Bible QC

Review the following when planning the design of, or checking a completed, Bible.

This checklist is intended to address aspects for the interior designs of all Bibles. Used in coordination with the specific requirements of different Bible versions, this list provides a guide for considering all required and optional aspects during initial design of a Bible as well as the review of a completed typeset.

Design Creation and Approval

What is the trim size?

Minimum size of margins/gutter?

Other printer requirements?


Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical books (if applicable for the translation)

Translator’s notes


Commentary/study notes

Bible book introductions

Bible section introductions (e.g., OT, NT, Pentateuch, Historical Books, etc.)



Reading calendar


The following chapters are usually a good representative sample from which to judge key design aspects: Genesis 1, Exodus 20, Ezra 4, Psalms 1-5, Daniel 4, Matthew 1-5, Galatians 2 and Revelation 7.

The design should be approved by:

Whoever will proofread (e.g., Peachtree)

Any organization licensing the use of the particular Bible translation

The printer (if applicable)

It is recommended that you print sample pages to review at 100%. Note the thickness of the paper to be used in the final printing and review samples from the printer for aspects like bleed-through.


By book, chapter, or verse? Alpha or numeric characters? Use InDesign’s symbols for automated footnotes?

One uniform font-style, or match the styling of surrounding text (when appearing in a head, or in italicized sections)?

Same as base font?


Rule above?

Spacing above?

Rule between cross-refs and translator’s notes, if applicable?

Fixed width space or em space between each cross reference?

Looseness preferable to tightness?

Center-column or bottom of page?

If center-column, how are they treated? Top-aligned, justified with space above notes, or broken into top/bottom for a two column bible.

How should runover boxes be treated if the number of center-column cross-references cannot fit in the designated area?


Are there special requirements for tertiary indents (the length of indents for three levels of poetry, including the indentation of the turnovers)?

Should verse numbers, quotation marks, or note sigla hang at the beginning of poetry, list, and letter lines?

Connect with text or keep at left margin?

Special alignment required?

Scribe’s default is not to allow poetry to hyphenate.

Does the “Selah” refrain appear in this translation and how does it render?

Right-aligned on its own line?

Connected to preceding text but tabbed right?

No special treatment?

Head Elements

Space above Book titles/numbers (if applicable)?

Psalm 119: Spacing/alignment of Hebrew words/characters in heads (if applicable)?

What is included in the running heads?

Include pericopes/chapter titles, and so on?

Include only book and chapter number range?

Do books with only one chapter use “1:” or just the verse number?

Scribe’s default is to include “Book chapter:verse” (first instance on verso page; last instance on recto page) and to use only the verse number for books with only one chapter.

If only one Psalm on page, should running head say “Psalm” instead of “Psalms”?

All-caps, small-caps, title case?

Examples: inline images, decorative additions

Are Bible chapter numbers embedded, or do they appear on their own line along with the book title?

Special considerations: Psalm numbers and one-chapter books such as Obadiah, Philemon, 2 John, 3 John, Jude

If chapter numbers are embedded, should a verse 1 numeral appear next to them or should it be removed?

How should embedded heads be treated if a paragraph is only one line long?

Page Placement

Is “The Old Testament” page 1, with “Genesis” starting on page 3? Or is Genesis page 1?

Do Bible books start on new page or continue on same page following the end of the previous book?

Can a Bible book start on same page as intro if intro text is short?

In two-column Bibles, can the right-hand column end short, must columns always end evenly?

Can exceptions be made if an instance is problematic within the design?


Is there a hyphenation list to follow or other hyphenation requirements?

Some words/names that are typicaly not permitted to hyphenate: Aaron, Achish, blessed, Ephron, Jesus, Moses

Combining Unicode?

Specific fonts needed?

Stipulations for hanging elements (poetry, lists, etc.) and variations at beginning of line (verse numbers, quotation marks, note sigla)

Example: Some translations may require special treatment for a section like the Ten Commandments.

Stipulations for words spoken by Jesus in the New Testament.

Red text? Bold text? No special rendering at all?

How to render dialogue speaker letter/name in the Song of Songs/Song of Solomon (if applicable).

Tolerance of letter, word, and punctuation stacks?

Is hyphenation across columns acceptable?

It is recommended that a text integrity check be performed at the completion of all Bible typesets. In addition to full file reviews (proofreading, standard typeset quality control checks), a comparison of the text against the Bible's database can reveal if any errors have been introduced during the typesetting process.