[Rx] How to Convert ePub to PDF using Calibre

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Calibre’s defaults for converting ePub to PDF produce a crappy document. Here’s how to solve that problem.

Are you getting ugly pdfs with no margins and odd font sizes without page numbers? Have no fear, there is a very EASY way to solve this problem (well, easy if someone tells you how to do it).

Convert ePub into PDF

1. Get a PDF Screen Friendly Font.

The default serif font isn’t very readable on a screen. Screen text is supposed to be san serif for better reading. I use the free font Open Sans (http://opensans.com/). Install this font on your computer (or you can use Arial or any other san serif font that floats your boat).


2. Launch Calibre, Hit Convert Button.

Tested with Calibre 2.58 [64bit].

Pick the epub file in Calibre and hit the “Convert books” button.


In the tabs off to both sides, select Input format [epub] on the left and Output format [pdf] on right.

3. Change Look & Feel.

Make sure that the Output format on the upper right is PDF. The max line height is 120%. Select to embed the Open Sans font with the Embed font family button.

Now, in the Look & Feel > Styling tab> “Extra CSS,” put:

.calibre {  font-family:"Open Sans";}


                               Don’t hit the OK button yet.

4. Edit Margins in Page Setup.

Left side. Click “Page Setup”. Set the Margins to 50.0 pt


                               Don’t hit the OK button yet.

5. Edit PDF Output.

Go to PDF Output (left side of box) and check on the “Override paper size set in outlook profile.”  There is also an option to put in page numbers. Click that box.


On some documents, the page numbers are oversized and bold. There are other options for page numbers and headers/footers for PDFs.  It appears that manually setting the page number does not center the page number from the bottom of the page to the text and the pdf output page number is closer to the text. An imperfect fix is to add a line using the HTML in the Footer template.

<p style="text-align:center; font-size:20px">_PAGENUM_</p>

Watch the quotation marks. Smart quotes don’t work.

6. Generate PDF.

Click the [OK button] on the bottom right and generate your pdf.

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                       Now! Hit the OK button.

Wow. That is some nice looking pdf on your screen.

Note: On the off chance that you get a Conversion Error and a failure message, you can try converting the ePub to AZW and then converting the AZW to PDF.

7. Don’t Forget to Reset Defaults.

You’re not done yet.  The dialog box closes after you click the OK button. The PDF settings were saved and they’ll goof up other eBook format conversions.



Click on [Restore Defaults] and that will reset everything. Just [Cancel] to get out.

Much Improved Results

The pdf should should be very readable on-screen.


That’s it folks!