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Printing A Booklet

Part of the current assignment, Once Upon A Type, each student is required to design and make a book or booklet. This is a daunting task, even for a seasoned designer and requires some technical skills that most beginning students don’t have yet. Most of the binding skills are craft related and require patients and hand skills. If you choose a saddle stitch binding method as opposed to a single sheet binding method like post bound or Japanese stab binding, the printing solution will require printing on both sides of the paper. This is a simple process in the commercial offset printing industry but a bit tricky for self-printing with desktop printers. One method is to print one side turn the page over and then manually feed it back through the printer for the back side. Some desktop printers are capable of printing on the back side without feeding the paper back through the printer. This is usually called duplexing. Either method works but the registration is rarely close enough for close bleeds. Usually you can adjust the registration by selecting all the elements on the back page and moving them in the document to align when printed. In a saddle stitch book you must work in page numbers that are multiples of 4 because each sheet of paper contains 4 pages. This also presents a page pagination problem. The normal method of working on a 2-page spread is in normal sequence. Pages 1-2, next 3-4 etc. (this is called reader spreads) but to print so the pages align properly (printer spreads) must be used. Example; in a 12 page book, page 1 would be on the right side of the spread and page 12 would be on the left. The next spread would be page 11 on the right and page 2 on the left. The next spread would be page 3 on the right and page 10 on the left and so on. When the pages are folded and put together the sequence of numbers goes back to a normal 1,2,3,4 etc. If you choose to work in Illustrator you will need to manually create your spreads like this. I recommend InDesign because it allows you to work in reader spreads and when you are finished you can print to booklet and it will automatically rearrange your pages into printer spreads. This is much easier. There is one problem with this method and our normal work flow in the Print Center. As you probably know we prefer to work in a PDF work flow. It is a little difficult to save your work in a PDF format while using the print to booklet feature. Here’s how:

First create your page layout in InDesign. Make sure you set up the correct page size in document setup and that you have the right number of pages (multiples of 4.) Also, remember to set up your bleeds, I recommend a minimum of .125 inch on all sides. There is one other important aspect about this method, there can’t be blank pages. If there are pages with no information on them they will be dropped and not counted when you select “Print Booklet.” The easy work around for this problem is to create an invisible box on each page that is blank. Use the rectangle tool and draw a box with no fill or line weight. The page will now be counted but will appear blank. When you are finished go to File, Print Booklet.

Print Booklet

When the print booklet dialog box comes up select print settings. . . at the bottom of the box.

Select print settings

When the Print dialog box comes up select PostScript File from the Printer box. Now here is another tricky part, select a PostScript printer from the PPD box. If you do not have a PostScript printer driver loaded you will not have this option and you will need to load one in System Preferences under Print & Scan. You can download a driver from most of the main printer manufacturer’s websites (i.e. Xerox, Canon etc.) I am using a Savin 4040 because that is the copier/printer in the Design office.

Print dialog box

Print & Scan dialog box in System Preferences

In the Print dialog box after you select a PostScript PPD, click on Setup and select the paper size and orientation then select centered in page position. Next click on Marks and Bleeds and select crop marks under Marks and check Use Document Bleed Settings. Click OK, this should take you back to the Print Booklet box. Set the Booklet Type to 2-up Saddle Stitch and check Automatically Adjust to Fit Marks and Bleeds. Click Print. A Save PostScript File box will pop up. Enter a name in the Save As box then enter a location to save the file i.e. Desktop. Click Save.

Save PostScript File

You now should have a PostScript file with your book in printer spreads ready to print. If you double-click on this file it should open in Preview. You can print from Preview or you can open the PostScript file in Acrobat and save it as a PDF file to print in the Print Center. If you are still having problems, check to make sure you didn’t leave any blank pages. If you have blank pages in your document (any page that has no information) the print booklet feature will not accurately put the pages in order. This is obviously a big problem. . . but there is an easy fix. All you have to do is draw a box on each blank page and fill it with white with no outline. It will not affect the visual appearance but now InDesign will read that “invisible” information and recognize the pages. That’s it. . . simple huh. . . easy peasy.