It’’s no secret that I don’t care much for paper. If I can do something electronically instead of with paper, I usually choose pixels over pulp. When I started developing our Intranet at my full-time job, we had a contest between the employees to determine the name for it. My suggestion was to call it Paper Sucks. It didn’t get very many votes.
At the same time, however, I realize that there are times when paper is just more efficient. For example, I seem to be more productive when I work from a printed next actions list than when I work from one on my monitor or my Palm.
When I absolutely have to have something on paper, I usually prefer it to be digest sized (8-1/2″ X 5-1/2″). (I don’t have a good reason for this, I just prefer that size.)
Many years ago (May 6th-8th, 1999) to be exact, I developed 16 Word templates that would print digest sized booklets for me. Over the years, I”ve used these countless times. I’ve shared them with friends and co-workers, but I’ve never thought about publishing them. I had to use one this past weekend and thought that I might as well share them with the world. With most printer drivers these days offering 2-up printing you may not find them as useful as I did 6 years ago. I still find that they are quite handy to have around.
The WordBookletTemplates.zip file contains Microsoft Word templates for 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 28, and 32 page booklets, with and without page numbers (16 templates in all). I think I developed these with Microsoft Word 97 and I’ve never made any changes to them. They use a series of text boxes that flow from one to the other to get the text where it is supposed to be in the booklet.
To use them, simply start a new document based on the template of choice and start typing (or paste your text) into the text box on the right hand side of the first page. The text will flow to fill all the other pages as needed. To understand this better, you may find it useful to start with one of the templates with page numbers. If you shrink the page size down so that you can view all the pages, it may appear that your text is all over the place. Don’t panic! That’s normal, and there is a reason for it.
Make sure your printer has 8-1/2″ X 11″ paper in it. If your printer does duplexing, simply print your document. If your printer doesn’t offer duplexing, then it will be a simple 3-step process for you: 1) Print out all the odd numbered pages; 2) When they are done, reverse the sort order of the pages [This may vary by printer model and settings]; 3) Print out all the even numbered pages on the back of the odd numbered pages. Once all your pages have printed, simply fold them in half. The pages will be set up so that they will form a properly numbered series of pages from beginning to end.
Once the pages are printed, I use a long reach stapler to bind them together. (I omit this step on the 4-page booklet because it’s only one piece of paper, of course.)
Oh, they seem to work in OpenOffice.org too! Enjoy!
Update (Nov. 3, 2006): So many people have asked me to create custom size templates for them that I have decided to start offering this service. The standard templates that are linked to above will remain free, but for $49 I will create custom size templates for you in all 16 variations: 4-, 8-, 12-, 16-, 20-, 24-, 28-, and 32-page booklets with and without page numbers. I will need to get some information from you about your specific requirements within the available options. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in purchasing custom Microsoft Word Booklet Templates.