How to print an a5 booklet on a4 paper
October 9, 2015 7:30 AM   Subscribe

I want to print an a5 sized booklet on a4 paper. So basically 8 separate pages would fit on one double-sided a4 sheet, and then I would manually cut the a4 sheet in half down the middle. Is there a simple way to create a document in the order I want it read in and have the pages printed in the right order for folding the booklet, eg the first page and the last page would be on the same sheet just on different sides of it?

I am thinking of using word or scribus but am open to other suggestions. All the instructions I've found focus on creating an a4 booklet with basically 4 pages per a4 sheet but not on how to create an a5 one on a4 paper that you can then cut in half.
posted by ninjablob to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
"psnup" (edit: together with "psbook" - see "man psnup") from "psutils" does this (but on linux - no idea if it's available elsewhere).
posted by andrewcooke at 7:50 AM on October 9, 2015

If you want four sheets per side of A4 paper, you're making an A6 booklet, not A5. From this stackoverflow response, it looks like jPdf Tweak (warning: sourceforge link. ublock will complain) can do it from your A4 source.

Page imposition is hard. If your booklet is more than a couple of sheets, you'll need to factor in creep, the correction for paper thickness to stop your pages creeping away from the margins.
posted by scruss at 8:54 AM on October 9, 2015

8 A5 pages onto two double-sided A4 sheets is pretty easy; Word and PDF printer dialogs can handle this (look for the "Booklet" option in the printer properties). 8 A5 onto ONE A4 is trickier. This is essentially the same problem as printing a longer book: they print a bunch of pages onto both sides of a large sheet, then fold and cut some edges off to give booklets ("signatures") that can be bound together along their spines.

The process you're looking for is called "turn and tumble." The psutils family of programs mentioned by andrewcooke can do it. There are about a bazillion options for how to lay things out, though, so it'll probably take some fiddling to get it to work.

When I did things like this, I found it helpful to draw out page numbers on a sheet, then fold and cut as I intended to do. This let me see which pages needed to end up where on the sheet, and which ones needed to be upside down or whatever. I'm sure professional printers know this stuff cold, but when you only have to do it every couple of years, this is the way to go.

You can probably bodge something together by printing first as two-up PDF, and then printing that in booklet form, but it'll be a PITA.

OP: scruss is right that you're printing an A6 book, not A5.
posted by spacewrench at 8:58 AM on October 9, 2015

I just tried jPDF Tweak. If you choose Shuffle/N-Up → Preset: Booklet 2-Up Fold, you should get what you're looking for.
posted by scruss at 6:46 PM on October 10, 2015

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