Troubleshooting PDF Export Errors

If your PDF won’t export, or if if the Print preview won’t render, there is probably something not formatted quite right in your book somewhere. This page will help you find, diagnose and fix the error to get your PDF exporting and ready to publish!

Start Here

If you’ve received any kind of error, the first thing you’ll want to do is ensure Atticus is fully up to date and refreshed.

  1. Log out of Atticus by clicking on the profile icon in the top right.
  2. Check to make sure there are no updates pending in either your browser or your operating system. If there are, please complete the updates and restart your computer.
  3. Go to and log back in
  4. Do a hard refresh 

Performing a hard refresh every time you open Atticus is a great habit to get into. This will ensure that every improvement, update, or tweak made since the last time you refreshed is integrated into your system. 

Windows Chrome Users: Press CTRL + Shift + R
Mac Chrome Users: Press CMD + Shift + R
Safari Users: Press Option + Command + E
Explorer Users: Press CTRL + F5

Try exporting again.

If you’re still not able to export, continue with the following.

Advanced Settings

There is currently a tiny glitch affecting a very select few books, depending on a combination of odd formatting factors. The first step in diagnosis is to give this a try:

  1. Click Formatting from the top center
  2. Scroll to the very bottom and open the Advanced Settings Menu
  3. Change the Layout Priority to Balanced Page Spread
  4. Try exporting again
Screenshot of Advanced Settings in Atticus highlighting the Balanced Page Spread
Right click to Open image in new tab for a larger image.

If that still doesn’t work, continue with the following.

Locate the Problem

To find the page(s) or chapter(s)s where the trouble is occurring, go through this process:

  1. Open your book in Atticus
  2. Click on Formatting from the top center and Content from the top left
  3. Change the preview to Print by clicking the dropdown menu just on top of the previewer
  4. Click on your Title Page and let the PDF render
  5. One by one, click through each of the pages and chapters in your book, letting the Previewer render the book each time

NOTE: Skip the Table of Contents. Do not click on this page while testing.

Identify the Error

When you’ve located the page or chapter having the trouble, the majority of errors are caused either by content that has been copy/pasted from other programs, improperly formatted lists or block quotes, or images that do not fit within the limitations of the printed page.

Copy/Pasted Content

If, at any point in your book, you have copy/pasted content from any program outside of Atticus, please do the following:

  1. Highlight anything that was pasted from outside Atticus
  2. Cut it by pressing CTRL or CMD X
  3. Paste it back in place without formatting:
    • Press CTRL or CMD + SHIFT + V or
    • right click and choosing “Paste as plain text”

NOTE: Pasting from other programs will often bring foreign coding with it, causing the odd formatting issues. Whenever you’re pasting into Atticus we recommend pasting without formatting. This should clear up and prevent formatting issues, but you will have to reapply any special formatting you may want, such as URLs, italicized or bolded text, etc.

Lists and/or Block Quotes

If, at any point in your book, you have created a list or block quote, even if you have since deleted that list or block quote, please do the following:

  1. Highlight the paragraph before and after the list/block quote along with the list itself
  2. Cut by pressing CTRL or CMD X
  3. Paste it back in place without formatting:
    • Press CTRL or CMD + SHIFT + V or
    • Right click and choosing “Paste as plain text”
  4. Make sure the spacing is correct for the elements of your list/block quote
  5. Highlight the list/block quote once more, being very sure not to include any extra spaces above or below
  6. Reapply the formatting in Atticus

Try previewing again after that.

Blank Space | Hidden Formatting

If you had inserted a subheading, list or block quote at some time, but removed it, it may have left behind invisible coding in a blank space. Anywhere there is an extra large gap between paragraphs, delete it and try previewing again.

Screenshot of Atticus with 2 highlighted paragraphs, showing a blank line between them. The blank line has hiddent/invisible formatting that needs to be deleted.
Right click to Open image in new tab for a larger image.

Accidental Indents

In some cases, a broken list may leave an accidental indent, showing the hidden formatting. If you see any locations in your book like this, you’ll want to highlight this section, cut it, and paste it back in place without formatting.

Screenshot of a section of text in Atticus that has an indent where it shouldn't. This is accidental formatting left over from an improperly formatted list or block quote
Right click to Open image in new tab for a larger image.


If you have any images within the body content of a page or a chapter, you will need to make sure they are not larger than will physically fit on the page. To test if this is the problem:

  1. Click the gear icon to the top right of the image
  2. Resize it to 50%
  3. Try previewing again
    • If that helps and the preview shows, you can tweak the sizing to fit it how you want it
    • If it does not work, try making the image even smaller, 20%
Screenshot of the Edit Image popup, setting the image size to 50% to ensure it fits physically on the printed page
Right click to Open image in new tab for a larger image.


Hopefully one of these solutions has fixed the trouble with your PDF and you are now ready to proof or publish! If you are still having trouble, please contact our support team again, and be sure to let them know everything you’ve worked through in as much detail as possible. The more information you can provide, the more quickly they’ll be able to help!

Last Updated: 05/31/2023

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