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I'm creating a PDF LaTeX document that has A4 portrait pages. But it is destined to be printed in landscaoe orientation, two-up and double-sided.

That means any binding offset needs to be added to the left margin of pages 1, 5, 9 .... and the right margin of pages 4, 8, 12 ....

This crude sketch may make that clear:

 front side of sheet
 --------------------------------------------
 | bblll  page 1  rrr    lll  page 2    rrr  |
 | bblllttttttttttrrr    lllttttttttttttrrr  |
 | bblllttttttttttrrr    lllttttttttttttrrr  |
 | bblllttttttttttrrr    lllttttttttttttrrr  |
 | bblllttttttttttrrr    lllttttttttttttrrr  |
 | bblllttttttttttrrr    lllttttttttttttrrr  |
 | bblllttttttttttrrr    lllttttttttttttrrr  |
 | bblllttttttttttrrr    lllttttttttttttrrr  |
 ---------------------------------------------

 reverse side of sheet
 --------------------------------------------
 | lll   page 3   rrr    lll  page 4  rrrbb  |
 | lllttttttttttttrrr    lllttttttttttrrrbb  |
 | lllttttttttttttrrr    lllttttttttttrrrbb  |
 | lllttttttttttttrrr    lllttttttttttrrrbb  |
 | lllttttttttttttrrr    lllttttttttttrrrbb  |
 | lllttttttttttttrrr    lllttttttttttrrrbb  |
 | lllttttttttttttrrr    lllttttttttttrrrbb  |
 | lllttttttttttttrrr    lllttttttttttrrrbb  |
 ---------------------------------------------

 bb -- binding offset
 ll -- left margin
 tt -- text of page
 rr -- right margin

The two-up printing is handled by the printer. But the printer cannot handle shifting the whole page to create the binding offsets.

One solution of course is to get a better printer.

One other avenue I have explored is treating the whole doc as a landscape, and using \multicols to print it in two colums. That sadly has many awkwardnesses in the formating.

So what I'd really like is some magic dust in the geometry settings.

Am I hoping for too much this soon after xmas?

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Maybe the booklet package can help you –  Spike Jan 8 '12 at 8:19
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3 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I feel a little uneasy at answering my own question. But lockstep's clue directed me to the twocolumn parameter on the documentclass.

That seems to work fairly. It subdivides the physical sheet into two logical pages. So looks a little like using multicols{2} on the whole document, but with fewer of the drawbacks.

The magic inteplay between documentclass and geometry seems to be (note the exaggerated 5cm inner margin for binding offset -- just to make it easier to see):

\documentclass[a4paper,twocolumn,landscape,10pt]{book}
\usepackage[top=2cm, bottom=2cm, inner=5cm, outer=1cm]{geometry}

This solution may be just the ticket for many documents.

However, I can see problems where I have a wrapfigure inside a miniboxpage with each scaled as a fraction of the \textwidth. It seems \textwidth is sometimes taken as the full physical width of the sheet, and sometimes as the text width of the logical page. I need to isolate cases and investigate further.

Thanks for the responses -- they've given me some hope for the future.

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Don't feel uneasy -- this kind of-self answer is legitimate. –  lockstep Jan 8 '12 at 3:24
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On the Unix and Unix-like systems you could use psnup or a2ps to accomplish the task. I am sure you could use those tools on Winodows machine via Cygwin but there might be a better native solution.

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The KOMA-Script \documentclass{scrbook} is an alternative to \documentclass{book} that looks nicer on A4 paper and offers quite a lot of additional options, among them te option to specify a binding correction. As an example, this is the documentclass definition I use for my PhD thesis:

\documentclass[
    a4paper,
    BCOR=10mm,  % specify binding correction
    ngerman,
    twoside,  % left pages and right pages look different
    open=right, % chapters start on right pages only, this is the default
    headsepline=true,
    headinclude=false,
    footsepline=true,
    footinclude=false,
    % headings=small,
    bibliography=totoc,
    listof=totoc,
    final
]{scrbook}

I usually create an A4 pdf and then use the Adobe Reader for brochure printing.

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