How to order pages for printing in a booklet from Google Docs or a PDF file

When you print a standard document, the page numbers just go in order (1,2,3,4) but if you want to print that same document as a booklet on letter sized paper to a finished size of 5.5″x8.5″ for example, you’ll need to order the pages differently. In this example the page order would be 4,1,2,3, that way when folded up everything would be in the right order.

The official word to describe the above is “Imposition” and some applications, especially tools like Adobe InDesign, can do it for you. But more basic tools like Google Docs, Adobe Acrobat, etc,. don’t build those tools in.

So when I was faced with needing to print a booklet from Google Docs, I exported it as a PDF and then considered just manually ordering all of the pages or dropping them in to Adobe InDesign to manually impose them… but it was a 16-page document and I just didn’t want to waste the time.

I did some searching online and located PDF Snake. They offer a free trial, which is awesome, you can really test it out and prove it is going to do what you wanted. And the free trial does allow you to download the finished product, so it’s not just demo and you don’t have to pay to finish up your project right away. Beyond the trial period it is $12.39/month or $123.90/year… which if you were doing this kind of work daily it might be worth it… but for me, this is the first time I’ve needed to impose a booklet in like 8 years… so honestly, there is no way I would pay those prices for a subscription.

All that to say, if you run in to the problem of needing to print a booklet from Google Docs… this was a quick and easy solution! Again, the steps were:

  • The Google Doc was formatted for 5.5″x8.5″ pages
  • Add additional pages at the end until you end up with an increment of four, so I added an extra page at the end of my book so it was 16 pages
  • Export that doc as a PDF file
  • Drop the PDF in to PDF Snake and choose Booklet
  • On the right column, click the Download arrow to download the final PDF
  • Print it on your printer, fold it in half, and verify everything is awesome!