Micropublishing Tips: 1. Save Paper on 6×9 Review Drafts

The Word and LibreOffice/OpenOffice templates provided as part of The Librarian’s Guide to Micropublishing are designed to create 6 x 9″ (36 x 54 pica) books, the most common size for trade paperbacks and hardback books in the U.S. It’s an excellent size for books with ample margins and readably short text lines.

You’ll probably want to print out at least one draft version, to do your own editorial review and to gauge overall appearance. But printing 6 x 9″ pages on letter-size (8.5 x 11″) paper wastes a lot of paper–and most duplexing printers won’t automatically duplex in a case like this, so that you have to manually refeed sheets in order to use both sides.

There’s an easy way to save paper and still have fully usable editing and review drafts (more so in Microsoft Word than in LibreOffice/OpenOffice)–and, at least for Word, this technique still allows for automatic duplexing.

Two Pages to a Sheet

That’s what it’s called in both Word and LibreOffice, although that’s a slight misnomer: It’s really two book pages to a printout page, which means you’ll get four book pages per sheet of paper if you have a duplexing printer.

The technique’s simple. I’ll show the method for Word2010 and for LibreOffice 3.3, but it should work equally well in all versions of Word and OpenOffice/LibreOffice, although the steps to get to a detailed print menu in earlier versions of Word are different.

Microsoft Word

Here’s all you need to do–and your printer should already be on when you do this.

  1. Click on the File tab, the leftmost tab. (For Word 2007, that will be the Office icon, and the next step may be different. For earlier versions of Word, it should be the File menu–and the next step will be different.)
  2. Click on the Print tab on the left-hand side of the resulting overview page. (By now, you probably know that this page gives you a great summary of your word count, page count and…sigh…just how long you’ve actually spent editing this masterpiece!)
  3. Here’s a portion of the resulting dialog box, with the key setting already changed (highlighted), by changing the pull-down menu from the default “1” to “2.”

    Word2010 Print Options menu (partial)

That’s it. Click on Print at the top of the page (above the portion shown here) and your chapter or book will come out at two pages to a side or four pages to a sheet.

In my own tests, the resulting pages are 90% of the original size. That’s big enough so that you should have no trouble editing and considering overall layout. If you’re also saving ink by using draft mode (my printer calls it “Quick Print”), that should work fine as well–but do note:

The printed results are not precise replicas of the actual pages. You should print out at least one page full size and with normal/full quality printing to get a better sense of how your typeface looks on the page.

It appears that Word retains print settings throughout a session, but not between sessions. Check the Print menu each time you’re printing a document.

LibreOffice and OpenOffice

While LibreOffice requires the same small number of steps, the results aren’t quite as good.

Here’s what you do.

  1. Click on (open) the File menu.
  2. Click on Print.
  3. Here’s part of the Print dialog box:

    Portion of LibreOffice Print dialog box

  4. Click on the Page Layout tab, which will bring up this dialog box, shown with the relevant change (Pages per Sheet) made:

LibreOffice Page Layout dialog box

That’s it. You can click Print directly in this dialog box.


In my testing, the resulting pages are only 77% of the original size. That may be a little too small for comfortable editing–or it may not be.

I imported a fully-formatted book chapter, created in Word2010, to test this process. I noted that not only was the chapter a page longer than it had been in Word, all of the grid and border lines in tables had disappeared, as had all bullets. While this is another example of the limitations in LibreOffice/OpenOffice’s vaunted Office compatibility, it’s not something that would affect most users: Presumably you use LibreOffice because you don’t own Word, so you’d do your table and bullet formatting directly within LibreOffice.

This is the first in a series of Micropublishing Tips to expand the content in The Librarian’s Guide to Micropublishing.

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