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I'm trying to print my very first book. It's a simple thing, printed on my desktop printer, double sided on 1 * A4 sheet of paper.

I will fold it down and bind it myself (using saddle stitch) as a simple little A6 book.

I've never done desktop publishing before, so I don't even know the terminology to use here, but can anyone point me in the direction of a tutorial or something that can show me how to set up Scribus (or maybe recommend other software I should use?) to do this kind of layout?

The A4 page will be folded and cut horizontally, then folded again vertically to form the A6 book, and all the parts of the page need to align in the final book (what's this kind of layout even called?).

  • There's not "one correct answer" I'm afraid. The missing term you need is "impositioning" - google that and you'll find wiki.scribus.net/canvas/PDF,_PostScript_and_Imposition_tools and wiki.scribus.net/canvas/… Create your Scribus file as A6 and take it from there. – user19660 Aug 10 '15 at 8:41
  • Thank you :) You should still post this as an answer so I can mark is as having been answered. – Lucien Stals Aug 11 '15 at 5:31
  • How many pages are we talking about? Is this being printed on a press, or just a desktop printer? If it's a small booklet, and you're printing it yourself on a laser printer, for example, you may want to forgo Scribus and just use something like Inkscape to layout the page signature by hand. – DA01 Aug 18 '15 at 15:07
  • Thanks @DA01 . It's actually 16 pages (2 * A4, double sided), printed on desktop laser jet printer (without duplex, so manual flipping of pages :) ). In the end, I used GIMP, and with a little trial and error, got a result I was happy with. I thought Scribus might be the right tool for the job, but the learning curve was a bit steep. I do appreciate the answers I got here and will probably try learning Scribus for future projects. – Lucien Stals Aug 19 '15 at 3:17
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Per my comment:

Firstly lay out your pages individually at A6 size. Then choose your impositioning strategy depending on the sophistication of your printer driver/software and/or follow the advice given on the Scribus Wiki.

  • Of course you will create A5 pages, not A6 :-) on top of it, when printing the booklet with your preferred PDF reader, make sure that you don't let it scale your document to fit the paper: it should be printed at 100%. – a.l.e Aug 11 '15 at 11:36
  • "simple little A6 book ..on 1 * A4 sheet of paper" - I'm suggesting he prints "4 Up" - did I miss something? :-\ – user19660 Aug 11 '15 at 12:37
  • sorry matt, you're right, i missed the part where he says that the target is an A6 booklet! in this case, i don't think that any pdf reader supports printing A6 pages as booklet on A4 sheets. you will have to use one of the imposition tools mentioned in the scribus wiki and hope that they don't mess with your colors, colors profiles and embedded fonts. (the first two issues can be avoided if you use "monitor" as a target in scribus, define all your colors as RGB and only have RGB pictures in your document) i guess it's time to create a script generating the page sequence and the matching pdfnu – a.l.e Aug 18 '15 at 14:53
  • n.p. I don't do much of this (any more) so a comment from you genuinely made me concerned I'd given bad advice. – user19660 Aug 18 '15 at 15:33
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We are doing this for years in our office on our own lasers and we are still using this humble tool:

Make yourself a dummy, for example using scrap paper. Full number of pages, no shortcuts, smaller size if you want. Fold and collate. Then number your pages. Then diss-assemble and have your layout or imposition-plan.

It has saved us time and paper and toner and we recommend it still to new trainees. If you are using several "fancy automatic tools" like a DTP program and an Adobe printing dialog plus a modern printer driver, all sorts of weird interaction effects can happen. So even when you start printing your final print run after testing, your dummy is a helpful tool for checking that everything is (still) in its right place.

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