InDesign can Print that Booklet for You

Posted on Posted in Indesign, Tips and Tricks

A long time ago at a newspaper not so far away, yours truly got his first real life experience putting together a booklet and using signatures. Back then I was using QuarkXpress 5 and was fresh out of college. Ironically I was never taught anything about Quark at my alma mater so I jumped head first into it and learned as I went. My first booklet was a 32 page summer cookbook insert for a special section of our local newspaper. I had to physically draw out my signatures so I made sure everything was in the correct positions. To make a working proof I had to rotating the top pages and arrange them in the correct positions so when cut and folded the pages went in order. My how far we have come although I do still use one technique that I picked up in the old creative services department for making zines that I’ll share a little later. For now, let’s get to why I’m actually writing this post which is the automatic book printing with Indesign.

Lets say we already have our file together with indesign. Everything looks nice and you’re ready to print but you want it to be a nice booklet that you can flip through and be proud to show someone. If you go to File>Print you’ll just get each page one by one. You could click the little checkbox in the printer dialog in the General settings labeled spreads but then you would still have to either glue those pages back to back making an accordion style book, or you could cut them all in half and staple them on the sides, but that doesn’t look very professional. You could go the old way like I did in quark and make sure that your first page and your last page are on the same page. No matter how many times I did this I seemed to have at least one page out of sequence the first time. There has to be an easier way right? Well of course there is.

Print Booklet Menu locationThe command you are looking for is the appropriately named File>Print Booklet. It is under the File menu. Take a quick look through and make sure your print settings are all correct. Truth be told, the first time I used this, I forgot to change my paper orientation and the pages only printed on two thirds of the paper on each page. Luckily I was only printing a proof and not multiple copies.

Print Booklet Dialog Box print-booklet-previewOnce you hit print the next step depends on your printer. Some printers have the capability to print duplex or two-sided. If yours can do it, awesome, you’re one step ahead. For the rest of us, your best bet will be to feed you pages through one at a time so as each one comes through you can flip it over and then print on the blank side. Don’t get frustrated if you print two things on one side, I’ve done in hundreds of times. You could try running through a scrap piece with a mark on it the first time so you can see just which side of the paper your printer uses when you hand feed it.

Now that all of your pages are printed out, we want to bind it. If you have one of those giant staplers that can reach the middle of your paper you can just go ahead, bind it, fold it and you’re done. However, if you don’t have one of those behemoths, there is still hope. You’ll want to take all of your pages and grab two reams of paper. Lay your booklet over the paper and take any swing top stapler and line it up along your spine. You can staple through your pages, bend your staples back, give it a fold and voila. One nice little booklet.

There are tons of ways to bind a booklet at home and this is just one of them. I hope it helps you out. Have a great weekend everyone and I’ll be back with a new post next week.