Friday, February 15, 2008

Printing A5 booklets using OpenOffice

I've always found this frustrating. Usually the only way to print A5 brochures from a wordprocessor is to set up columns and work out by hand which column represents which page. It's a pain to set up and even worse to edit.

Well, I've discovered that OpenOffice does the hard work for you. If you set up a normal A4 document and type up whatever you want to print, you can still produce it as an A5 booklet. The following assumes you can't print double sided pages automatically. All you have to do is:

  1. Choose FIle | Print...
  2. First, we'll print the odd pages:
    1. Select the printer properties button
    2. Set the printer to landscape and press OK
    3. Choose the Options button
    4. Make sure that the "Right" and "Brochure" tick boxes are selected and that the "Left" and "Reverse" tick boxes are not
    5. Press OK to return to the Print dialog
    6. Print the document
  3. Now we'll print the even pages:
    1. Re-insert the paper so that you print on the reverse side of the page
    2. Choose File | Print... again
    3. Make sure the printer is still set to landscape
    4. Choose the Options button
    5. Make sure that "Right" is deselected and that "Left" is selected (I didn't need to use reverse, but others report needing to do that)
    6. Press OK to return to the Print dialog
    7. Print the document

With any luck, you now have an A5 booklet that you can fold up and give away. This is just too easy compared to setting it up manually. And you can convert any A4 document into the same format.