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How to Add a PDF File Into a Publication

PDF Files - Image by Esa Riutta allows you to turn your web content into press-ready publications such as magazines, guides and reports. You can use solely your web content like blog posts to create the printed publications, but you can also incorporate separate PDF files into your publication. For our own Nopea Magazine, for instance, we have added the cover and back cover as a PDF file.

In order for the PDF file to appear right in the publication, certain definitions need to be in order. The PDF needs to be saved as version 1.4, as the compression method of the newer versions is not compatible with the plugin. File proportions and resolution need to be right as well. Naturally it’s also important to determine the right color space for the file, in order for the colors to appear as desired in print.

Next, we’ll go through exporting a file from the affordable Affinity Photo software into PDF. You can of course make the PDF with e.g. Adobe software (InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop) as well, in which case the phases are a bit different, but the color and size definitions will be the same. Why we use Affinity Photo as an example, is because you can purchase it for a single payment of EUR 60, compared to the more expensive Adobe programs with monthly fees.

Color Definitions for a Print-Ready PDF

Any publication meant to be sent for print, requires a so called CMYK color profile. The color profile for digital contents is always RGB and this is the assumption for e.g. photos as well (cameras often use AdobeRGB or sRGB). RGB (red, green, blue) color profile is based on the light sources within a device that create a desired color by mixing red, green and blue. However, when a file (with colors) is sent for print, it should be in CMYK format, in order for the colors to appear right when printed.

CMYK is short for the words Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key/Black. A press machine creates images and texts by combining the physical blue, red, yellow and black inks or paints in determined proportions. Many desktop printers have in-built programs, which turn RGB colors into CMYK colors, so if a file is printed self, you shouldn’t adjust them to a CMYK profile.

Size Definitions for a Print-Ready PDF

For a PDF file to appear right in the publication, in other words for it to fill the page from corner to corner, it needs to be a certain size. This size is determined by the resolution (DPI) and dimensions (px x px) of the file. Resolution, or DPI / PPI defines how accurate the image is – in other words how many dots or pixels per inch it has. The higher DPI an image has, the better its resolution is. On the other hand, the required resolution depends on the size of the original image as well as the desired quality of the end product.

How to Make the Definitions

The best way to make sure your definitions are right, is to start by creating a new document and adjusting its definitions from the get-go.

So, if you create a PDF file or an image for print, set its color format to CMYK. Also set its size right. In Affinity Photo, do as follows:

  • Open Affinity Photo and select a new document
  • Make the following determinations
    • Type: Print (Press-Ready)
    • Document Units: Pixels
    • Colour Format: CMYK/8
    • Colour Profile: Coated FOGRA39 (ISO 12647-2:2004) *
    • Page Width: 1306 px **
    • Page Height: 1800 px **
    • DPI: 144 **

* The color profile can vary from print house to print house. If in doubt, contact your print provider to make sure you have the right profile.
** With these adjustments, you get an image with a DPI 144 precision, that is A4 size and has the bleeds required by

Affinity Photo - uuden dokumentin määritykset PDF-tiedostoon
  • Click ok
  • Create your document (e.g. for a cover, add a background image and headlines)
    • Make sure your color profile remains right. You can check your color profile by clicking on the hand image on the top-left corner.
  • Once the document is finished, you can export it into PDF (File –> Export):
    • From Export Settings, select “PDF”, preset “PDF (for print)” and tick the box “Don’t export layers hidden by Export persona”. Then click “More”.
  • In the window that opens, select compatibility: “PDF 1.4 (Acrobat 5)”. Also select the ICC Profile “Coated FOGRA39 (ISO 12647-2:2004)”
  • Close the window by clicking “Close” so you will get back to the export window. Make sure your Raster DPI is 300 and click “Export”.

Add the PDF file into your publication

Once you’ve created the PDF with the right definitions, adding it to a publication is simple. PDF is added to a new post with no other content. Adding the PDF is as straightforward as adding an image.

  1. Create a new WordPress post by selecting Posts –> Add New
  2. Add a title to the post (like “Cover 1/2020”). This title won’t be shown anywhere else but in your dashboard.
  3. Go to your PDF Options bar on the right-side of the text editor.
  4. Make your selections for print (“Generate PDF”, PDF Quality = “Print”, Heading position = either one, Select theme = either one, Publications = select the publication you want the PDF to appear in).
  5. Add the PDF by selecting Add PDF Page –> Upload PDF
    • Upload files –> Select files –> Select
  6. Save the draft and preview the PDF file generated (“View PDF”)

The PDF should now appear right in the preview window. Once it’s done, be sure to drag the cover post to its right location in the publication. The post itself doesn’t have to be published, it can remain as draft.