Master your printer!
All printers are different. The way they load paper, turn or not, and reload can be a jungle. Here is a complete guide to mastering how to turn your pages manually. Either your printer cannot do this automatically, or you choose to do it yourself to get better alignment front to back, or take advantage of better print quality that can’t be achieved when printing double sided automatically. Some printers can deliver super high quality prints, but not turn pages at the same time.
If you have ever struggled to figure your printer out, this is the guide for you!
This is what we’ll go through:
- How to print double sided, even if your printer can’t do it automatically
- Portrait, Landscape and Booklet printing
- How to print and reload so that the backside prints correctly
- Realising different software may print differently. In a multiple page print, some will deliver the first page on top, and others in the bottom.
Yes, but completely figure-out-able. Let’s do this together!
Choose to master:
Portrait, Landscape or Booklet projects
Printing a double sided project, when your printer can’t turn pages automatically, or you choose to do it yourself for better quality or when using special paper.
We have guides for Portrait, Landscape and Booklet printing.
Our Printing Guides and Test Files are based on Adobe Acrobat Reader but you can use your own software and printing project.
Note: Don’t print directly from your browser, that usually limits your options. We recommend Adobe Acrobat Reader, or any software you are comfortable with.
Printing a double sided Portrait project, when your printer can’t turn pages automatically, or you choose to do it yourself for better quality or when using special paper.
Printing multiple pages
If you wish to test a Multi-Page Print, you can use the Multi-Page Portrait Test File. It will use 3 sheets of A4 or Letter size paper. Instructions are included in the same Portrait Printing Guide as above.
Printing a double sided Landscape project, when your printer can’t turn pages automatically, or you choose to do it yourself for better quality or when using special paper.
Printing multiple pages
If you wish to test a Multi-Page Print, you can use the Multi-Page Landscape Test File. It will use 3 sheets of A4 or Letter size paper. Instructions are included in the same Portrait Printing Guide as above.
Combine single pages → to booklet laid out prints → and fold into a booklet
Booklet printing is essentially landscape printing, where you use single pages and put them together 2 per page, 4 per sheet, fold and staple or bind together. Our test file is 12 pages in A5 size, it will use 3 sheets of paper and use minimal ink or toner. Print it on A4 or Letter size.
In Adobe Acrobat Reader you can do this easily, even if your printer can’t turn pages automatically, or when you choose to do it manually for better quality or when using special paper.
If your printer can’t turn pages automatically, also download the Booklet Printing Guide:
When your printer can print double sided automatically
- Download the Booklet Test File and save it to your computer. You can print this test file on A4 or Letter size.
- Open the test print in Adobe Acrobat Reader on your computer
- Go to File/Print
- Choose option Print on both sides of paper and Flip on Short edge
(Sometimes you choose this in the printers properties section. On a mac it is usually called Printer in the bottom of the dialog box. On Windows it is often called Properties and found on top beside the namne of the printer.
Look for Duplex or Double sided printing, or Print on Both Sides of the paper
The way to turn can be called Left or Short-edge binding or similar)
- Choose Booklet
- Choose Orientation: Portrait and check “Auto-rotate pages within each sheet”
- Click Print
- Collect your print, fold, and your booklet is done!
When you manually turn the pages
If you have to, or choose to, turn your pages manually, follow our Booklet Printing Guide to figure all the steps out.
(Yes, you might choose to do this manually, because some printers give better options for high quality and special paper when printing single sided only, even if they also offer double sided printing.)
Sizing and scaling
It’s quite common for software to adjust our document size to the paper size we’re printing on. In Adobe Acrobat Reader the default is to fit the document to the page. This may not be what we want!
If you have a document in A4 and are printing on A4, and want it exactly that size, make sure to uncheck “Fit to page”, “Scale each page to fit paper” or similar option (depending on your softwares dialog box), as this will scale to make sure you get your hole page printed. In Adobe Acrobat Reader you can click option “Actual size”.
Actual size in Adobe Acrobat Reader will give you a print in 100%. The only time this will be overridden is when printing Booklet in same or larger size, when Reader will shrink your document to fit the pages.
