Booklet Printing in InDesign

The “Print Booklet” feature in InDesign lets you create printer spreads for printing saddle stitch booklets, magazines, or traditional books. With this feature, your pages will appear in sequence as you work, but can be printed in the appropriate order for folding and binding when you are ready.

Here’s a brief introduction to what you should know about this easy-to-use feature.
Note: much of this information can also be found in wonderfully useful Adobe Help-center.

Getting Started

Choose “File” > “Print Booklet” in InDesign.

Print Booklet Menu

In the example below, the (8) pages appear in sequential order in the layout window. However, in printer spreads, page 2 is positioned next to page 7, so that when the two pages are printed on the same sheet, folded, and collated, the pages end up in the appropriate order.

You can choose a variety of “Booklet Types” including: 2-up Saddle Stitch, 2-up Perfect Bound, and Consecutive.

PrintBooklet Types InDesign

2-up Saddle Stitch (easy!)

This creates two-page, side-by-side printer spreads. These printer spreads are appropriate for printing on both sides, collating, folding, and stapling.

Please remember, that you need to make sure you have an EVEN amount of “spreads” (there are 2 pages in a spread) for the booklet to print properly. Otherwise, the “Print Booklet” feature will add blank pages to your document. This means your booklet need to be created with 4’s in mind (8 pages, 12 pages, 16 pages, 20 pages, 24 pages and so on).

Preview a summary of booklet printing

The “Preview” area of the “Print Booklet” dialog box lets you review color thumbnails of the printer spreads created by your selected imposition style. You can also see the printer’s marks you’ve specified in the “Print” dialog box.
1. Choose “File” > “Print Booklet.”
2. Do any of the following:
◦ Click “Preview” on the left side of the dialog box. To flip through the printer spreads, click the scroll arrows. Click the left scroll arrow to go backwards from spread to spread. You can also drag the scroll box to change printer spreads.
◦ Click “Summary” on the left side of the “Print Booklet” dialog box to view a summary of current booklet settings. Check the bottom of the Summary area for any conflicting settings.

Print Booklet Preview

How to print blank pages

Sometimes you have blank pages in your document that you would like to be included in your printed document. InDesign’s default is to ignore these pages, so what do you do?

First, navigate to the “Print Settings” button the bottom of your “Print Booklet” window. This will open a new window of features for you to make adjustments to the printed document (included page size and marks and bleeds). At the bottom of the first “General” window, check the box labeled “Print Blank Pages.” Now, when you’re ready to return to main Print Booklet window (after clicking OK), your blank pages should be included in your document.

InDesign Print Booklet Blank Pages

Print Vocabulary: Terms to know

The process of creating printer spreads from layout spreads is called imposition. While imposing pages, you can change settings to adjust spacing between pages, margins, bleed, and creep. The layout of your InDesign document is not changed, because the imposition is all handled in the print stream (no pages are shuffled or rotated in the document).

Space Between Pages
This specifies the gap between pages (the right side of the left page and the left side of the right page). You can specify a Space Between Pages value for all the booklet types except saddle stitch. For Perfect Bound documents, if you are creeping in (with a negative value), the minimum Space Between Pages value is the width of the Creep value. If you’re manually creating signatures (for example, if there are different stocks in the same document), you can enter a Space Between Pages value to specify a starting creep for spreads that belong to different signatures.

Bleed Between Pages
Specifies the amount of space used to allow page elements to encroach the gap in Perfect Bound printer spread styles. This option is sometimes referred to as crossover.) The field accepts values between 0 and half the Space Between Pages value. You can specify this option only when 2-up Perfect Bound is selected.

Specifies the amount of space necessary to accommodate paper thickness and folding on each signature. In most cases, you’ll want to specify a negative value to create a push-in effect. You can specify Creep for 2-up Saddle Stitch and 2-up Perfect Bound booklet types. (See “Understanding Creep” below).

Signature Size
Specifies the number of pages in each signature for 2-up Perfect Bound documents. If the number of pages to be imposed is not evenly divisible by the Signature Size value, blank pages are added to the end of the document as necessary.

Automatically Adjust To Fit Marks And Bleeds
This lets InDesign calculate the margins to accommodate the bleeds and the other printer mark options currently set. The fields under Margins are dimmed when this option is selected, but they reflect the actual values that will be used to fit marks and bleeds. If you deselect this option, you can adjust the margin values manually.

Specifies the amount of space that surrounds the actual printer spread after trimming. To specify individual values for Top, Bottom, Left, and Right, deselect Automatically Adjust To Fit Marks And Bleeds, and increase the values to insert extra space beyond the default marks and bleeds. (Decreasing the values may result in clipping the marks and bleeds.) You can specify margin values for all booklet printing types.

Print Blank Printer Spreads
If the number of pages to be imposed is not evenly divisible by the Signature Size value, blank pages or spreads are added to the end of the document. Use this option to determine whether those blank spreads at the end of the document are printed. Note that printing other blank pages in the document is controlled by the Print Blank Pages option in the Print dialog box.