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Author Topic: Problems making a PDF using OpenOffice  (Read 5101 times)
Andrew Morris
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« on: September 08, 2005, 11:53:54 AM »

This is a pretty simple question, but I couldn't seem to find the answer anywhere, either on the Forge or online. I have a game that is nearing the playtest phase, so I want to make a PDF out of it. The problem I've run into is that the document was created as a booklet in MS Word, which doesn't create PDFs. That's not such a big deal, because you can print a booklet in OpenOffice, and OpenOffice can save as a PDF. However, when I tried saving it as a PDF in OpenOffice, I realized that the booklet option is a printing option in OpenOffice, whereas it's a formatting option in MS Word. Huh. So I can't figure out how to save the document as a PDF that, when printed, could be folded in half (and optionally stapled) to make a little booklet.

I'm stumped. Does anyone have any advice here?
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Chris Goodwin
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« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2005, 12:04:42 PM »

If I were doing it, I'd print to file using a PostScript printer driver (turning it into a PostScript file), then turn it from that PostScript file to a PDF using one of the many tools that are out there (ps2pdf for *nix, probably Ghostscript for Windows). 
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Chris Goodwin
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Josh Roby
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« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2005, 12:09:30 PM »

Geek Moment: PDF is really little more than an encapsulated PostScript file.  PostScript is the near-universal format with which computers speak with printers.  Therefore, nearly any program can create a pdf if you fool it into sending that postscript information to a pdf writing process which encapsulates it into pdf.

I assume you've got your game laid out in OpenOffice with the pages in order (1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8); you want to output it pretty profoundly out of numerical order and two screen pages on every physical page (1&8 2&7 3&6 4&5).  At first gloss, I'm going to guess that it can't be done easily (such as clicking on an option checkbox or something), unless OpenOffice can normally send the file to the printer in that topsy-turvy format.

If OpenOffice can give you a physical copy through your printer like you want in pdf, try setting it up that way, and "print" to pdf.  That may work.  If it doesn't and OpenOffice has a 'print to file' option, try that, open the file, and see if it's now magically in 1&8 2&7 3&6 4&5 format.  If it is, print that to pdf.

Otherwise, you are going to have to create a new OpenOffice file and do a lot of copying and pasting to get the numerically-ordered pages in the original into the topsy-turvy printable order that you want.  Then output that to pdf.

If you want to avoid that mess, you might try exporting your OpenOffice file to something that can more easily move to pdf, either with Save As or Export options, or by the simple expediency of copying it out of OpenOffice and pasting it into some other application.

And lastly, there's the option of saying 'screw it' and releasing your playtest copy in simple numerical order.
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Andrew Morris
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« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2005, 12:29:48 PM »

Chris, Joshua -- thanks. I'll give your suggestions a shot when I get home tonight.

Oh, and Joshua, OpenOffice lets you print in the "topsy-turvy" booklet form that I'm looking for, but that is done through an option in the print window, it's not something you can set so that you see it that way onscreen. Does this change any of your advice?
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Josh Roby
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« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2005, 12:35:26 PM »

Andrew, try setting it up in that other window, then switching to pdf and making the file.  The output might be what you're looking for.
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Andrew Morris
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« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2005, 12:42:32 PM »

I'll double-check, but as I recall, once you are in that print window, you can't go back and select PDF as an option. But, as I said, I will try it out again tonight.
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rrr
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« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2005, 07:41:35 AM »

Hey Andrew.

I'm hoping I have understood your question correctly.  I have an answer for you that I hope will allow you to accomplish what you want.  I'm not sure anyone else has answered the question fully.

What you are talking about is what is called "imposition" and is the process of getting the pages in the right order so they print out correctly for a folded book.

First up, most word-processing packages don't have much support for advanced impositioning, if they have any impositiioning at all it is basic at the best.  You issue is that whilst OO will allow you to export as a PDF, it won't perform impositioning at the same time.  (the PDF feature on OO is designed for internet and office use really, rather than print use, and impositioning is something you only need to do if you are physically printing.)

And as you have mentioned, OO allows you to perform basic impositioning (go to print, click options, check "brochure" )  but then you are struggling to send this layout to a PDF.

Here is an answer.  There may be others.

First you need to install a PDF Printer.  Go here: http://www.cutepdf.com/Products/CutePDF/writer.asp and download CutePDF. It's free and works well.  You need to download two things: Cute PDF and the GNU Converter.  Both are on that site as links on the top left.  Just install both (very quick) and you will notice you have now got an additional printer listed as an option when you go to print (CutePDF Writer)

Now you need to think about your setup.  If your document is going to be printed on standard size paper and then folded in half, each page of your document needs to be the size of half a sheet of normal paper.  Go to Format>page and change the page size.  In European sizes (not sure what page sizes are used in the states) if you are printing to A4 you need to set page size to A5 (half A4)  I shall use these sizes in these instructions, you will need to replace them with whatever sizes you use.

Having done that, you need to set up the Printer settings.

Go File>Printer Settings, select "CutePDF Writer" from the drop down menu and click on Properties.  Choose landscape as the paper layout.  (you want the A4 physical sheet to be laid out landscape so that the two A5 pages print next to one another in Portrait if that makes sense.)

Whilst in Printer Properties you need to make sure your printer is going to print to A4 not A5.  (other wise this won't work at all!)  Click on the "Advanced" button and select A4 as your paper size.  Close all these windows and go back to your document.

Now you just have to print it.  Go File>Print, select "CutePDF Writer" as your printer, and click the "Options" button.  Check "Brochure" and ok it.  Now just print the document.  You will be presented with a dialogue box asking where you want to save your PDF, choose a location and you're done!

When you open this PDF you will find it laid out in the topsy-turvy fashion necessary to print to a booklet.

The only thing I would say is that if you are sending this to a professional print service, you probably don't need to do this impositioning, as they will do it for you from a standard PDF.

Anyway, hope this helps.

Drew
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My name is Drew
I live just outside north London, UK
Here's my 24hours Ronnies entry: Vendetta
Andrew Morris
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« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2005, 11:11:26 AM »

Drew, wow, thanks for this detailed post. I'll give it a shot and see how it works, since I wasn't having much luck with anything else. This is absolutely not for print, it's just a convenient way to send the playtest to others and have it print in the handy booklet form, rather than relying on them knowing how to do so on their end.
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rrr
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« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2005, 01:36:16 AM »

Let me know how it works out for you.

BTW I'll add another point.

Getting the imposition right will not really be much good unless you have a printer capable of duplex printing.  Duplex is when the printer switches the paper round to print on the front and the back.  Unless you can give very specific instructions as to how to print the document and which sheets to feed in what order and which ones upside down, your play-testers will have trouble printing this right to make a booklet...

Imagine a simple 8 page booklet. You will have 2 sheets of paper, each with four pages printed on them.  There will be two pages next to each other on each side of the sheet.  They will be numbered:

8 & 1 (front and back covers)
2 & 7
6 & 3
4 & 5

You need to make sure pages 2 & 7 are on the back of 8 & 1  and  4 & 5 are on the back of 6 & 3.  Otherwise when you staple them together, the pages won't be in order.

This is easy enough with short booklets.  Just make a guide by folding blank paper into the correct booklet shape, then numbering the pages throughout, including front and back covers.  Then take the book apart and note which pages are on the back of which.  Actually I really recommend you do this.  It really helps to see a mock-up of how things will work out.

OO will lay the document out in the right order for you, but you'll have to feed the pages into the printer in the right order, and the right way up!

Drew
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My name is Drew
I live just outside north London, UK
Here's my 24hours Ronnies entry: Vendetta
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