I'm going to be manually binding the pages I print to turn it into a physical hard-cover book.

To do this, I plan to print it on letter paper, fold each paper in half, and hold it horizontally to make two leaves (four pages) per paper.

Since letter paper is 8.5" x 11", I figure this means my pages must be 5.5" x 8.5" to account for folding in half and rotating it horizontally.

This also requires imposition to get the page ordering right, while still being able to print two pages per (one side of a) sheet.

And due to the binding I'm using, I don't need the margin-adjustment that double-sided usually comes with.

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    Searching the site for imposition, it looks like the common options include using external tools to arrange the pages, including Adobe Reader. – Mike Renfro May 24 '15 at 21:38
  • @MikeRenfro That probably won't allow me to print two pages per one side of a sheet of paper, side-by-side (horizontally). – sdegutis May 24 '15 at 21:56
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    Unless I misunderstand, I just took an 8.5x11 PDF, ran it through Reader's booklet printing option on a duplexing printer, and had a correctly numbered booklet with each page taking up 8.5x5.5 of each side of each sheet. Make a normal 4-page PDF and verify? – Mike Renfro May 24 '15 at 21:59
  • @MikeRenfro With imposition, the ordering of pages won't be typical. One sheet of paper, horizontally, might have page 1 on the left and page 12 on the right, and another sheet of paper would have page 3 on the left and page 10 on the right, etc. – sdegutis May 24 '15 at 22:05
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    Yes. That's why there's a booklet printing option in Adobe Reader. It's not the default. If you make a 4-page PDF, then print it with that booklet printing option, does it not put pages 1 and 4 on one side of the sheet, and pages 2 and 3 together on the other side? – Mike Renfro May 24 '15 at 22:07

Set geometry up with the dimensions of the final pages you want and create a PDF normally. Then create a second document and include the first PDF using pdfpages. This has options for creating the booklet with the format you want. So I use a5paper, twoside with geometry for my first document. Then I use twoside,a4paper and


in the preamble of the second. The original PDF is then included in something like this way:


where 24 is the number of pages in the original document, if I want to create a single signature.

This works better than using acroread, in my experience, in part because it does not scale the pages down by default.

The Second solution here works through an example. Don't try the first solution there, though, as it is still broken as far as I know. Since I figured out the second method, I've not retried the first since the second is just much less hassle anyway. [Disclaimer: I wrote that answer though that is not obvious right now.]

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  • The second solution there worked perfectly. Thanks! – sdegutis May 31 '15 at 18:10

Consider trying the makebook script, if you have access to bash:


It has lots of options, and uses LaTeX and pdfpages behind the scenes (along with some utilities from the pdftk package). Disclaimer: I'm the author of makebook and am therefore biased about its usefulness.

Something like the following should do what you want, though depending on the size of your original textblock you may want a little scaling or offset (for which makebook provides options):

makebook -v -tfolio -i yourfile.pdf -o yourfile_booklet.pdf

This way, you can focus on getting your typesetting right, and the printing and binding can be a separate task you address at the appropriate time.

Most of the native LaTeX solutions I have found inadequate, except for pdfpages, and even that required so much tweaking that I wrote makebook to tweak for me. So I think a solution external to your document is ideal.

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