how to do that? I want to make sure I make the initial files correctly. Can I add or subtract pages as I go along?

    Sorry for all the questions, I’m obviously not a graphic designer Thanks!!

  12. TC 13 Mar 2013 / 7:13 PM

    Hi, Sorry, but the template file you supply does not agree with what your written requirements say. I hate to change the template because I feel like that’s what you wanted, but the numbers just don’t match.

    Do you want us to use what your written requirements say:
    or the way the template is set up?

    • Meghan 15 Mar 2013 / 12:03 PM

      Hi TC,

      Regarding your first comment, we don’t recommend using Illustrator to create MagCloud-ready PDFs since Illustrator is not intended for creating multipage documents. I would recommend instead using one of the programs listed under the Software-Specific Instruction Packages at the bottom of the Getting Started page you linked to in your comment above. As far as the template settings, our templates vary depending on the software you are using, so without knowing what program you are in, I can’t provide any specific information beyond a suggestion to look at the instruction PDF you downloaded with the template. These instructions will help point out where in the template the safe zone is, which for all 17×11 templates will account for the binding area and should match the written requirements shown at the top of the Getting Started page.

      If you would like more specific information, please email and let them know what software program you are using our template in. They will then be able to provide more feedback than I’m able to here on the blog, in a more timely fashion.


  13. Oliver 29 Mar 2013 / 6:04 PM

    Hi Meghan,
    How many dpi should the images be that I bring into a pages doc which I will save as a PDF? How many MGB total can the PDF be?

  14. Stephane 12 Jun 2013 / 1:14 PM


    I have a question about the order of the pages while creating a pdf for standard publication, from InDesign.

    Do i have to leave pages from 1 to 20 (for exemple), with pages 1 and 20 (first and last page) alone ?
    Or do i have to create my publication with pages like “10-20”, “12-9”, “8-13″, 14-7”, etc ??

    Thanks !
    Stephane (sorry for my poor english…)

    • Meghan 13 Jun 2013 / 8:58 AM

      Hi Stephane,

      Your pages should be in number order in the PDF you upload to MagCloud. The front cover should be on page 1, the inside front cover on page 2, etc. You can find step by step instructions to help you create your file in our Software-Specific Instruction Packages, available for download on our Getting Started page. If you have any further quesitons about this, our support team would be happy to help at


  15. Libby Hedrick 10 Jul 2013 / 4:54 AM

    I have a PDF ready to send, but I keep getting messages that my bleeds are not correct. I have remeasured several times, and they are correct. Should I send the PDF anyway?

    • Meghan 12 Jul 2013 / 10:54 AM

      Hi Libby,

      If you haven’t already, please submit a support request at Our support team will be able to look at your PDF and help resolve this issue with you directly.


  16. starvingiguanas 20 Sep 2013 / 4:11 PM

    I followed the adobe instructions and set up my margins as well as grid settings on a new document… (as well as opening the template from the unzipped folder I downloaded)
    I can’t seem to see the dotted gray ‘safe line’ at all …and I can’t seem to drag my photos out past the ‘trim line’ (for a bleed). How do I pull my photos out into the bleed?

    • Meghan 23 Sep 2013 / 10:12 AM


      Make sure you have downloaded our Software-Specific Instruction Package for the Adobe software you are using, and have followed the instructions in the enclosed PDF. If you are still having issues creating your file, please submit a request at with more information about which Adobe software you are using, and our support team would be happy to help you further.


  17. Emily Matyas 20 Mar 2014 / 11:51 AM

    Your instructions for photoshop say to put text in CMYK and images in sRGB. But I cannot do two different modes for one PDF file. Shall I put both text and images in CMYK or sRGB?

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