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How to Prepare Your Booklet For Printing?

We all want our publications to look their best. The design and professional layout of a paper booklet is essential in capturing people’s attention.

When trying to get our message across using printed materials, it’s important to know the key steps in preparing a booklet for print. From this article, you’ll learn how to choose the right format, work on the appearance and ensure the highest quality of images and text. You’ll also get tips on how to make your own booklet and prepare it for printing.

So let’s dive into the world of printing and learn how to make beautiful booklets that your readers will remember for a long time.


Preparing for Booklet Printing

There are many booklet types, from product catalogs to event programs – and each different type requires different printing needs. After considering the elements below, you will gain an idea of how you want your booklet to look after printing.

Type of Paper

When it comes to choosing the paper, there are several options, each with its own distinct characteristics. You need to decide on paper weight and texture because all of this will affect the printing quality of the final booklet printing.

different types of paper

Silk paper is often recommended as a default choice due to its smooth finish, which offers a professional look and feel. Gloss paper, on the other hand, provides a shiny and premium quality appearance, making it a great option for showcasing high-resolution photography for customer satisfaction, or creating eye-catching covers. Uncoated paper, with its rough texture, adds a vintage touch and imparts a slightly subdued effect on colors, making it popular for achieving a faded and retro aesthetic, particularly in zines.

If you’re uncertain about which paper to choose for the inside pages, silk paper is a safe bet that consistently delivers good results. Gloss and uncoated papers offer specific advantages based on your desired aesthetic and content requirements.

Binding options

When creating small booklets, there are three main types of binding to consider.

Staple binding is the most common and cost-effective method. It involves placing two staples in the middle of the center of double pages to hold them together. You need to add a light cover made of silk cover stock so that staples don’t fall apart.

Perfect binding, on the other hand, is like a softcover book because the individual pages are glued to the spine, which has a square edge. This type of binding is often used for high-end publications, as it makes books look more professional. Some high-end books are saddle-stitched, using thread to bind pages to the spine – but saddle-stitching might be too expensive for most booklets.

However, it is important to note that the perfect-bound booklets need to have square spines, and the paper must be at least a certain thickness. For example, 130 g/m2 of paper would require at least 36 sides to meet the minimum thickness requirement. If the paper were thinner, more pages would be needed to make the binding work.

Wiro binding or wire-o binding is less common for small booklet printing. In this case, rings of loop wire hold the pages together through holes punched in them. Wire-o designs are often used for custom sizes, such as notepads and trade catalogs.

Wiro binding

Size of paper

The most popular booklet sizes vary depending on the country and what the designer or organization wants. However, there are a few popular sizes that are often used.

A5 is half the size of A4 and is about 5.83 inches wide and 8.27 inches high (148 mm by 210 mm). This is the format of many booklets and notebooks in Europe, for example, and is very popular with booklets. Other variants are B5 or smaller ones, like A6 and B6. It’s the right page size if you want to create smaller books, like a coloring book or other custom booklets.

different sizes of paper

Half-Letter: This size is half the size of the American Letter page and is about 5.5 by 8.5 inches (140 mm by 216 mm). It is a small and inexpensive option, often used for publishing brochures or flyers in the United States.

DL: The DL size is about 3.9 inches wide and 8.27 inches high (99 mm by 210 mm). Because DL booklets are long and thin, they are good for presenting information in a clear and visually appealing way.

How Long Does it Take to Print a Booklet?

The time it takes to print a booklet can depend on many factors, and the delivery date might depend on the individual printer. The production schedule can be affected by the complexity of the project, the number of booklets you want to order, the printing method used, and the availability of printing resources.

In general, pre-press, printing, and finishing can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks for small to medium runs. Often, small orders are a lower priority for printers than well-paying ones. It’s always important to talk to the printing house or other printers to get a more accurate estimate based on your needs and their current workload.

How to Prepare Your Booklet For Printing?

Preparing your booklet for printing is not an easy task. Booklet printing involves several important steps that ensure a smooth and successful printing process. You start with the idea and then you need to end with a finished booklet from first to back cover.

