Recently in Faqs! Facts! Fax! we tackled a question about creating booklets using Microsoft Word; we still get a steady stream of enquiries about that item so we thought it was about time we took a closer look at this apparently straightforward task. Word is the world’s most popular word processor program and it can do lots of clever things but one thing it cannot do, at least not easily, is print booklets.

In fact it is quite a tricky business; judge for yourself. Take three sheets of A4 paper and fold them in half to produce a 6-page A5 sized booklet. Number the pages, with page 1 facing the inside front cover, and so on. Unfold the sheets and you’ll see that the numbering is all over the place, and to make matters even more complicated, it’s on both sides of the paper.

It can be done with Word, but it has to be said that it’s a lot easier with other word processors like Lotus Word Pro and DTP programs such as Serif Page Plus. If you are wedded to Word there are several add-on printing utilities you can buy that that make the whole thing a lot easier, we’ll consider the alternatives in part 2.

Before we begin a few words on printing methods. By all means use your inkjet or laser printer if you only intend running off half a dozen or so copies of your booklet, but any more and it will be quicker and cheaper to use a photocopier, that is until you get to 100 or more copies, at which point you would be well advised to get a quote from a local print shop.

Have all of the text and graphics files you’ll be using ready and make a layout dummy, -- as before with sheets of A4 paper -- marking page numbers and roughly where you want everything to go. Next, configure Word; select Page Layout (Word 97) or Print Layout (Word 2000) on the View menu. Now go to the File menu and Page Setup, on the Paper Size tab select Landscape. On the drop-down menu next to the ‘Zoom’ setting on the toolbar select Two Pages. The desktop should now show a single page, in landscape view, with a flashing cursor. To force Word to display more pages press and hold the Return key and additional pages appear on the screen. You need to display twice the number of A4 pages you’ll be using, representing both sides of each sheet. In other words, if you are making a 12-page A5 booklet -- made up of 3 sheets of A4 -- you need to create 6 blank pages.

The next step is to create boxes to put the text in. You need two per side (four per sheet). Increase the zoom size to 50% or 75%, (or set the size manually, to show one side of A4 at a time). Call up the Drawing toolbar, (if it’s not displayed right-click into an empty area next to a toolbar and select it from the list) and click on the Text Box icon. The cursor turns to a crosshair, position it in a corner of the first sheet then click and drag a box to fill approximately half of one side of the page. Use the sizing handles to adjust and position the box. Leave borders top and bottom, for headings or page numbers, and plenty of room in the middle of the page for the fold or ‘gutter’.

When you are happy with it move the cursor to the shaded edge of the box, until it changes to a cross with arrows, click and hold, press Ctrl, the cursor changes to a ‘+’ sign then drag an exact copy of the box to the other side of the page. Line the second box up and repeat the copy procedure as many as necessary to put pairs of text boxes on every page. (You may find this easier with the zoom setting on Two Pages).  Next, insert text boxes for page numbers, refer to your layout dummy and work in sequence, starting with the outside front and back cover. On a 12 page booklet the next ‘spread’ would be numbered 1 and 8, followed by 6 and 3 then, working back out to the covers, 4 and 5, 2 and 7 and finally the inside front cover and page 9. It’s easier to create one page number box per sheet, type in the number, drag and drop a copy (click and hold the Ctrl key) and change the number.

Open your text file and copy it to the Clipboard, return to your blank booklet layout, click into page 1 to highlight the box. Select Paste or Ctrl + V and the box fills with text; click on the chain symbol on the Text Box tool bar, the cursor changes to a pouring jug icon, move it to your page 2 text box, click the mouse and the next section of text flows into the space; repeat and fill all of the pages in sequence. ‘Linked’ text boxes behave exactly like ordinary pages in a document, so you can edit and modify your layout as you please. Do a test print, to check page numbering and make sure everything lines up. You can change or get rid of the border around text boxes using the Line Colour and Line Style commands on the Drawing toolbar (set line colour to white for no border).

If you are photocopying print out all of the sheets as is and use them as your ‘masters’.  To print the booklet directly use the Print command on the File menu, in the Page Range option box select the page numbers for the first half of the job then, load them back into the printer, not forgetting to face them the other way around, and print the second batch of pages on the back. All that remains is to compile, staple, fold and distribute your masterwork.

Next week – booklet alternatives




A section of memory where chunks of text, data, graphics or pictures can be shared by Windows applications


Desktop publishing, a computer program designed to facilitate typesetting, page layout and production


The blank space between the inner margins of two facing pages in a magazine, newspaper or book



If you do a lot of writing using MS Word (versions 97 or 2000) and frequently   need to do a word count then here’s the steps you need to take to put a one-click word count button on the toolbar. Select Customize on the Tools menu and the Commands tab. In the Categories window click on Tools and scroll down the list in the right-hand pane to find Word Count. Click, hold and drag Word Count onto the toolbar of your choice, where it will appear in a black rectangle. Right click on it and on he menu that appears select Change Button Image, choose an icon – the calculator seems appropriate – and the icon appears in the box. Right click on it once again, select Default Style and the words disappear, leaving just the icon button. If at any stage you want to remove the button select Customize once again, click on the button and a black border appears, drag and drop the button onto the desktop and it’s gone.

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