Our printables are made to exact measurements, and needs to be printed in Actual size, or 100%. Exceptions can be made if you for example want our A5 inserts scaled up to A4 or down to A6
You can also scale up or down as preferred. Note that the document needs to have exact or similar proportions to print well in other sizes. Filofax Personal size will not scale up good to A5, since the personal size is much slimmer than A5. The A and B formats do lend themselves to scaling well. For example A5 can easily be scaled to A4, B6 or A6. Check the scaling info to get the easy formula for calculating your scaling, and also find some common percentages for scaling common sizes.
You can read about insert sizes the article Paper sizes compared.
How to scale
To find your preferred scaling, use some simple math. Find the width of your paper and divide that by the width of your document.
Example: A4 (your paper) is 210 mm wide and A5 (your document) is 148 mm wide:
210/148=1,41 giving the scale 141%
→ Enter 141% as your custom scale
A5 to A4: 141%
A5 to B6: 84%
A5 to A6: 70%
A4 to A5: 70%
A4 to B6: 59%
A4 to A6: 50%
B6 to A5: 118%
B6 to A4: 168%
Common questions and some Tips & Tricks
Different apps and software deliver prints differently. With multiple page prints, some apps put the first page on top, when other places them last. That’s why our cheat sheet has
- Checkboxes for you to note which software you are using
- Checkboxes for noting if the first page comes out on top or the bottom of the pile
You can keep one cheat sheet for every type of printing project you use, that way you just check the next time.
To change the order, look for a choice called something like “Reverse pages” or “Reverse order“. It may or may not be available.
If your printer prints double sided automatically, try changing which side to flip your pages on on. It may be called “Print on both sides of paper” and options “Flip on short end” or “Flip on Long end”.
Sometimes these settings are done in the Properties of the printer. Look for options called something similar as above. It may also be called “Duplex”, Two-sided”, Print on Both Sides”, with options like “Long-edge binding”, Short-edge binding”.
If your printer can’t turn automatically, follow our guides above and figure this out for the printer you are using!
Make sure to uncheck “Fit to page”, “Scale each page to fit paper” or similar option (depending on your softwares dialog box), as this will scale to make sure you get your hole page printed. This is not always what you want! You can often set page scaling to your preferred percent, to scale up, down or not scale at all (100% for Actual size).
Read more on scaling above!
Yes. It changes from software to software and printer to printer. We’ll just have to deal with it!
Use our cheat sheet for each type of printing project, and note the specifics, and make your own handy manual for each type of project.
Look for a checkbox called Grayscale or Black & White. In most print dialog boxes you can opt to print colour in Black and White.
You can enlarge and print a pdf over several sheets of paper in Adobe Acrobat Reader:
- Open your file in Adobe Acrobat Reader
- Click option “Poster”
- Scale by entering a percentage, like 200%.
- Choose if you would like some overlap to make sure you don’t get any whitespace in between your separate sheets
- Choose options Cut marks if you like
- You can set Orientation to either Portrait or Landscape, according to what suits your project best
When you have printed, cut your pieces out and put together, and voila, you have a large print!
If you don’t have your file as a pdf, you can convert it in an online converter, or see if you have the option on your computer to save, export or print to pdf. There are also several free pdf printers available, where you go to File/Print and choose your pdf printer as a printer, and when you click Print, it will create a pdf for you!
You are free to do as you please, but we have personally destroyed three printers by buying cheap alternative ink cartridges.
We have found that the original ink lasts longer than the cheap, and what is more important, your printer lasts longer. The oldest one of ours still in use is from 2010, and it works perfectly.
If you are super tech savvy, there is probably ways to find out what alternative inks work well with different printers, but if you want to stay on the safe side, just keep to the original ones.
Yep. They do everything differently. Load differently, deliver prints face up or face down, in different directions… You will have to get to know each printer.
With our Printing guides above you can outsmart all of them!
That’s why we have the option to note which printer you are using on our Printing Guides above. You can save one as a cheat sheet for each printing project you use, so you have your own manual for your specific project or situation.
For inserts we usually go with regular 80 gr copy paper. Sometimes it’s nice to use a thicker paper, and if you can go and check them out yourself in a store that’s great.
For dividers at least 120 gr is good, we usually go with 160 gr silk and laminate the tabs only. If you laminate the whole thing you can go with thinner paper.
If you have a favourite paper you can go with that! Some love to use fountain pen friendly paper, or a special colour or texture.
There are so many places to source paper that we can’t really recommend anything specific. If you stop by your local office supply store you’ll find something that works for you, and you could also ask for help there.