Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Hey, Where'd my InDesign Post Go?!?

I could have sworn that I posted last night about fun with InDesign. But here it isn't. Grumble.

Last week I finished up a sample Program Book, laid out landscape format, left-bound, 8.5 x 11"-ish pages (so a spread is 22" wide). Part of the reason for that layout is that most people have their computer monitors in landscape mode, which is more condusive to landscape pages. I'm fairly happy with how it came out.

Then I decided to make something smaller. I decided to go with folded letter-size pages, and waffled between doing landscape layout with a top binding, or a normal (ie: boring) left-binding. I decided to go with the boring choice, for several reasons (not necessarily in order):

  • If you view it as a PDF as spreads, it'll match most monitors.
  • I don't have to make the decision for a top-bound book of having "up" always be toward the spine, or have it set up like a calendar, so everything on one spread is up.
  • Easier to wrap my head around arranging the pages correctly for printing, if I couldn't figure out how to get InDesign to do it.
I couldn't leave well enough alone, so I messed around with my style set for the new small book. Not sure which set of fonts I like better.

But I did cut and paste of content over from the big sample book. No, I couldn't just use the usual "Lorem Ipsum" filler text, I went and made up lots of silly content, or scavenged from things like my "Moose Hunt" SCA event ad from my "Writing Event Ads" article, and role-playing game backgrounds/characters.

Meanwhile, Ron converted some artwork he'd made for me to greyscale.

The next trick was printing. So far, I've only printed individual single-sided pages to fake book layouts, or I've shipped things off to professional printers who invoke technology to go from pages in numerical order to actual print layouts. I knew InDesign could do said magic, but I wasn't sure if a plug-in would be required.

Poking around, we figured out that it wasn't possible from my first method of creating the book (separate documents assembled into an InDesign "book"). Probably because that method is really meant for big long real books that you would send to a professional printer, not little short documents that you would actually consider printing as a booklet.

Cut-and-paste and manual entry of some items I'd made gratuitous use of technology to automate resulted in converting it to one document. Test booklet printing to a PDF and VOILA!

So cool! The software sliced and diced and put my pages back together on sheets of (virtual) paper in the right order! I was seriously amused by it, yes.

Today's task, poking around to see if there are any free/cheap InDesign plug-ins to do printing from an InDesign book document package.

Ron, who has access to a printer that can do double-sided printing, confirms my suspicion that I need to fiddle a bit with margins and page number locations.

Hey, one advantage of losing last night's post, this one is longer and probably makes more sense.

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