[Scribus] Imposition of PDF

John R. Culleton john
Sat Jun 23 16:29:02 CEST 2007

On Friday 22 June 2007 19:10, John Jason Jordan wrote:
> In the past I would do this with an InDesign script on Windows. I
> could still do so, but I'm trying to learn how to do things without
> Microsoft or Adobe.
> I am about to receive a 200-page PDF file (a book)  from a
> customer. The output will be to laser. The format will be
> half-letter, that is, 5.5 inches wide by 8.5 inches high. The PDF
> file will be in this format. Since it will be printed on 8.5 x 11
> paper landscape, I need to place each page of the PDF twice on each
> side. That is, the first sheet will have page 1 twice on one side
> and page 2 twice on the back. The second sheet will have page 3
> twice on one side and page 4 twice on the back -- and so on. The
> books will be printed collated so each copy coming out of the laser
> is really two copies of the book. Before binding the stacks are cut
> in two with the guillotine.
> I have Scribus on Ubuntu Feisty amd64. It runs just fine,
> but I don't think it can place PDF files one page at a time. Others
> have mentioned to me ps2pdf, but it's command line and the syntax
> to do an imposition is impossible to figure out. 

If you are running any version of linux and don't use the command line 
then you are hopping on one leg.  The command line is just typing 
text into a console window. Granted it is easier to do imposition 
upront in the Context version of TeX but with psutils and the like 
anything is possible.  

There are horses for courses. Scribus is not the tool I would use for 
this imposition problem, since the file is already in finished (pdf) 
form. Your Ubuntu system is really a Linux system whch means that 
tasks like yours are done with a sequence of utilities in classic 
Unix fashion. 

First, I take it your goal is to create a book with 5.5 x 8.5 inch 
page size using an ordinary laser printer and 8.5 x 11 paper. You 
need to take a slightly different approach, printing one book at a 
time and not two. 

Assume that the pdf file is named book.pdf.
First you convert the pdf pages to Postscript using e.g. pdftops:

pdftops book.pdf

The working file is named book.ps at this point.  Next you run the 
command psbook  as follows;
psbook -s4 book.ps bookb.ps

Now you have the book file (bookb.ps) in 4 page signatures. The order 
is 4 1 2 3 for the first signature. Next you need to set up these 
sheets for printing. You use the command 
psnup -2   -pletter  -Pfolio bookb.ps bookc.ps

You have just told the program to set two pages per sheet, the sheet 
size is letter and the input page  size is half letter (folio.)
The output is called bookc.ps

If the laser will duplex then you can print, fold and bind from file 
bookc.ps. The job is finished. 
If the laser (like mine) won't duplex then you have to  print in two 
passes. You need to select the evens from the odds.  this takes two 
runs of the command psselect:
psselect -o   bookc.ps booko.ps
psselect -e -r  bookc.ps booke.ps

My laser auxiliary feed selects from the top with printing side up, 
and stacks printing side down. Therefore I have to reverse the page 
order (-r) on the evens.  From tray 1 the -r is not needed. Depending 
on the selection process of your laser you may need to reverse none, 
one, or both selections with the -r parameter.   In any case once the 
pages are printed both sides then you fold and bind as before. 

I would experiment with e.g. an 8 page file until I got the sequence 
right for your particular printer. 

Incidentally a digital printing press follows a very similar procedure 
to the above using two up printing double sided.  That is why books 
submitted to a POD printer need to have page counts that are in 
signatures (multiples) of four. 

I do a similar procedure each weekend, using two scripts, one to set 
up the file and another to print each booklet.  I am imposing letter 
onto tabloid, and saddle stitching the sheets. Since I do the same 
procedure over and over again each week using different input files I 
use the $1 parameter substitution technique in my Linux script.  Here 
are the actual scripts I use:
psbook $1.ps $1b.ps
echo 'psnup'
psnup -2 -ptabloid -Pletter $1b.ps $1p.ps
echo 'psselect'
psselect -o   $1p.ps $1o.ps
psselect -e -r  $1p.ps $1e.ps
lpr $1o.ps
echo 'switch paper'
read x
lpr $1e.ps

I call these scripts with just the name of the file and not the 
suffix, e.g., 
scripta mybook
once and
scriptb mybook
for each copy needed. 

I staple using a long stapler and fold each booklet by hand using a 
folding bone. You would fold each page and then bind the stack using 
(I presume) glue. If you want to guillotine the folded edges you can 
but the folded stack will glue better.    

Your proposed method of two copies of the book to be printed at once 
side by side is a bit of an aberration for a local laser. The above 
is an easier method using an ordinary laser printer and standard 
Unix/Linux utilities.   You don't need a guillotine but a folding 
machine would be handy. Maybe a local printer or copy shop would let 
you use their folding machine for a fee.

The utilities I use, psbook. psnup, and psselect are in the free 
package PSUtils. You can download it if you don't already have it on 
your Ubuntu system.


John Culleton
ATTN Publishers/authors:
If you don't read you don't succeed.
Free short list of publishing/marketing books. 

More information about the scribus mailing list