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Sorry about the ambiguous title. I have a PDF file of A5 pages I'd like to print as a booklet. I have Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat and the rest of CS6 — although I didn't use it to produce the PDF. I don't think that's relevant; PDF is a standard format.

The pages are exactly A5, and I have a printer which can print double-sided A4. Each A5 page and its imposition counterpart will fit exactly on the A4 page, and there is enough of a margin around each page that the actual physical print edge is within that margin. I need each A5 page to be printed at the right size.

My problem is that using Adobe's "Booklet" sizing does odd things with the imposition. Each page has a margin of 10mm on top, left and right, and the print dialog looks like this:

Adobe print dialog representation of finished imposition

It's added an unprintable area, but within that the margins are even (same left, right, top; double-size in the gutter). That will have the effect of adding the unprintable area to the outer edges of each page of the booklet. The unprintable area is the same all the way round (for an HP M277dw; that seems reasonable).

When that page is actually printed, it looks like this:

Resultant page as printed

Even the printed line length, which was 128mm as designed, has become 122mm.

This happens with every booklet printed with Adobe booklet printing. My printer is set to 100%, so that's not upsetting it. All the pages are the same: the margins on each side are not equal, and the centre fold is not actually in the centre, so it's not creep — if Adobe software is actually capable of calculating that!

I don't believe this is dependent on my system settings, although if someone pipes up saying that Adobe booklet printing will correctly impose 2xA5 on to A4 exactly as designed, then I'd definitely be interested in knowing how that's achieved. Currently it appears that "Print as booklet" is forcing settings which can't be altered.

I can fiddle with the position of the print "block" on the page so that the booklet is at least symmetrical, but is there an easier way of getting A5 PDF pages printed as A4 impositions as I want them, without Adobe thinking it knows better?

(Answers which say "I don't have that problem because I use the Flurble package from Acme Software" are welcome, because that answers the question. I use 64-bit Windows 10.)

  • How many pages in the booklet? What you are describing could possibly be due to creep. Although creep margins are typically consistent on any single spread - merely different on different spreads. – Scott Oct 4 '19 at 16:10
  • In this particular booklet there are 24 pages, but it's the same every time I use "Print as booklet" in Adobe Reader or Acrobat. Every page of every booklet is affected the same way: definitely a software thing. And the width of the printed area on each side has shrunk from 128mm to 122mm. – Andrew Leach Oct 4 '19 at 16:12
  • Yeah 24p shouldn't really have any noticeable creep. – Scott Oct 4 '19 at 16:13
  • It looks like the pages of the document are being scaled. Check the scaling options in the printer settings are set to 100%, or no scaling, but not "fit to page". The name of the settings may be different depending on the model of printer. – Billy Kerr Oct 4 '19 at 16:42
  • Adobe booklet printing doesn't allow any user scaling, unlike printing on the full page (where I always set to 100%). – Andrew Leach Oct 4 '19 at 16:45
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I found an answer to this by accident.

From Adobe Reader, print a booklet to another PDF printer — I use Bullzip PDF Printer as that seems to be the most reliable for this purpose.

That allows the entire page to be printable, with no print border. This is from a different publication from that in the question, but there is no unprintable area around the edge of the page.

Print dialog

The output is a PDF of imposed pages — matching pairs of pages for the booklet, pairing p1 with p16, p2 with p15 and so on.

Having produced a set of impositions, simply print that PDF at 100%, so any unprintable area falls within the page margin.

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  • Love you man. I have this frustration for years and found many others on the Acrobat forum and other places too. Good that you have documented this hack. And sad that such a pricy tool as Acrobat cannot even get the booklet-feature right. Your answer is helping me for my work. But it is adding one extra tool and one extra step - and sadly this is affecting some mail-merge work that I have to do regularly (newsbrochures with names). So if you ever find a nice imposition tool that does it in one go, please add another answer or edit. Will also keep my eyes peeled. – Martin Zaske Jun 12 at 15:55

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