How to print a pdf booklet in OS X Mojave.

Preview

Unfortunately there is no way in the Mac OSX print dialog to automatically create a booklet. There used to be a free app called ‘Create Booklet’ but the free version broke with the release of Mojave. You can do it manually bit it is fairly complex and time consuming. This article outlines the 2 options: the easy way (paid) and the hard way (free.)

The easy way – paid.

There are plenty of Apps that will create a booklet for you.

The cheapest is a brand new app simply called ‘Booklet.’ It’s $1.49 in the Mac App store, and to me that’s abbot the right price for a booklet making app. (It’s not a complicated task.) You can purchase booklet from the App Store here. I’ve been using it for a few days and it seems to be OK.

Another option is ‘Create Booklet,‘ available for $19.95 from the Mac App Store. I have been using it for years and it is reliable and easily accessible from the print menu when you go to print a document. (There used to be a free version but it no longer works in Mojave).

Another paid option is booklet creator available for $30. It allows you to print a booklet up to 8 pages for free.

A third option is cheap imposter for $35.

Adobe Acrobat Pro (also paid) has an option to create a booklet in its print dialog.

The hard way – free!

If you are only doing this once, have plenty of time or like a challenge then you can create a booklet manually using Preview. This will give exactly the same result as the above applications. The OSX print dialog can do the hardest bit – rotating 2 pdf pages, shrinking them, and putting them together onto 1 page. But the order will be all wrong for a booklet. So all you need to do is rearrange the pages and then send it to the printer as 2 pages per sheet.

Step 1: Insert blank pages to bring the number of pages to a multiple of four.

You need to add some blank pages to the booklet out so that it has a multiple of 4 pages. (The booklet needs to be 4 pages, 8 pages, 12 pages, 16 pages etc.) You can do this in Preview with the ‘Insert – Blank Page’ (Found in the Edit menu.)

Insert blank pages into the pdf.

Step 2: Manually rearrange the pages of the pdf file into the right order for a booklet.

You need to rearrange the pages to be in the right order to make a booklet. This is the order you need:

4 pages: 4,1,2,3.

8 pages: 8,1,2,7,6,3,4,5.

16 pages: 16,1,2,15,14,3,4,13,12,5,6,11,10,7,8,9.

Can you see the pattern?

The pattern is Last, first x2, last x2, first x2 , last x2 etc.

In practice the way to do this is: Grab the Last page then delete it, grab the First page then delete it, grab the new first page then delete it, grab the last Page x2 etc until all the pages are gone.

I find the easiest way to do this is as follows:

  1. Open the pdf in preview.
  2. View thumbnails.
  3. Drag Last page of this pdf to desktop to make a new document. Delete last page from original document.
  4. Open new document in Preview and view thumbnails.
  5. Drag first page of original document into end of new document. Delete it from original.
  6. Drag new first page from original into new document. Delete it.
  7. Drag last page of original. Delete it.
  8. Drag last page of original. Delete it.
  9. Drag first page. etc till no pages left.

You can now select ‘Save to pdf’ to make a new pdf file of the booklet, or you can print the booklet directly to your printer.

Step 3: Shrink, rotate & combine the pages into a booklet.

This sounds complicated but OS X can foo it automatically. Yes – OS X can do the most complicated part it just can’t do the simple part of rearranging the pages!

To combine the pages into a booklet go to ‘Print’ the document and then select these 3 options under ‘Layout’:

  • ‘2 Pages per sheet’
  • ‘Two-Sided’
  • ‘Short-Edge binding’
‘2 up’ rotates each pair of pdf pages and combines them onto 1 page.
‘Short-Edge binding’ puts the inside pages the right way up.

If you have selected all three options you can either ‘Print’ directly to the printer, or a safer option is to select ‘Save to pdf, save it as a new pdf booklet, then print this booklet using preview.

Comments

12 responses to “How to print a pdf booklet in OS X Mojave.”

  1. Malcolm Chisholm

    I found an app called Booklet, on App Store, costs 99p. It rearranges the pages for you quickly and easily.
    Save the booklet as a pdf, open the pdf using the Booklet app.
    A bargain!

    1. Yes I’ve written a newer article about Booklet. It’s a great little app.

  2. Alex

    Hi Wayne, After reading your advice, having spent two days trying to work out why the original booklet app wasn’t working for me, Mojave, I just downloaded booklet but nothing happens? There is an icon but clicking on it does nothing? There are no instructions, so I am not even sure it is working? As you have used it and been successful can you give me a heads up? can you post a link to your new article about booklet as I am completely Googled out 😀 I have emailed support but am desperate for a quick reply. I am on a deadline to produce a charity booklet and am completely flummoxed…

  3. Thanks for mentioning Cheap Impostor. Although its registration fee is $35, it is free to use for any number of pages. Paying for a registration code unlocks variable zoom and the ability to shift the output on the pages, which are features none of the other options provide. For completeness, you might mention that if you’re terminal-savvy, the “psnup” tool that comes with LaTeX can also be used to create booklets.

  4. P. Rutkowski

    There IS way to fix ‘Create Booklet’ workflow!
    You must enable 3rd party actions AND change ‘open images in Preview’ action to ‘open Finder items’ using Preview – now everything will work! (I don’t know the exact name of new action in English since I’m using macOS in Polish right now)

    1. Dan-en-Provence

      I managed to enable 3rd party actions but I can’t see how to change “open images in Preview” to “open Finder items”
      so now Preview creates the booklet in the /tmp folder – which is better than nothing – but it would be great if someone could explain what I need to do to choose the folder to save the booklet to.

  5. Giles K

    Thanks for this, the cheap Booklet app doesn’t seem to be available in the UK any more so I will have to explore the “2-up” print option, looks really easy for up to 4 (or even 8) sides and very useful for, well, 2-up printing of flyers which previously I’d tried to do manually so Booklet’s demise may be a blessing in disguise.

    …. and I’ve just discovered that good old Acrobat Reader DC will print PDFs as booklets :) ….. albeit it seems pretty bloated and runs slowly on my old Macbook

  6. MACJ

    It been built in for a long time. On the “Pages per Sheet” drop down “Print as Booklet”
    or in earlier releases under the “double sided” drop down select “Booklet”.

  7. Len K

    My original booklet is 18 pages so according to your directions I need to add two blank pages. Where are they placed in the new thumbnail layout? You don’t mention this.

    1. Wherever you want the blank pages to be. Back page? Inside of back page? Inside of front page?

  8. Siemen

    For those looking for this feature in a newer Mac OSX version: it’s built-in now in the print dialogue: just choose the “Booklet” option in the “Two-Sided” dropdown and it’ll do it automatically. Found out after rearranging 76 pages :(. It also ensures it’s printed the right way: following the above steps, I ended up with a booklet that opens on the left side instead of the right side.

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