Friday, 22 January 2016

How to create a booklet on an iPad

I have solved a computer problem - well “Workflow” really - and feel very pleased with myself. 

Often, and especially at this time of year, I need to produce booklets which I can print on A4 or A3 paper and fold down to A5 or A4 size. This is fairly easy to do on a Mac - there is a pdf printflow called “Create Booklet” which installs in the printer preferences and simple turns any document into a document ready for folding, with all the pages in the right order and the right way up. Alternatively, the printer I used can do the same thing, by adjusting a few options.

However, none of these work if the original document sits on my iPad or iPhone, unless of course I work on it on my Mac. Not a massive frustration, but an irritation none the less. 

So surely there is an app for that? Such little programmes certainly exist in Windows, and even in OSX, with a little more in the way of options than the PDF print flow, if you need that - but nowhere, it seems, for iOS. There used to be an free online service which did the same - but that has been withdrawn and replaced by a application. 

However, I have found a solution which works - and which a very clever person could no doubt improve considerable. To set the same up yourself, in addition to your remote device (which need not be an apple device, by the way), you need just a mac which is connected to the internet. You will also need to get the CreateBooklet workflow. A basic understanding of services, folder actions and automator on the mac will make this easier. You will also need an account for a cloud drive service of some kind (DropBox, iCloud for example). 

Here - very simply is what you need to do. 


Create folders on your cloud Drive (I used Dropbox) for your booklets (I created  BookletMaker with two subfolders, Input and Output)

In automator on the Mac, create a folder action which runs CreateBooklet on the Input folder, and which saves to the Output folder (you could just use one folder if you wish). 

That’s the setup!

In action

When you want to create a printable booklet, simply save your document as a PDF to the Input folder on your cloud drive. 

Your home/office Mac which has the folder set up will create the booklet and save it into the “Output” folder. 

Almost straight away, the booklet will be in the Output folder and available to your Device. You may have to wait for the cloud drive to update, depending on internet connections, but with a bit of luck the creation of the booklet will be instant. 

Over to you!

If you are much cleverer than me, you may be able to tweak this process much further and make it even cleverer. Please let me know in the comments below. 



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