Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Printing Large Documents

After you’ve mastered layout and dealt with headers and footers, you need to think about what happens when you actually want to print your document. In an ideal world, you can send your document to a high speed duplex printer. A duplex printer prints on both sides of a piece of paper. Your document—with mirror margins and running headers and footers—prints out looking like a professionally produced book.

Most people don’t have access to a high speed duplex printer. However, you do have print options that allow you to still produce a professional looking book. Here are some of those options.

1. Print your document on one side of a piece of paper. Go to your local copy center and copy the document using the duplex features on the copier. Ask the clerk in the store to help you if you don’t know how to set up duplex printing. The clerk will understand exactly what you are trying to do.

2. Print your document in pieces. On your printer at home, print the odd pages (fronts) first, turn the printed pages over, and print the even pages (backs) on the backside of the piece of paper. This type of printing is referred to as manual printing. When you select this option, you should practice on a small document (about 6 pages), so that you can see how your printer handles the task.

3. Send your document to a print-on-demand (POD) service. Many copy centers offer this type of service. You need to check with them to see what the requirements are. Basically, you send them your Word document (usually an email attachment) and they print it from the electronic copy.

4. Submit your document to a full print-on-demand service like Lulu.com. This choice is a big time commitment. However, if you’re ready to sell your book a service like Lulu can provide invaluable assistance. Generally, PODs require that you send them a PDF, which they store. When they receive an order for your book, they print, bind, and mail one copy. If you’ve used Print Preview to confirm that your document will print correctly, you can order a copy of your book to see what it looks like.

Options 1 and 3 are pretty self-explanatory. As long as you’ve set up the layout and figured out your headers and footers so that they are working correctly, you’ll get the desired results.

Option4 requires that you enter into an agreement with a POD service. Be sure to read all of the details. You can buy lots of services or just a few services. However, it’s a buyer beware situation that you need to research before you start typing in your credit card number.

Option 2 requires some instructions. I’ve been doing some pretty long and complicated posts. So I’ll save the instructions for option 2 for my next post.

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