Friday, January 28, 2011

Create two page per sheet pdf file on Mac

What I had: a pdf file with rather small pages i.e. when printing in original size there was a lot of white boundary around the page.
What I wanted: a new pdf file containing only a subset of pages and with two pages per sheet instead of just one.

Now this didn't sound complex but I found that I needed to take a couple of tries on my Mac until I finally got it going.

First try: Acroread
When using acroread to view the pdf file and Print to print the selected pages with the Save as PDF option I get a complaint:
Saving a PDF file when printing is not supported, choose File > Save.
And File -> Save does not support to save just a selection of pages (this is Adobe Reader 9.4.0).

Second try: Preview
Of course the alternative to acroread is Preview (version 4.2) and its Print function allowed to select pages and save them to pdf. Only issue: I could not get the Layout changed to have two pages per sheet, I tried various settings but I always ended up with one page per sheet.
Which lead to the

Third try: Preview via PostScript
Again I was using Preview as before but this time I was using Save as PostScript.... The resulting file can be viewed again in Preview, it gets converted to PDF and it finally showed what I wanted: two pages per sheet, only the pages I wanted. Another Save and I got my new pdf file.

So sometimes supposedly easy things take longer than anticipated, that's where your time goes :-)

And just for my own reference here are the settings again:
I didn't change anything in the top part except for page selection so paper size A4, orientation portrait and scale 100%.
In preview I kept Automatically rotate each page and ticked Scale each page to fit paper. In Layout I set Pages per Sheet to 2, left the orientation unchanged (from top-left, top-right, bottom-left, bottom-right) and ticked Border Single Hairline just to get a little visual cue and separation.
And also note that the little Print preview does not show the layout, you always have to create the new file first and then you'll see whether your changes have any effect. 

Note: Print options in Preview differ by file type. When you open an image file in Preview there is indeed an 'Images per page' option but this is absent when opening a pdf file so therefore my need for the detour. I'd welcome any simpler solution.

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