Brochure layouts have always bothered me. OK, I’m spatially challenged and I forget if I’m supposed to start on the left side or the right side. I remember creating some, but I had started with a software template or created a borderless table in landscape mode to accommodate my pages and margins. Bottom line, I wasn’t keen on retrofitting my Word document.
Adobe to the Rescue
The key to solving my brochure problem was to convert my Microsoft Word document to PDF. You no longer need Adobe Acrobat as there are many services that convert Word documents to PDF. Some are fee based, but others like Zamzar are free. Even Microsoft provides a free Word 2007 add-on to save a file as PDF.
Once the document is converted to PDF, you will need an Adobe product. The good news is it’s the free Adobe Reader. Most computers have this software installed. With version 8.0 Adobe added Booklet Printing. The feature didn’t get much press unless you read the What’s New references.
The Booklet Printing feature handles the conversion issues while still allowing some print flexibility. For example, I opted to print the “front sides” first and then the “back sides” as my printer doesn’t have duplex printing.
Converting Word Document to a Brochure
The process below has worked well for me. The trickiest part is knowing how to print on both sides of the paper with your printer. This is a question you’d have to answer if you created the brochure in Word as well.
1. Convert your Word document to a PDF format using a tool mentioned above.
2. Review your PDF document for any conversion problems.
3. Open your PDF in Acrobat Reader 8 or above.
4. From the File menu, select Print…
5. In the Page Scaling: section, select Booklet Printing.
6. From the Booklet subset: select the option that matches your printer. Because I don’t have a duplex printer, I started with Front side only.
(Notice how the Preview Composite image on the right side changes.)
You can scroll through your document by using the slider on the right.
7. Click OK.
8. Grab your print output and place the pages back into your printer’s paper tray.
9. Go back to the Print dialog and change the Booklet subset: to Back side only.
10. Click OK.
(Note: The example PDF used in these screen prints is from John Haydon’s Twitter Jump Start guide for non-profits. It is not the documentation project I reference in this article.)
Differences between PDF Booklet & Word Document
There are some important differences between the brochures. As good as Adobe Reader is about converting your Word document to a printed brochure, you don’t have the same control. The Adobe preview tool provides a scaled down version of what you’ll see. Sometimes, you won’t notice a layout issue until you see your printed copy. In contrast, Word’s Print Preview option shows the page in a larger window.
The other items that may be an issue for people are fonts and margins. These issues can be resolved by adjusting your source Word document. You don’t have these controls in Adobe Reader.
I’ve been pleased with Adobe Reader’s Booklet Printing. It’s an easy way to convert Word documents to a printed brochure. Your results will vary based on the document’s complexity.
Additional Brochure Resource
Last Updated (Friday, 18 June 2010 18:48)