Thursday, April 18, 2013

How to print a document in booklet form from OS X

A picture of a printed booklet formatted document.
When presented with a large document to read on my computer, I like to print the document in booklet form. This saves on paper and make the document easier to handle since it is considerably smaller than if it was printed single or even double sided. On Windows I originally used ClickBook by Blue Squirrel but left them due to frustrating support issues for FinePrint. However since making the 'switch' to using a Mac as my primary computer I have been missing this capability and have been looking for a solution off an on for a while now. ClickBook is available for the Mac, but at $49.95 and my previous frustrations with them I continued to look elsewhere. I have finally found a freeware solution that I was able to get working. By installing and using the following Create Booklet PDF workflow software, I was able to get documents to print in booklet form using my HP C5180 All-in-one printer. It is nowhere near as slick as ClickBook or FinePrint on the PC, but it does get the job done.

Download the latest Create Booklet software from here:

Print your document using the "Create Booklet" PDF Workflow. You can get at this menu option by pressing the "PDF" button in the lower left of the print dialog.

This will print the document to a PDF file formatted as a booklet and open it in Preview.

Now choose to print the booklet formatted PDF from Preview making sure to 'Show Details' in the print dialog and...

For automatic double-sided printers

In the Print dialog, configure to automatically print double-sided.
  • Under the "Layout" section
  • Set Two-sided: Short-edge binding
Click Print.

For manual double-sided printers

Since your printer does not do double-sided printing, you will need to print the front side of each page and then re-insert the paper into the paper tray and re-print the back side of each page.

In the Print dialog, configure to print the odd pages in reverse order.
  • Under the "Paper handling" section
  • Set, Pages to Print: Odd Only
  • Set, Page Order: Reversed
Click Print.

You should now have the odd pages printed. Place the printed pages back in the printer tray, keeping them oriented the same as the way they printed.

Choose to print again and configure to print the even pages.
  • Under the "Paper handling" section
  • Set, Pages to Print: Even Only
  • Set, Page Order: Normal
Click Print.

That's it. You should have a nice booklet of your printout.


One of the advantages of the Windows software is that they both have wizards that take you through the process of determining how to manually feed your printer to get double-sided booklet printing working. This can be an aggravating process. If the pages are not printed in the correct order, you may need to change the page order to get the front and back pages to line up.

A couple of hints:
  • Only print the first four pages of your document, that way you will have just enough pages to test how your printer is printing each page.
  • Write on the blank pages before printing, the page number, orientation, front/back, etc on the paper before printing it so you can see where exactly the printer is putting each page.

Windows Software

If you need Windows software to print in booklet form and many other styles, check out these products.

FinePrint Software

ClickBook Blue Squirrel

Update 04/18/2013:
Create Booklet website link has changed.

Update 01/14/2012:
We now have a double sided printer, the HP OfficeJet 8500 A910. When printing the booklet PDF,  Under the "Layout" section, select Two-sided: Short-edge binding and print, that's it.

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