Collect all the Content For Your Booklet

To create a booklet, you must first write it. Gather everything you want to include – this can be text, images, charts, graphs, or anything else you want to add.

collecting content

Make sure you carefully proofread and edit your work to make it as correct and easy to understand as possible. Arrange the content in a way that makes sense, keeping in mind the flow of information and how the booklet as a whole is laid out.

If you need more advice, we have prepared a guide on how to make a booklet, full of design tips, and available for you now!

Place and Format Your Content in an Authoring Tool

Once you’ve written down all your content, it’s time to put it into a content authoring tool and format it.

authoring tool on laptop

Authoring tools, such as design software or DTP programs, provide the tools you need to organize content, change layouts and use different formatting styles. If you want to prepare a PDF, you can create it in a tool like Microsoft Word, reach for free software like Canva, or use a professional tool like InDesign, Affinity Publisher, or the free Scribus. Such tools make it easy to place text frames on blank pages and splash pages and harmonize them with illustrations.

If you’re interested in learning and designing content for booklets, you can check out our list of the best authoring tools.

If you want to prepare your content for booklet printing, think about things like font selection, font size, headings, mid-headings, spacing, and alignment to make the booklet look good and be well organized.

Prepare Your File for Printing

After organizing the content and ensuring proper formatting, it is crucial to prepare the PDF proof with the necessary technical details for printing. This includes checking that the print-ready PDF meets the specific requirements and specifications set by the chosen printing service.

Check the recommended file format, which is often PDF, to ensure compatibility. Many printers will accept files in PDF or InDesign format, but this is not a rule. Avoid formats like PSD or DOC – these are great for creating graphics but aren’t universal.

Additionally, pay attention to the image resolution, aiming for a minimum of 300 dots per inch (DPI) to guarantee sharp and clear images. Many files on the Internet are 72 DPI, so when creating files for digital publication consider how high-quality the images are.

If you’re aiming for full-color printing, you need to consider color balance. Confirm whether the printing service requires a specific color mode, such as CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) or RGB (red, green, blue), and adjust the file accordingly to ensure accurate color reproduction. It’s fairly easy to convert a file between the two formats. If you’re not sure how the file will look using CMYK, you can print it on your home or office printer.

booklet printing

Implement the appropriate print bleed settings, usually around 0.125 inches or 3 mm, to extend the background elements beyond the trim edge. This prevents white borders or gaps in the final printed product.

Remember, too, that the number of pages must be evenly divisible by 4 – consider adding extra pages, illustrations, notes, or an index if you are two pages short. The minimum is an 8-page booklet – printing might be more problematic. Add blank pages if necessary, remembering that you can leave single pages before and after the content.

Be extra cautious when reviewing the file and troubleshooting any problems, such as low-resolution images, incorrect color profiles, or font embedding issues that may affect the printing process.

Fulfill Your Printing Order

After preparing your file, it’s time to print your order. At this stage, you choose a reliable booklet printing service that offers all the printing and finishing options you need. Give them your finished file and let them know if you have any special needs or preferences regarding the printing process.

Be sure to double-check and approve any samples or proofs before proceeding with the final printing. Once you are satisfied, confirm your order and wait for your professionally printed booklets to be shipped.

Since you’ve already prepared a high-quality PDF, you can upload it to Publuu as well. This will give you a digital flipbook that looks like a finished book – and once it’s uploaded to our secure cloud, you can enhance it with additional features. Add links, animated GIFS, videos, or photo slide show. Flipbook is a great example of how you can transform a regular booklet into an interactive online booklet:

Publuu’s online booklet example

View more online booklet examples



As you can see, preparing a booklet for printing is not difficult. You need to think about how the finished product will look in the hands of your readers. Choose the right type of paper, binding options, and booklet sizes, such as A5, half-letter, and DL. Estimate the time required for printing based on these factors. Most printers will complete an order within a dozen days or so.

When preparing for booklet printing, you can also consider uploading it ta o digital publishing platform such as Publuu. It will allow you to create a professional and visually appealing booklet that will reach your customers all over the world.

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