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Making an A5 size booklet for a series of images

I needed to make a small booklet containing some illustrations as an addendum to a reprint of an old book (sadly, it did not include the original 19th century author's illustrations). After a lot of messing about, here is what I did. It may be useful to someone else. There is almost certainly a better way (Scribus, Lyx, Latex, .... ???) - if you know and it is not too hard, let me know, please!

This method uses Linux. Sorry, can't help you for Windows.

1. Put the images in a web page

I like AFT, which this entire website is originally built with (till I switched to txt2tags). Having all the image files in the current folder I created an AFT source file

$ ls *.jpg > sneakPix.aft
$ vi sneakPix.aft (to add text, and image tags)

Here is the resulting aft source file

$ aft sneakPix.aft

This produces sneakPix.html

2. Convert the web page to a PDF

To do this I just opened the webpage in FireFox (on my Ubuntu PC) and printed to the built-in "PDF printer". This resulted in a PDF file in


I copied this to my current folder for convenience.

This is formatted for A4 paper.

3. Convert the PDF to a separate PDF formatted for A5 in booklet form

We now need to turn this into an A5 size booklet, ie, printed 2-up and duplex on A4 paper and with the pages ordered so that on folding the finished sheets we get a booklet with the pages in the correct order.

I googled for help, and found a bash shell script called booklet.sh that does just what is needed. It relies on some utilities pdftops, psbook, pstops which are part of the poppler-utils and psutils packages. If you do not have these on your Linux box, you need to install them. If it is a Debian distribution, such as Ubuntu, then _sudo apt-get install poppler-utils psutils_ should do it.

$ ./booklet.sh Illustrations_for_Four_Months_in_a_Sneakbox_by_Nathaniel_Bishop.pdf

This creates a new PDF with "-booklet" appended to the file name.

4. Print the Booklet

I printed mine in my old HP PSC1315 All-In-1. Nothing fancy, and no built-in duplexing either.

I just opened it with the default PDF viewer (evince).

From this...

to this...

Here it is printed.



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This page tardus.net/a5booklet.html Last updated: 12 Aug 2022

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