Thursday, November 29, 2007

Spreads 101

If you are sending multi-page documents to your printer, you can set the layout of your files in two main ways: as pages and as spreads. If you choose to send spreads, you also have the option of choosing between reader's spread and printer's spread. So what do these terms mean?

Below is an example of an 8-page document:

Pages here refer to the topmost illustration, with the pages laid out separately in the order they are to be read. Reader's spread follow the same convention in that they are laid out in the order to be read, but with the inner pages laid out side by side as if they were one extra large page (called, obviously, a spread). Printer's spread is the hardest to understand. Imagine that your 8-page document has already been printed and stapled together. Take out the staples. Now you have two separate pieces of paper, with a total of four printed sides. The printed side with the cover is the first spread in printer's spread, and the innermost spread is the last spread in printer's spread.

Practical considerations
  • If you are sending spreads to your printer, please remember to specify which format you're using. This is especially important if your document does not have page numbers.
  • Your printer should be able to use any format you send them. If your printer insists on one particular format, you might consider looking at other printers. Particularly if that format is printer's spread.

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