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Print Booklet in InDesign CS3

Many of you are familiar with the InBooklet SE plug-in which was included with InDesign CS2 for doing simple impositions. (Impositions, sometimes called “printer spreads,” arrange the pages in the order needed for printing.) In InDesign CS3, this has been replaced with Print Booklet, available from the File menu.

Why was InBooklet SE replaced? It was created by ALAP, a very good plug-in developer. ALAP had a more full-featured imposition package called Imposer Pro. Adobe paid ALAP to develop a simpler version which was originally included with the Pagemaker Plug-in Pack for InDesign CS to replace a simple imposition plug-in in Pagemaker. InBooklet SE was then rolled into InDesign CS2. The problem was that Quark (the company?not the software) bought ALAP and dropped ALAP’s InDesign products. That meant that Adobe had to develop imposition on its own.

When you open Print Booklet the interface looks similar to that of InBooklet, and the features are very much the same. It opens to the Setup panel, where you set the basic parameters of the imposition. The features are only designed for simple booklets?2-up Saddle Stitch, 2-up Perfect Bound, and 2-up, 3-up, and 4-up Consecutive. But there are more sophisticated controls like “creep,” which compensates for the effect of the innermost pages getting narrower in a thick booklet.

Print Booklet 1

There are a couple essential differences from InBooklet SE, however. One of InBooklet’s features was the ability to create a separate InDesign file of the imposed pages. While this was a nice feature, it sometimes didn’t work correctly?especially when you had images crossing over the pages of the spread, or with more complex formatting like anchored objects. I believe that when InBooklet created an imposition, it had to build the pages itself, it couldn’t rely on InDesign’s own internal print mechanism. This process probably broke down with more complex layouts.

So that feature was dropped in Print Booklet. Print Booklet only produces impositions as part of the printing process. Instead, there is a much closer relationship between the Print Booklet dialog box and the Print dialog box. Notice that you can even choose a Print Preset (shown at the top of the Setup panel). To switch to the Print dialog box, just click Print Settings at the bottom of the dialog box.

Imagine I want to create a 2-up Saddle Stitch imposition. I make the choices and click Preview to view a preview of the page.

Print Booklet 2

I’m warned the page doesn’t fit because I have the wrong printer selected. I can just click Print Settings, which opens the Print dialog box. I choose the proper printer, choose the paper size I need, add printer’s marks using the Print dialog box controls. When I click OK in the Print dialog box, I’m immediately taken back to the Setup panel in Print Booklet. Now everything fits perfectly!

Print Booklet 3

When I described Print Booklet on the InDesign Mac User Forum, a couple people were upset because they needed to send the imposition to their printer. (One of them was a designer who had taken over the in-house layout for a small printer, for example.) I said, “No problem!” Just choose the Adobe PDF printer installed by Acrobat 7 or 8 in the Print dialog box. It will create a perfect PDF using Distiller in the background. Below is a portion of my sample 16-page layout as a PDF imposition. I included images which crossed over the spread to see how Print Booklet handled it, and it did just fine.
PDF output

Steve Werner

Steve Werner

Steve Werner is a trainer, consultant, and co-author (with David Blatner and Christopher Smith) of InDesign for QuarkXPress Users and Moving to InDesign. He has worked in the graphic arts industry for more than 20 years and was the training manager for ten years at Rapid Lasergraphics. He has taught computer graphics classes since 1988.
Steve Werner

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168 Comments on “Print Booklet in InDesign CS3

  1. Answering my own post after using a free trail of the Croptima plug-in. It can’t handle graphics that go through the gutter. Also, the measurements are for European paper sizes.

  2. I’m trying to print an a5 magazine. so its a4 spread but I don’t know how to set it to paper where printers marks will fit.

    Any help greatly appreciated

  3. @Guus: It often just puts it on the Desktop (on my Mac). No idea what the client error is; you may need to reinstall Acrobat Pro.

    @Chazmo: If your final document will be A5, then you should make the page size (in InDesign) A5, not A4. Don’t try to build your own spreads on each InDesign page.

  4. Hi! I have a slight bit of problem after exporting PDF from Print Booklet from inDesign CS4. What happens is, its export everything nicely, no error, nothing, places file neatly on desktop for me.

    However when I try opening the document – with Acrobat Pro, it prompt an error saying the document is damaged, Preview is not opening it either.

    For such a small book of 80pages, the booklet PDF is 650MB! which is way beyond its size – even though they are high quality images in half of the pages.

    Help and Thank you for reading!

  5. Hold it! I guess it was a fluke.
    I repeated the same steps, but this time instead of exporting directly to PDF, i exported it to a Postscript(PS) file which was about 650MB (as well). Finally I oped the PS file in Distiller – it checked it and – sort of fixed my PDF for me – its now 28MB (which feels and looks great to me).

    Thanks anyway! I spend days following this article and responses from people. Which finally brought me to a stage of understanding some of know-hows.


  6. Hello,

    I need help figuring out a problem.

    I have 3.5 x 5 pages, I can build my booklet in Print Booklet to 7 x 5. That is all fine and gives me a 2up version.

    But I need to print 4 up, work and turn (booklet verison twice).

    Are there any quick commands to do this or do I have to continue to copy and paste my individual pages (after coping the master page numbers to each page first) into my own 4 up document manually?

  7. I noticed that when I want to print many copies of something – books for example, from InDesign the file is processed to the printer for each copy and not once for the same job. This is all despite the copies being from the same file. Is there a way around this?

  8. Hmmm. Snow Leopard breaks the Adobe PDF printer function. Adobe’s suggested fix is to use the “Save As PDF” feature, but this doesn’t work with Create Booklet.

    Are there any workarounds? I need to turn a 4-page InD document into a ledger-sized PDF to take to Office Depot. Our in-house printer is broken.

  9. Does not work for me. I have a document with 20 pages, which qualifies for booklet printing without adding pages. But the “Print booklet” dialogue tells me there are pages missing. I have three blank sheets, but the option “Print blank sheet” is checked. The pages that Indesign will add are in the wrong place, so the preview shows me a totally mixed up booklet.
    Then it comes to the paper size. The document’s paper size is A4 portrait. So the booklet will result in A3 landscape. If I set the paper size in the printer dialogue (PDF printer), I can only choose A3, but not landscape. If I set the page direction, then the preview fits fine to the page, but it’s upright. And the page order is still wrong, of course.

  10. I have a book of math. The equacion has made in program math type. How can I transformed the black with 4 colors in a black 1 color.
    Thanks a lot Elzaba

  11. I found out about the blank pages: the “Print booklet” dialogue has its own print settings, apart from the normal “Print” dialogue. There you also need to check the “Print blank pages” option. Then the booklet will be fine.

  12. Hi Steve I know this is an old post, but I need to do exactly that: send a printed pdf format of the print booklet to my printer. I’m using Acrobat 9 professional and it’s not working. Please explain how I can do this.
    Thank you

  13. Hi everybody
    I’m an italian indesign beginner and i’m trying to settle my own layout for a catalogue.
    I found almost everything i needed to align text boxes and images but i need a script who can reflect objects understanding if (the object) is on left or right page, anybody can help me?

    Thank you very much

  14. @ELZANA: You may need to correct these in Acrobat Pro after exporting the PDF from InDesign. Acrobat can convert color to gray. Or use Enfocus Pitstop.

    @Mix: That is a question better suited for the forums (, or click Forums in navbar above). (But you might look at the plug-ins from

    In fact, I will close the comments on this post now, as this list has grown far too long.