Book module

With Lightroom 4 you now have the ability to create and design books via a brand new Book module. While you can output your final layout in PDF form, Lightroom 4 provides a direct link to Blurb, the popular self-publishing service, complete with real-time price estimates that update as you specify book size and add or delete pages.

Whatever type of book you create, you'll spend a good deal of time inspecting its pages. Lightroom 4 offers four view settings. You can cycle through each one using Cmd/Ctrl+plus to zoom in, Cmd/Ctrl+minus to zoom out, or use the view-specific shortcuts shown below.

Multi-Page view (Cmd/Ctrl+E) Spread view (Cmd/Ctrl+R)
Single Page view (Cmd/Ctrl+T) Zoom view (Cmd/Ctrl+U)

Page templates and layout

The Books module is template-driven and while you cannot design a custom page template, Lightroom comes with a large variety of pre-built page designs that accommodate single and multi-image pages, two-page spreads and several image and text combination options.

Lightroom ships with a large selection of pre-built templates spread among 13 descriptive categories to aid searching. You can access the Modify Page flyout menu by clicking on the triangle icon (circled in red) in the Page panel. You can right-click inside the Page panel to add the current layout to a user-defind Favorites category.

The subset of catalog images that will make up your book must reside in a Collection, so the first step, obviously is to create one (a Quick Collection works as well). Once you've organized your image collection in the Library module you navigate to the Books module (Opt+Cmd+4 on a Mac, Alt+Ctrl+4 on Windows) which, by default generates an Auto Layout, creating book pages to accommodate all of the images in your Collection and arranging them in the order in which they have been sorted in the Collection.

If you'd prefer to create and populate book pages manually, you can disable Lightroom's default autofill option by going to Book>Book Preferences and unchecking the 'Start new books by autofilling' option. You can add or delete pages manually by right-clicking on a page thumbnail.

You can move images onto pages by dragging thumbnails from the Filmstrip directly onto a the photo cell of a page. Any preexisting image will in the photo cell will be replaced. You can also click and drag an image already on a page to another page. In this instance, though, the image to be replaced remains in the layout, swapping positions with the image you have just moved.

By default, Lightroom fills an image to its cell borders (a Zoom to Fit option can be set via the Book Preferences box).

Clicking on an image in the layout automatically brings up the Zoom slider (shown here) by which you can scale an image manually.

Moving the slider to the right does not upsample the image. A warning icon will be displayed in the top right corner of the image if the intended zoom results in image resolution below 200ppi.

The Cell panel allows you to specify additional padding for an image's edges in relation to its photo cell border. At the default value of 0 (shown here)  the image butts against the cell border.
Increasing the padding amount (in this case to 99), increases the gap equally on all four sides, which means that the image is being cropped as well.

Design options

Creating a book, even with a selection of great images and pre-built templates, involves a lot of design decisions and fine-tuning. Among the choices you'll have to consider are book size and format. Lightroom  offers five book sizes of square (7 x 7 in. and 12 x 12 in.), portrait (8 x 10 in.), and landscape formats (10 x 8 in. and 13 x 11 in.) You can also designate a background graphic or solid color via the Background panel. A single book destined for Blurb can have as many as 240 pages.

When you choose to print directly via Blurb, you must select a book size and format, cover option, paper type and whether to include the Blurb logo on the last page, which discounts the estimated book price. Should you choose to output directly to a PDF, you get to specify image quality and output profile, file resolution and a specific level of output sharpening.

In order to enter text on a page you must first do one of the following: select a page template that includes a text cell, or enable either a photo caption or page caption option in the Caption panel. Lightroom offers typographic tools that will be familiar to users of page layout programs, with controls such as tracking, leading, kerning and baseline shift available. You cannot, however, import text. You must copy/paste text into one text cell at a time. There is no autoflow option whereby overset text can automatically flow into text cells on additional pages.

The Type panel offers controls for both horizontal and vertical text alignment (highlighted in red). You can also specify text columns and control the gutter spacing between each column.
The opacity of text can be adjusted. Here you see white text at 63% opacity on a blue background. You can name and save your current settings in the Type panel as a preset, for future use.

Saved Books

With all of the planning and hard work that go into a book layout, Lightroom makes an explicit 'Create Saved Book' button available (see below). When you name and save a book it is listed alongside a book icon in the Collections panel. Clicking on it will display the images associated with the book in the Filmstrip of any module. You can even jump straight to the Book module with all of your layout and type settings as you left them by clicking on the arrow that appears to the right of the collection when its highlighted. It's worth noting that these explicit 'Create Saved' options are also available in the Slideshow, Print and Web modules. And once you create this saved collection, Lightroom automatically saves any future changes. The collection will always reflect the most recent changes you have made.

When you hit the 'Create Saved Book' button... ...the images and layout settings of your book are saved in the Collections panel. The icons for the four highlighted collections represent book, slideshow, print and web output respectively.

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