Preparing Your Files


Submitting your files can be a confusing process. We prepared the following guide to assist you with your electronic file preparation and submission. If you have a specific problem that is not covered in this guide feel free to contact us. Improperly prepared files can cause delays in production.

After you purchase your product from the FCI Digital webstore you will receive an email confirmation of your order which includes instructions on uploading your files to our secure FTP server. You will need to provide 3-4 files for us to process your job without delay.

The files we require you to upload are as follows:

  1. A PDF of your text files formatted as a PDF X-1a 2001 (instructions for creating this are below)
  2. A PDF of your cover file (front, back, and spine together) generated according to the dimensions created on MyBookTemplate
  3. A PDF of your cover stampings generated according to MyBookTemplate (applicable only to hardcover books with the foil stamping option)

Once you confirm your purchase you will receive an order confirmation email from us with a link to our secure FTP server. If you do not receive this email please check your spam folder and contact us.


File Upload Instructions

FCI Digital uses a secure FTP server utilizing blind upload for maximum confidentiality. Please follow the instructions below to ensure your job is processed smoothly and on time.

1. When you place an order, you will be sent instructions on how to access our FTP server for file upload. You are also welcome to utlisze any of the file transfer programs such as WeTransfer, Dropbox, or Smash.

2. To ensure fastest processing of your files, please upload them as PDF/X-1a files. Primarily, this requires that all RGB images be converted to CMYK. To optimize color fidelity, we recommend using the GRACoL 2006 ICC profile. Click here to learn more about best practices for file preparation.

3. If you are unclear how to create or cannot submit PDF/X-1a files, please upload what files you do have. Our prepress specialists will examine them and get back to you with any issues we encounter that could affect the final print quality, as card card-body as any extra expense involved for us to correct them if you wish.

4. Upload your files. You will need to upload the following files:

  • PDF/X-1a file of the text (body) portion of your book (the cover should be separate)
  • Softcover books: PDF/X-1a file of your outside cover designed according to the dimensions (including correct spine width) found at MyBookTemplate.  
  • If printing on the inside of your softcover book, we will need a separate PDF/X-1a file. (Note there is a “dead area” .25” from the binding edge on inside front and back cover to allow for gluing under the hinge area of the cover (in the case of perfect bound books), or punching of the holes (for coil bound books.)
  • Hardcover books: PDF/X-1a file of your outside casecover designed according to the dimensions (including correct spine width) found at MyBookTemplate.  
  • If you will be printing a dust jacket, and/or there will be foil stamping we will need a separate PDF/X-1a file for each.

3. Watch your inbox for a preflight report of your job. If you do not receive a preflight report within 1-2 business days of upload, please contact: or call us at (937) 859-9701.

4. While it is best to use our FTP server for file upload, we will also accept files sent by WeTransfer ,Dropbox, or any other file sharing service such as One Drive or Google Drive. Please use as the address to share or send a link.


Quick Checklist

  • Files saved as PDF/X1-a:2001 format
  • Files prepared using GRaCol 2006 color profile
  • Type is legible and crisp
  • All fonts are embedded
  • All pages have at least .125" (1/8") of bleed
  • Non-bleeding content is set .125" from trim edge
  • Folio positioned at least .125" from trim edge
  • "Printed in the USA by FCI Digital" included on copyright page
  • Barcode on cover is vector art or rasterized at 1200 dpi on white background
  • Cover, dustjackets, and hardcover stampings designed according to the measurements given on MyBookTemplate.
  • All black color text is 100% and overprinting (unless rich black)
  • Page count is divisible by 4
  • ISBN included on copyright page (if you choose to use ISBN)
  • All linked files, images, and fonts are placed in separate folders
  • Colors are in CMYK 8 bit, not RGB
  • Ink density is less than 330%
  • All images and pictures should be 300 dots per inch (dpi).
  • Rasterized text or graphics should be 1200 dpi.
  • Screen values should be between 133 lines per inch (lpi) and 150 lpi.

Bleeds and Crop Marks

A 1/8" (.125) border must be added to pictures and designs bleeding to the edge, so that there is no white space or border showing around the artwork. It is also important to keep text at least a 1/4" away from the paper edge or the trim line to prevent accidental cropping.

Crop marks let designers visualize their bleeds.  Proper size and placement of crop marks is important because poorly configured crop marks can show up in the final piece.

You can find more information on setting up bleeds and crop marks in InDesign here.

Color Management


A computer monitor isn't a reliable tool for measuring color accuracy for two reasons. First, different monitors displaying the same image can show diferent colors due to monitor calibration, screen resolution, lighting, and many other factors. Second, Computer monitors display colors as a RGB process but a printing press prints as part of a CMYK process.  What is the difference between CMYK and RGB colors?

To achieve the desired color on press, digital files must reflect accurate color models and percentage. The print industry developed GRaCol to standardize color calibration across multiple devices. 

You will need to prepare your files using the GRaCol 2006 standard. This is a very important process as it sets a uniform color standard between devices. With GRACoL you, our prepress team, and our digital presses can all see and talk about the same colors.  Please download all of the files for your respective operating system below. Follow the install instructions. Pleasecontact us if you need assistance.


GRaCol 2006 PC Install Instructions

GRaCOL 2006 PC InDesign Instructions

GRaCOL 2006 PC Profile 

GRaCol 2006 Mac Install Instructions

GRaCOL 2006 Mac InDesign Instructions

GRaCOL 2006 Mac Profile

Image Resolutions

  • All images and pictures should be 300 dots per inch (dpi).
  • Rasterized text or graphics should be 1200 dpi.
  • Screen values should be between 133 lines per inch (lpi) and 150 lpi.

Digital Proofs

We provide electronic soft proofs via PDF files. These "soft" proofs intend to show you the layout and design elements of your job but cannot be a gurantor of color accuracy. If accurate color reproduction is an important aspect of your project we urge you to select a hard proof options during checkout. Hard proofs will be printed and mailed to you as soon as the preflighting process is completed.

Additional Resources