A few weeks ago I realised that I didn’t have a printed copy of Sun Tzu’s Art
and this thought collided head on with another old thought I had: could I use
pdfpages to create A6 booklets? I use it frequently to turn my papers into
handy A4 booklets (a few A4 folded in half), butI did not know if I could do it
another time to generate A5 booklets, or even another time to get a small and
nice A6 booklet
As these two thoughts collided, I decided that the best way to check was to use
as base PDF The Art of
a book available through The Project
Gutenberg. I formatted it as a LaTeX ebook
with custom sizes (to get readable fonts) and compiled using the fantastic and
powerful memoir class. I’ll give the details of how to create ebooks with
LaTeX later this year or in the beginning of the next. I also did the same to
Arnold Bennett’s How to Live on 24 Hours a
You’ll need three TeX files, based on the one I already used in How to Create
LaTeX Booklets. You can refer to that page if
there is something missing in here. These files will turn the PDF successively
into 2-pages per sheet to 4-pages per sheet to the final 8-pages per sheet
I named the files Booklet2x1.tex, Booklet4x1.tex and Booklet8x1.tex for
pretty obvious reasons. Their contents are:
Later I realised that I did not need a5paper in the class part. As I explained
in How to Create LaTeX
Booklets, the signature
is the number of pages per fold: in the case of a booklet, you have to aim for
the closest multiple of 4 from above to the number of pages of the PDF file. In
this case, I was lucky: the original file had 80 pages, that turned into 40 and
then into 20 (resulting in just 10 pages to print).
The building can get a little tricky, because you need to cut correctly the
booklet. That is why I used theframe=true option of pdfpages, this draws a
thin line around the pages for a easy cutting process.
Start by compiling the first tex file with pdflatex, and follow with the
other files until you have Booklet8x1.pdf and print it two sided.
You’ll end with a bunch of small groups of 2 pages (4 pages per sheet). Pile
them in a way that the numbers are consecutive. Keep in mind that you will be
folding in half, thus on the left you will have page 2 and the right side you
will have page 79. On top of this you need to have page 3 and page 78 (covering
pages 2 and 79), and so on. If you don’t get it know, you’ll understand it once
you have the pages in front of you, don’t worry.
Once you have them neatly folded in half and piled, place them over a soft cloth
and staple them along the spine. I usually get by with 2 staples, but feel free
to go with one or add a third or fourth.
You are done! Enjoy your pocket reading. If you wish, you can cover in plastic
the booklet, it will last longer.