Troubleshooting guide

Product: FlippingBook Online

FlippingBook Online is designed to work flawlessly. But like all systems, we have limitations that you may run into (your PDF having too many pages or being too big). And sometimes things just go wrong. In these cases, our Customer Support team is here to help you! Contact us over chat (click on the icon in the bottom right corner) or leave us a message. But if you want to give it a try yourself, then this article will give you tips on how to deal with some situations that occasionally come up:

Possible issues/error messages

Should your problem not be listed here, then we’d really advise you to contact our support team!

Solutions

 

Size limit exceeded - The publication couldn’t be created, because the size of the PDF exceeds 500 MB.

We have a hard limit of 500MB for uploads. That should be enough for pretty much any PDF. If you exceed this limit, then the most likely reason is that your PDF itself is not optimized. For example, if you added pictures with way more detail than can be shown on even a high-quality screen, but there are many other possible reasons. 

Fortunately, there are easy ways to trim such overweight PDFs:

  1. Smallpdf.com is our favorite. Smallpdf is an online service that often achieves spectacular results, without any visible loss of quality. You simply upload your file, press the Compress button, and you can then download a compressed version. SmallPDF offers free and paid versions. Obviously, the paid version does a bit more but even the free version often achieves reductions of 80% or more.

  2. If you have Adobe Acrobat Pro (the paid version, not the free Adobe Reader), then you can also use that to optimize your PDF and reduce its size. It allows much more control over what to compress and how much than online tools. A full description of all the options is available in Adobe’s article but if you are after quick results then please try to:
    1. Open your PDF in Adobe Acrobat Pro.
    2. Go to File -> Save as other -> Optimized PDF.
    3. Tick the checkboxes Images, Fonts, and Transparency and clear the others.
    4. Press OK and save your new PDF.
 

Page limit exceeded -  The publication couldn’t be created, because the PDF has over 2,000 pages. Please try again with a different PDF.

Sorry, we have a hard limit on the number of pages allowed in a single PDF. Such large documents are very hard to handle, not just for us, but probably also for your end-users. The only way around it is to split your PDF into separate chapters. There are several online tools available that you can use to split a single PDF into several parts. We think that ilovepdf.com does a great job here.  

 

Wrong format - The publication couldn’t be created - you may have used a file in the wrong format. 

Our service only accepts PDF files. Maybe you selected a non-PDF file or someone changed the extension from a non-PDF file to .pdf. To test if you are using a proper PDF, you can try to open the file that you tried to upload in a PDF reader (like Adobe Acrobat Reader). If it works fine there, then contact our support team for further assistance. But if your file originally was in another format (like Microsoft Word) then you can probably convert it to a proper PDF file. Check out our article about converting your content to PDF for more details.

 

“Something bad has happened. Check browser console for details.”

There are two common reasons for this error to appear: either something is wrong on our end, or something there is a problem with your browser. We would suggest you to:

  1. Reload the page by pressing ctrl + F5 (on Windows) or Apple + R / command + R (on Mac/Apple). This reloads the page from the server, bypassing any cached data.
  2. If the first step doesn’t solve the issue, then try to log in to FlippingBook Online with a different browser
    • If you still see an error message, then most likely something is wrong on our end. Please contact our support staff.
    • If it works fine in the other browser, but in your default browser you still get an error message, then you will probably have to clear the browser’s cache.
 

“We couldn’t create your publication. See the error details below or talk about this issue with our support team.” or “We couldn’t save the latest changes for your publication”

This error indicates a problem during the conversion of your PDF. The error message “We couldn’t create your publication.” appears when you try to create a new publication, whereas “We couldn’t save the latest changes for your publication” comes up when you tried to update the PDF in an existing publication. In that case, we keep the previous version of your publication active. 

To see what the exact reason was, you can unfold the small arrow.

The following error messages indicate a problem that you may be able to resolve yourself:

  • UnsupportedPdf  
    Some PDFs are enriched with forms that you can fill out. Unfortunately, we only support plain PDFs. This type of PDFs is called XFA, and as Adobe itself says “In many ways, the XFA PDF file format is closer to an HTML file than it is to a traditional PDF file.“
    If you have Adobe Acrobat Pro, then you can ‘distill’ the PDF to turn it back into an ordinary PDF, which you can import without any problem. Follow these steps to distill your PDF.

  • BadPdfFormat
    If you see this error message then you uploaded a corrupted PDF. You can try to open it in a PDF reader like Adobe Acrobat but in 99% of the cases that will not work there either. There is just something wrong with the file. Try to generate a new PDF from the program that you created your content in (or ask your designer to do that). You could try to repair your PDF with a repair tool like ilovepdf.com. But even if it works, then chances are that some pages will be removed or appear blank. So check the result carefully!

  • Timeout:
    To prevent broken PDFs from hanging up our service completely, we have some added limits on how it can take to convert a page. If a page takes more time than this limit, we assume that something is wrong and cancel it. What can you do?
    1. Try again in 15-30 minutes. It is possible that some of your pages are complex AND our servers are very busy. If you try again later, then our server load may have decreased and even your complex pages may be converted inside the limit.
    2. Check your PDF: sometimes we see pictures in PDFs that consist of thousands of objects - typically in engineering schemes, floorplans, blueprints or similar diagrams that are created in AutoCAD, Illustrator, Visio, or similar tools. This level of detail is probably very important when you actually build those conveyor belts, houses, or whatever the diagrams represent, but for creating a flipbook they are massive overkill. Below you can see a tiny part of the picture in the PDF on the left, and 12x zoomed-in Adobe Acrobat. Look at the massive amount of objects here! 

      All the blue boxes are individual objects, and this is just the tiny part of the image in the red box. All these thousands of objects have to be processed by our conversion software, which can cause the timeout limit to be exceeded.
      We’d suggest asking the designer of the PDF to not use a native export from AutoCAD (or whatever software they use) but just create a high-quality PNG image. That contains all the detail that you ever need (you can't zoom in to this level anyway in FlippingBook) and is converted in seconds.​
 

No error message but your publication looks different from your original PDF

PDF is a very complex format in itself. To convert it into something else is even more difficult. Sometimes we can’t apply some internal coding in your PDF correctly, which can cause the output to look different from the original. This can often be resolved in Adobe Acrobat Pro by simplifying the internal structure of the PDF - a process known as ‘distilling’. This is done as follows:

  1. Open the PDF in Adobe Acrobat Pro and click on File > Save As > Other > PostScript.
  2. Choose a new name for your output file.
  3. After the PostScript file is generated, double click on it. That will open Adobe Distiller, which generates a new PDF file.
    Make sure that High Quality Print is chosen in the Default Settings field.
  4. Wait until the progress bar shows that conversion is completed. 

An unfortunate side effect of Adobe Distiller is that it removes links and bookmarks from your PDF. If your PDF contained those (and it is important to you that they end up in your flipbook), then you can reinstate them as follows:

  1. Open the original PDF file in Acrobat
  2. Select the Organize Pages tool.
  3. Select all of the pages by pressing Ctrl+A
  4. Right-click and select the option Replace pages...
  5. Choose the distilled version of the PDF file as a source.
  6. Wait until the process is completed and save the file.
  7. Upload the new PDF to FlippingBook Online

If for some reason this issue isn’t resolved even after you save the PDF as a postscript, please, contact our Customer Support at support@flippingbook.com.​

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