Posted: Sun Feb 28, 2010 2:41 pm Post subject: Imposing booklets
Imposition is the technique of laying out the pages in a publication, so that they appear in the right order when printed on an oversize sheet of paper, printed both sides, folded and nested inside each other.
Each set of folded and nested pages is called a signature. A number of them are gathered together, glued and/or stitched, then have the outer folds and edges guillotined away to make a final book.
You can see these signatures by looking down on the top of a hardback (it is harder to see in a paperback) at where the paper meets the spine. If you look closely, you can see where the folded signatures are stitched and glued into the binding.
Why imposition is necessary
Make a simple "dummy" of a book by folding a piece of paper in half and then half again, numbering the pages on the folds, then unfolding it again to see the printed pages need to be in a particular non-consecutive order.
Working out the imposition
Pages can not do this without you manually laying out the document in the imposed order. The method is relatively simple, but you need to work out how it applies in your particular project.
1. Work out your signatures These are the bundles of pages that will appear on each printed sheet of paper. The minimum is 4 pages: 2 front and 2 back, with a fold in the middle. The signatures thus always go up in sets of 4 and usually double each time ie 4, 8, 16, 32. You can have 12 or 24 by using a "roll fold".
2. The signature page limit is determined by the size of the printed paper and the limits of folding. The paper in the middle pushes progressively outwards in an effect called "creep". Commercial imposition takes care of all this, allowing for the thickness of the paper and moving the layout accordingly.
3. Resolve the layout of each signature which is easiest done by making a "dummy" which is a blank folded version of the signature, with the page numbers written on each page in the correct order with a line under the page number to let you know which way is up.
4. Unfold the paper and use this to work out the flat layout.
5. The page order of each signature
a. Facing page numbers always add up to the last number, plus 1.
b. The even numbers are always on the left side of a page pair.
c. The inside pair of a set of 4 is plus 1 on the left and minus 1 on the right
e.g. A simple 8 page signature numbered from 1:
8 | 1
2 | 7
6 | 3
4 | 5
Note how the numbers zig zag from left to right, and how the middle pair (where the stitching or staples hold it together) are the only ones to have consecutive numbers.
Also that each alternate set of 4, in this case 6 | 3 & 4 | 5 will be upside down.
Imposing pages manually
1. Simplest method In the case where each sheet of paper has only 4 pages, none upside down, simply make a document and use text linking between text boxes on each page to order the pages as they need to be when printed, eg for a simple 4 page document:
4 | 1
2 | 3
Print the first pair of pages, then feed the paper back into the printer, upside down to print the 2nd pair.
If you are going to print out simple 4 page signatures but tuck them inside each other, make a dummy using this arrangement and one piece of paper for each sheet, then follow that page order in your Pages document.
Check your printer's paper orientation by marking a blank sheet of paper with an arrow facing up and into the printer, then see which way the printed side comes out.
2. Print via .pdfs For longer more complex layouts. Produce your document as normal single pages with whatever numbering you need. Export or print to .pdf.
Create a 2nd printable paper size document in Pages, to assemble the imposed pages.
e.g. this could be an A3 page for assembling a set of 8 A5 imposed pages (4 front & 4 back).
Divide the document up into a grid of touching placeholder image boxes the size of the finished individual pages.
e.g. The above example would be four A5 size image boxes on an A3 size document. The second 4 image boxes (alternate side) would be on the second page of the document.
Rotate 180° any image boxes that must be upside down in the final signature.
Open the exported .pdf file in Preview .app and drag the pages from the .pdf sidebar into the correct placeholder image boxes above.
NBThere is a bug in Snow Leopard that does not let you do this directly. You will have to drag each individual page to the Desktop or an intermediate folder first, then back into Pages. I suggest you number these to avoid later confusion. This has now been fixed in OSX 10.6.2.
If you have a complex layout, lots of pages or starting with roman numerals, I recommend you add little numbers into your assembly document or closely follow an unfolded dummy.
Imposition utilities that will do this for you
CocoaBooklet will automatically impose a multi-page .pdf produced from Pages, or any other program. This is currently not working with Snow Leopard however.
Create Booklet (free) is an Automator action that adds a Create Booklet option when you print to pdf.
Or get the cheap DTP application, Swift Publisher , which has an option to print imposed documents.
If you are going to a reputable commercial printer, they will not want you to this, as with many production steps. They will impose and assemble the job in the best most efficient manner for their presses. Anything you do, will need to be undone.
Joined: 02 Nov 2011 Posts: 1 Location: Austin, Texas
Posted: Wed Nov 02, 2011 3:16 pm Post subject:
Thanks for your very detailed and understandable posts. Really of great learning for people who are not so familiar with such technical matters. thanks for sharing the knowledge you have when in comes to printing.
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