Convert PDF to ePub

You can easily make an ebook by converting file types

Image of a person reading an ePub ebook

Jesus Sierra / Getty Images

Wondering how to make an ebook? Get a good start by formatting the original document properly before you create the PDF file. Then, use a PDF to ebook converter to convert PDF to ePub.

This tutorial uses Calibre to convert PDF to ePub. Calibre is a desktop ePub converter for Windows, macOS, and Linux. It’s open source and available as a free download.

Format the PDF Correctly Before You Convert PDF to ePub

A PDF file starts out as another type of file before it is converted to PDF format. Most PDF files are created in a word processor, such as Microsoft Word.

If you use Microsoft Word, select File > Export to create a PDF file from a Word document.

Make sure your original document file is set up and formatted properly. When your PDF is properly formatted, you’ll avoid problems when reading your ePub file.

The trick to creating a PDF file that converts properly into ePub is to set up the pages in a way that can be read by an e-reader and to use the word processor’s built-in formatting styles. Here are a few tips:

  • Use styles to format headings, indented paragraphs, numbered lists, and bullet lists.
  • Use page breaks when you intentionally want a page to stop at a particular spot. For example, at the end of each chapter.
  • Choose an 8.5” x 11” page size with a portrait orientation and .5-inch margins.
  • Left align or center align the paragraphs.
  • Use a single font for the text. Recommended fonts are Ariel, Times New Roman, and Courier.
  • Use 12 pt font size for body text and 14 pt to 18 pt for headings.
  • Create images in JPEG or PNG format with a maximum size of 600 px tall and 550 px wide. Images should be in RGB color mode and 72 DPI.
  • Do not wrap text around images. Use inline images where the text is above and below the image.

How to Use a PDF to eBook Converter to Create an ePub

After your PDF file is formatted correctly, open your favorite file conversion app and convert the PDF to ePub. There are a variety of ebook converters; the one you choose depends on whether you want to use a desktop app or an online tool and how much control you want over the final ebook.

Here’s how to make an e-book by converting a PDF file into ePub format using Calibre:

  1. Open Calibre.

  2. Select Add books to open the select book window.

    A screenshot showing the Calibre main window

    If you want to add more than one file to the library, select the Add books down arrow and choose an option to add multiple books.

  3. Navigate to the folder containing the PDF file you want to convert.

  4. Select the PDF file, then select Open. The PDF file is added to your Library list.

  5. Select the PDF file.

    A screenshot showing the Calibre library with a PDF file selected for conversion to ePub
  6. Select Convert books to open the Convert dialog box.

  7. Select the Output format down arrow and choose EPUB.

    A screenshot showing how to convert PDF to ePub in Calibre
  8. Edit the title, author, tags, and other metadata fields as needed.

    Select Look & feel to change the font size and paragraph spacing.

  9. Select OK when you’re done customizing options that will be applied to the converted file.

  10. Expand Formats and select EPUB to find the ePub file.

    A screenshot showing the location of the converted ePub file in the Calibre library
  11. Select the ePub file, select the View down arrow, then select View with calibre E-book viewer to view the file.

  12. Select the Next page and Previous page icons to review the ePub file output.

    screenshot of calibre
  13. When you're finished reviewing the ePub file, close the viewer to return to the Calibre library.