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Dec. 22nd, 2013 @ 08:13 pm Printer and paper positioning
Current Mood: frustratedfrustrated
As I wrote before, I have an extra copy of Golden Sky Stories. One of my friends is interested in it, and I offered to bind it for her -- it's easier to have books at the gaming table than a laptop or tablet with a PDF. I had wanted to print the book with four pages per sheet, so that I could fold five sheets into a signature. That would result in seven signatures, and I'd bind the book with thread. Using a binding like that makes the pages fall much more open, and the book has some two-page spreads which would benefit from this. OK, the pages would be shrunk 50%, but the text would still be readable at that size, so no harm done.

The book is 8" x 11", the standard size for US gaming books. However, my laser printer prints on A4, which is 11.7" x 8.3" -- so slightly larger. Not much of a problem: most printer drivers will happily resize for you. However, I was thwarted by the way printers work.
You see, a printer needs to 'grip' the paper before it can pull it over the drum with the heated toner. And the toner is not large enough to print at the very edges of the paper. But that grip-area means that a print will always be off-center: the non-printable area at the top is always larger than the non-printable area at the bottom.
That's not too much of a problem, but if you want to print on both sides, you will get a slight shift. For stuff like letters, that's totally not a problem, but for a sheet that you need to fold, it is. It means that the fold is not in the middle of the sheet, and that one page is shifted either left or right.
Humans are created to detect symmetry, so an off-center fold like that is immediately apparent!

I spent a few hours working on this, trying different ways to position the prints on the paper, trying to trim the excess margins so the fold would be in the middle... nothing really worked.
So I'll just be printing the book full-size, and use the lumbecking machine to make it into a book... It's not ideal, but it's the best I can do at the moment.
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Date:December 22nd, 2013 08:24 pm (UTC)
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This may not even come close to working, but- can you rotate the second side 180 degrees, so it effectively prints upside-down? You may have to adjust the top and bottom margins, too.
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Date:December 23rd, 2013 06:34 pm (UTC)
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Manipulating PDFs like that is tricky. It can be done, but it requires a lot of magic incantations! ;)

In the end, I've just printed out the pages with 'fit to printable area' turned on. That means all the pages are centered on the paper and thus in perfect alignment. All that needed to be done after that was to trim the excess paper -- except on the side that's getting bound, so that there's some margin there.
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