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How to Prepare and Use Images – How to Make an Ebook Series

by Rob O'Byrne on December 5, 2012

In this lesson, you’ll learn how to insert images for a professional ebook conversion.

How to Prepare and Use Images For a Professional Ebook Conversion – is part of our ongoing How to Make an Ebook Series, as part of our Professional Ebook Conversion and Kindle Formatting Service.

Inserting Images

Continuing on in our How to Make an Ebook Series, our subject today is images. Lots of books have them—fiction included. Every aspect of your ebook must look professionally done and clean, and images are no exception to the rule. The good news is, it’s very easy to insert images into a Word doc and make it look great on the Kindle. Before we get started, though, I’ll give you a concise list of things not to do. They’re just as important as the things to do.

Things Not to Do

• Don’t try wrap-around text. Keep all text either below or above your images because the ebook conversion process can only process images that are inline. If you’re doing something that requires wrap-around text, like a coffee-table book or a children’s book, there are other measures you can take. Feel free to contact us about that.

• Don’t make your images enormous. A Kindle screen is only so big, and besides that, there are file-size limits to what you can upload to Amazon as well as other book venues.

• Don’t use any image file format other than PNG.

What You Might Need

There are only two programs you need to either acquire an image, or alter one. You may not need either one, but they are really great to have.

• Adobe Photoshop—the word “photoshopped” is synonymous with images that have been altered. There’s a good reason. There’s almost nothing Photoshop can’t do to change your image to your liking. The most likely thing you’re liable to change is, of course, image size.

• SnagIt—this is the program I like to use if I need to take a screenshot of something on my computer screen. If you take all your pictures yourself with a camera, or if you just get them from the Web, you don’t need this.

Reasons for Taking a Screenshot

The main reason people take screenshots is because they can’t get the image they want from the Web or from their camera. Taking a screenshot allows you to take a picture of anything you want on your screen. This is great for graphs and charts, because graphs and charts as a rule look pretty poor on a Kindle. As an image, it will look great.

Also, you can take screenshots of information from PDF files, Microsoft Excel (or any Microsoft Office program), weather charts, charts from government data websites—you name it.

Both Mac and PC have built-in software that will take screenshots for you. I prefer SnagIt. It’s easy, precise, has a lot of good options, and overall, I think it’s better than the default built-in screenshot program.

Preparatory Work

Before you start inserting your images, there are a few things you want to keep in mind. Size, mostly. That brings us to…

File Size Limit

Different book venues have different size limits. We’ll just worry about Amazon’s for now. Their limit is 50MB. If you go to publish, and it says your file exceeds the size limit, there’s a 99% chance that your images are too large. Reducing the size will take care of the issue.

Image Size Limit

Use your picture editor to adjust the size of your images, making sure that they do not exceed the size limit for e-readers. The size limit is currently 560 pixels wide by 740 pixels in height. In addition, set your pixels per inch to 150. Be sure to save or export your image as a PNG file, not JPG. Ebooks can use JPG files, but they won’t look as good as PNGs.

Inserting the Image

For PC

To insert the image into Word, go to your “Insert” tab on the top toolbar of Word. Then click on “Picture.”

Image of what to do in order to insert an image in Microsoft Word

This will open up your file browser. From there, go the folder where you keep your images and insert the desired image.

For Mac

Click on Insert in the menu at the top, go down to Photo and then choose Picture from File.

Mac insert image

Center the Image

If your Normal style is set to have a first-line indent, make sure the image is centered properly by backspacing it until it’s fully left aligned, and then center it. If you center something with a first-line indent, it will be right of center unless you un-indent if first.

That’s Pretty Much It

There isn’t much more to it, really. Amazon’s conversion software will insert the image in the MOBI file exactly where it’s placed in your Word doc. If it doesn’t, chances are your image file is somehow corrupted, but that’s rare.

A Word on Adobe Photoshop

I am constantly amazed and impressed with Deb, our design and image expert. My reverence for her stems from the fact that Photoshop is a very difficult and vastly complicated program to master—there are literally hundreds of different tools, options, and ways to alter images—all beyond the scope of my limited understanding of visual design. So, thanks Deb, for handling everything design and image-related that goes awry. You rock!

You’re Done!

Preparing and using images for an ebook conversion isn’t difficult at all. Chances are your image will be close enough to the right size, and complicated alterations in Adobe Photoshop won’t be necessary. So, as quick overview:

1.  Go to your “Insert” tab and click on the “Picture” icon.

2.  That will open your file browser and then double click on your image file.

3.  Make sure your image is fully left aligned, and then center it. If you don’t want your image centered, that’s okay, too.

4.  Voila!

Those four steps is all it really takes to have great and professional-looking images in your ebook. Easier than you thought, right? Once again:

Stay Motivated

I encourage anyone who’s interested in making their own ebook to continue reading our articles for our ongoing How to Make an Ebook Series, as part of our Professional Ebook Conversion and Kindle Formatting Service.

Armed with knowledge and the desire to overcome a small learning curve, there’s no doubt that you’ll have your very own professional-looking ebook in no time at all. Stick to your guns, and in addition to saving money converting your own ebook, you might choose to start making money doing ebook conversions for other people as well.

{ 3 comments }

Sb February 8, 2013 at 7:14 pm

Do I need to also insert Page breaks, my images are all over the place after conversions with smashwords.

Chris O'Byrne February 8, 2013 at 7:24 pm

What do you mean by all over the place?

sb February 8, 2013 at 8:45 pm

Well, the images are dislocated after conversion, they dont remain at the same spot as I had placed them in doc.

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