How to print 2 pages per side in Ubuntu

A lot of good books in computer science are now made available for free by their authors. I like to print such books with 2 pages on each side of a sheet. This is typically known as the booklet style of printing. This type of printing is typically easy to do on Windows where printers are better supported. Here is how I do it on Ubuntu:

If your printer does 2 pages per side

In this case, it is easy. Choose File > Print. In the General tab, choose the printer and the pages you want to print. In the Page Setup tab, for Two-sided dropdown choose Short Edge (Flip) and for Pages per side dropdown choose 2. Click Print and you are done!

If your printer does not do 2 pages per side

Note that some printers support 2 pages per side in their dialog, but print 4 pages per side when you give the Print command! I’ve seen this behavior with the HP LaserJet 4700. For such errant printers and older printers which do not do 2 pages per side:

  1. Create a PDF which has 2 pages of the original PDF per page. To do this open the original PDF and in the Print dialog, choose Print to File as the printer. In the Page Setup tab, for Pages per side dropdown choose 2.

  2. Now open the PDF file you created in step 1 and print from that to your actual printer. In the Page Setup tab, remember to pick Short Edge (Flip) for Two-sided dropdown and 1 for Pages per side dropdown.

Tried with: Ubuntu 12.04 LTS

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