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How to Arrange Pages When Printing Booklets

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In the world of printing, booklets are commonly produced using the Saddle-Stitch binding method. This technique involves folding printed sheets and stapling them through the fold line with wire staples. The staples pass through the folded crease from the outside and clinch between the centermost pages, resulting in a professional and straightforward booklet.

If you’re new to graphic design or unfamiliar with this arrangement, don’t worry. This article will guide you through the process of arranging pages when printing booklets.

Understanding the “Rule of 4”

One important concept to grasp is that page counts for booklets must be in multiples of four. Each folded sheet within the finished booklet forms four pages. Consequently, it’s not possible to create booklets with 5, 10, or 15 pages. The majority of booklets that print companies handle have page counts such as 4, 8, 12, 20, and so on. Even blank pages in your document count as a page in this context.

Visualizing the Rule of 4

To better understand this concept, visualize one folded sheet of paper as four pages in your booklet. Take a moment to picture it in your mind. This representation clearly demonstrates why every booklet file you submit should have a page count in multiples of four.

Two Approaches to Arrange Pages

When printing booklets with us, you have two options for arranging your pages: Printer Spreads and Numerical Order.

Option 1: Printer Spreads

Printer Spreads display the pages of the booklet as they will appear side-by-side on a sheet. These pages are not in numerical order but are arranged to ensure they end up in the correct order once folded and bound into a saddle-stitched booklet.

Printer Spreads offer advantages such as better alignment for large pictures spanning multiple pages. Although many assume that commercial printers prefer printer spreads, we are typically fine with working with your printer spreads. However, it’s worth noting that the majority of online printers prefer a different format altogether.

Option 2: Numerical Order

We recommend submitting your booklet document with the pages in numerical order. This means presenting each page one after the other, exactly as they will appear in the finished booklet. If your saddle-stitched book is, for instance, 32 pages long, create one file containing all 32 pages, including blank pages if necessary.

This approach allows us to make amendments, adjust margins, modify page creep, and perform other tweaks to ensure your finished booklet appears as intended.

Handling the Booklet Cover

Most saddle-stitched booklets have covers made of heavier-weight paper than the interior pages. If your project follows this pattern, there’s no need to submit the cover artwork as a separate file. Simply include the cover within the main booklet file.

Reader Spreads and Their Purpose

While discussing various formats, it’s important to mention reader spreads. However, it’s worth noting that we do not use this method for printing booklets. Reader Spreads are primarily used to help visualize the final page layout once the booklet is bound.


If you’re feeling skeptical or overwhelmed when it comes to printing booklets, there’s no need to panic. Whether you’re exporting your project from Microsoft Word or Adobe InDesign, both software giants offer easy PDF exporting options. You can send the PDF file to us for review before proceeding with printing. We are here to assist you throughout the process and ensure your booklet turns out exactly as you envision it.


1. Can I create a booklet with an odd number of pages? No, booklets must have a page count in multiples of four due to the folding and binding process.

2. Is it necessary to includeblank pages in my booklet file if they’re not intended to contain any content? Yes, including blank pages in your booklet file is necessary to ensure that all pages are placed in the proper order during printing and binding.

3. Are there any specific requirements for the cover of a saddle-stitched booklet? The cover of a saddle-stitched booklet is typically made of heavier weight paper compared to the interior pages. You don’t need to submit the cover artwork as a separate file; it should be included within the main booklet file.

4. What are the advantages of using printer spreads when arranging pages for booklets? Printer spreads allow for better alignment, especially when dealing with large pictures that span multiple pages. They ensure that the pages end up in the correct numerical order once the booklet is folded and bound.

5. Can I use the reader-spread technique for printing booklets? While reader spreads can be helpful for visualizing the final layout, they are not used for printing booklets. It’s recommended to use either printer spreads or numerical order when arranging your booklet pages.

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