The difference between a popular document and an also-ran often boils down to the preparation put into its presentation. Preparing your document helps ensure that your content is clear and attractive to your readers. Here are some important things to consider before uploading your content to Scribd.
All pages in your document, including the cover, must be the same size. Mismatched page sizes can lead to formatting irregularities.
The recommended size of your pages depends on how you intend to the display the document on Scribd. Shorter documents are typically displayed in "list mode," which is a continuous scroll. In list mode, a large page size (such as 8.5"x11") is just fine. However, for "book mode", in which pages are displayed side-by-side, narrower pages may improve the readability of your content under most viewing conditions. There's no ideal page size for documents viewed in book mode because the document viewer window can be different sizes on different computers, but you might want to start with pages that are 6"x11" and experiment to see what looks best.
Margins should be consistent across the document. Remember that with Scribd, what you see is what you get, so crop outer margins and trim-lines out of the document before uploading.
Choosing fonts is extremely important to the readability of your document. A badly selected font can be literally painful on the eyes to read.
Serif fonts are ideal for long blocks of unbroken text, like those found in fiction or narratives. Ideal serif fonts include Times New Roman, Garamond, and New Century Schoolbook. Blocks of text should be no smaller than 12pt.
Sans-serif fonts are better for shorter passages of text, headers, and presentations. Sans-serif fonts include Arial, Helvetica, Verdana, and Trebuchet.
Avoid using script or "comic"-style fonts for sentences and paragraphs.
Colors can be complicated. So complicated, in fact, that we can't address all the variables in a short how-to. Instead, remember that in most cases, black text on a white background is ideal. Use bold and italics to emphasize text, not different colors. Colors do not always look the same from monitor to monitor, so avoid very bright or specific colors.
Scribd supports links to other websites in your documents. During the conversion process, Scribd recognizes the links present in your current document, and then duplicates them in the Scribd reader. In other words, if links work in your Word document, PDF file, or PowerPoint presentation, then they'll usually work on Scribd.
Make sure that links work in the original document before you upload.
Scribd does not "linkify" web URLs unless they are already hyperlinked in the original document. In other words, the text "http://scribd.com" will not automatically turn into a link after the document is uploaded to Scribd. You must specifically set the link in the original document before you upload it.
PDFs created through a printer driver (print-to-PDF) typically do not contain working hyperlinks, even though URLs present in the document may appear blue and underlined. If you convert your documents to PDF exclusively through a printer driver, it may be best for you to upload the document in its original format whenever possible. Commercial PDF encoders (such as Adobe Acrobat) and office applications that can save directly to PDF (such as Microsoft Office 2007 and OpenOffice) will create PDFs with working links. Please see our "How do I convert my document to PDF?" FAQ for more information.
Scribd may also have problems parsing the links in Word documents that contain lots of meta-data and tracked changes. In this case, we recommend that you save a fresh copy that does not contain any extraneous data and then upload the new copy.
For professional publications, we strongly recommend uploading your document in PDF format. The PDF format was designed to maintain a documents look and feel across different computers. Word and PowerPoint...weren't. While Scribd accepts uploads as Word docs or PowerPoint presentations, the simple truth is that your document has a better chance of retaining your exact fonts and layout if you upload a PDF.
Designing your cover
The first page of your document will be its cover. Scribd makes a thumbnail image of the cover page and displays it next to the document's entry on browse and search pages. If you want to change or update your cover, you'll need to re-upload a new revision of your document with the new cover as the first page. Scribd will automatically update the thumbnail.
Here are some cover design tips:
Design your cover with a 1"x1.5" thumbnail in mind.
Keep backgrounds simple but visually compelling. Cover designs with visual "pop" are more likely to entice readers to click.
Make sure that lettering is clear and easy to read. A bold sans-serif font is easiest to read at thumbnail size, but many serif fonts are legible as well. Avoid script fonts.
A thin black outline around letters is often helpful in setting it off from a background image. Avoid overuse of drop shadow and other special effects.
Here's an example of a cover that's well-suited to display at thumbnail size.
And here's an example of one that's not.
When uploading content in PDF format, make sure to fill-out the "title" and "author" meta-data fields for your PDF. Without this data, some PDF readers (including Adobe Digital Editions) may not correctly present your document's title and author name. Here's an example of the meta-data panel in Adobe Acrobat, available through the document properties.