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How It Works from Clearstory on Vimeo.

How It Works

Many people ask us how to create a book and are surprised at how easy it is. To build a book with Clearbooks, simply download the free software, upload your photos and text, choose from many sophisticated pre-designed templates, and voila! You’re done.

We’ll print your book at our state-of-the-art digital book printing facility in San Diego, California. So, if you’re trying to figure out how to create your own book, you’ve come to the right place.

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Find out how to make a book with the step-by-step instructions provided below:

Download Our Free Software

To download our software, go to our start creating page


Create a New Project


Open An Existing Project

Choose Product Type

This is where you choose from our selection of Product Types. Click on a Product Type to highlight it, then click Next.

Choose Product

Here you will find the size and cover options available for the Product Type you have chosen. Upon checkout you will have the option to choose cover material*.

*Cover Material options are not available for Photo Wrapped or Soft Cover Book Products.

Name Your Project

After naming your Project, you are now ready to start laying out your book.

Main Layout Panel

The red highlighted section in the center of the picture shows the Main Layout Panel. Here you can view and change your layouts for each page.


Pictures Panel

To upload pictures, click the + symbol at the top of the panel.

  • Add Individual Picture Files
  • Add Folder Containing Pictures

This panel lists the Pictures that are currently loaded in your Project.

Pages Panel

Click on a page in the Pages panel to view that page in the Main Layout panel. The current page shown in the Main Layout panel will have a blue outline in the Pages panel. You can also add, insert or delete pages by using the Pages Menu.

Page Styles Panel

You will find all the available page layout designs for your Project at the bottom of the application, shown here in red.

Picture/Text Tool Panel

The Picture/Text Tool Panel is highlighted in red along the right side of the screen.ize text, background color and Picture Box options from this panel.


You have the option of manually placing pictures and page layouts, or click on Autoflow to choose the layouts and images for you. Autoflow will automatically insert Page Styles and/or Pictures onto blank Pages and blank Picture Boxes. You can still change the layout and replace pictures afterwards simply by dragging a different Page Style onto a page in the Main Layout panel, or dragging another picture from the Pictures panel into a Picture Box.


*Please note that you can’t delete a picture, you can only replace it by dragging another picture on top of it.

Changing Layouts

Add/change the layout styles (even when you have used Autoflow) by simply clicking on the page you want changed (from the Pages panel), then dragging a layout from the Page Styles panel onto the Main Layout panel.*

*Dragging a new layout over existing layouts with Pictures already added may re-arrange the order of those Pictures on the Main Layout.

Adding or Replacing Pictures

After adding a Page Style to a page, add or replace pictures by dragging and dropping any picture from the Pictures panel onto Picture Boxes

Picture Editing

Double click on a Picture Box to change the picture’s position/size in the box.

Picture Enhancement

Use Picture Enhancement from the Picture/Text Tool panel to adjust your picture’s color mode, brightness and contrast.

Picture Orientation

Click on the checkboxes under Orientation to flip your selected picture horizontally or vertically within the Picture Box.

External Editor

If you prefer to use your own photo editing software, such as Photoshop, choose Preferences from the application menu to choose an External Editor. Afterwards, you can right-click (or control click if you are on a Mac) on any image in your layout to access the External Editor.

Background Image

Product Types that have an option for adding/changing the Background Image will have a tab
in the Page Styles panel if available.*

*The option to change the page background color is available for every product type.


Double click on any text on the Main Layout to highlight the text. You can change the font/text properties in the Picture/Text Tool panel.

Color and Opacity

Click on a shape to alter its color or opacity.

Checking Your Project

Use Check Project from the File Menu to check your Project for errors such as low resolution images, blank picture boxes, missing images, etc.


Use Preview as a convenient way to view your book on screen without the clutter of the application panels.

Changing Your Product

If you decide during your project that you would like to change or upgrade your book cover, you can switch without leaving the current project that you are in by clicking on Change Product from the Toolbar panel. This will bring up all available cover options of the Product you are currently using. Pictures and Page Styles that have been assigned to a Page or Picture Box will automatically transfer to the new Product.*

*Pricing may vary depending on Product Type

Placing Your Order

Once you are finished laying out your book, you can use Order from the File Menu, or click on the Shopping Cart icon, which is on the far right side of the Toolbar. You will need to read and agree to the terms of Our Disclaimer.

Creating an Account/Logging In

Once you’ve agreed to Our Disclaimer, a page will open on your web browser asking you to Log In, or Create an Account. Your account will include Bill To/Ship To information. This will only take a few moments..

Confirm Order Details

Here you will be able to choose a Paper Type, Cover Material, and Quantity for your order.

Shipping/Billing Info

Confirm your Shipping and Billing Addresses, and then choose your preferred Shipping Method.

Payment and Final Order Confirmation

Review the details of your order one more time. Click Confirm Order to submit your order. You will be redirected to Authorize.net to fill out your credit card information. Once you’ve done this, an Order Confirmation will appear with your order number. Your files will automatically upload to our server at this point.

Order Completion

Congratulations! Your book will be ready soon.