Desktop Book Printing

A lot of people are confused as to the correct method to setup text and print in the form of a book or booklet from a desktop printer. It’s really not that hard at all. The only thing you need to know is what half of the height of the paper is. In most cases the paper will be lettered size, so that would be eleven inches to start with and half of that is 5.5 inches.

Go into your word processing program like LibreOffice Writer and right click in the white space of the page and enter the page settings. In the “Page” tab select Letter Format. The height of the page which was eleven inches is now set as the width. Change that to 5.5 and set your margins to whatever you feel is best. I usually use .5 but .75 is safer and .79 is default and safest.

Now create each page as you would any other document starting with page 1 including whatever title pages and blank spacer pages you like to use for aesthetics. Remember that odd numbered pages will appear as right hand pages when the book is assembled.

Once you are finished you can export to a PDF or print from inside LibreOffice Writer. You can double check your design by using print preview first.

To print immediately to go File-Print.

Go to Properties and in the “General” tab make sure your printer paper is set to “Letter” and in the “Finishing” tab make sure it is set to landscape format and click OK.

Back in the “General” tab choose the amount of pages you want in a single signature (collection of pages to be sewn together before final sewing which binds all signatures together). For a small booklet you’d print them all, but for a large book you may need to create a number of signatures of equal size.

Then click on the “Page Layout” tab and choose “brochure” and choose page sides “Front sides/ right pages” this time around.

Now you should be able to see in the print preview to the left the first page in the signature appearing on the right hand side and the last will appear on the left hand side. (If either of these pages are blank it might confuse you to see a blank page at first, but that’s okay if that’s how you designed the book.) This layout is how a book would appear if opened and laid on a table face down so that you can see the first and last pages (or both sides of the cover) at the same time. Use the buttons underneath the preview to flip the pages like a real book to make sure everything is how you’d like.

And click “OK” when you are ready to print a signature or the whole book.

After the pages are printed feed the stack back into the print and choose “Back sides/ left pages” and in the “General” tab check the box that says, “Print in reverse page order”.

Now you can sew or staple these pages together to make a book.