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20 Sep 2009, 20:00
Michael Swaine (69 posts)

Here’s a dirt-simple way to turn your PragPub PDFs into printed magazines. If you follow these steps (and if I didn’t screw up), you should be able to print once, flip the pages over, print again, staple, fold, and in only a few minutes have a nice-looking copy of PragPub to read offline, without having to collate pages or waste time and paper experimenting with different printer and software settings. The instructions here reflect how I print issues from OS X on my particular HP laser printer, so I hope someone will flag in a reply any differences for other operating systems or printers.

  1. I use the free Adobe Reader, downloadable for most versions of Windows, OS X, Linux, HP-UX, AIX, and Solaris, at

  2. In the Print dialog, the relevant settings are:

    Page Scaling: Booklet Printing Booklet Subset: Back side only

I leave everything else set to default values.

  1. Print it. If you use US standard 8-1/2 x 11 letter paper, you’ll get a cute and barely readable magazine. If your printer accommodates 11 x 17 sheets, use that size for the real deal.

  2. Flip the stack of pages, taking care to keep the top edge (i.e., the long edge) in the same orientation.

  3. Print again with this change to the settings:

    Booklet Subset: Front side only

  4. Square up the stack of pages, turn cover-side-up, and put two or three precisely-aligned staples right down the middle of the bundle. For 8-1/2 x 11 sheets, that’s 5-1/2 inches from either end; for 11 x 17, make it 8-1/2 inches. I use a large-format Bostitch 12” Long Reach Stapler which retails for about $32, but with care you can get the same results with whatever stapler you have handy.

  5. Fold the magazine right along the staples, place it face-down on a clean surface, and run a book or other hard object along the fold to flatten it.

And there’s your printed magazine! It doesn’t have a slick cover or trimmed edges, but it does the job. Note that if you try this with a Pragmatic Bookshelf book, you will be very disappointed with the result. This booklet-making method does not scale to books.

25 Sep 2009, 20:47
Camal Cakar (28 posts)

Have someone this formula for the Foxit PDF Reader ? I am so excited for the next issue :D

07 Jan 2010, 14:53
Rick DeNatale (15 posts)

I just discovered this thread.

If you are a Mac user, I can recommend a nice little program called CheapImpostor, which can do various impositions of PDF documents, particularly if you have access to a printer which can duplex.

An imposition is a re-arrangement of pages into signatures in order to make a book. It can also arrange the pages in booklet/magazine form.

I use it to make booklets and books from various downloaded pdf files, it’s great for on-line manuals. I sometimes print personal copies of pragpub beta books, although the manual effort of folding the signatures means that I don’t really do this for most updates.

I wrote about this on my blog.

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