6x9 layout for playtests and printing

So, I wanted to print a copy of my playtest to hand out to people, but I kinda hate handing out just a packet of 8.5x11 paper. Many indie games are written in 6x9 format (Blades in the Dark, Dungeon World, etc)… and I can kind of see why - mostly, no need to futz with columns. It’s super easy to just have one big column, but without it being unreasonably wide.

If you’re using Google Docs (and I think that’s a perfectly cromulent thing to use - I use it)… then go to File->Page Setup, in the dropdown at the top Choose “Whole Document”, and then change the page size to “Statement 5.5 x 8.5”. This is exactly half a normal sheet of paper (in the US). Set the top and bottom margins to 0.5 inches, and left and right to 0.75 inches

You can then bang away as normal, and you’ll have a rough idea of how it’ll lay out. When you’re ready for a playtest, it’s easy to print in a booklet style (8.5x11 inch paper folded in half). Choose File->Download->PDF, and Google will convert it into a nice PDF for you. Save this to your desktop.

Now we need to convert this into a booklet form. For this we’ll use the software from BookletCreator.com, which converts your 1/2 page pdf into a bunch of correctly laid-out full-pages in a PDF. If you’re using 16 pages or fewer, then it’s free. If it’s more than that, it costs $20. Given the amount of time I’ve wasted trying to print in other ways, and how well it works I think it’s worth it. It is Mac or Windows only, unfortunately.

Open your pdf in bookletcreator and hit create booklet. This will save a new PDF that is in your final printing form. Now you can print that pdf like you would any other, and bam, everything is centered and configured to be folded in half into a nice booklet.

If you want to get fancy, use a piece of card stock to print your cover, to give the final version better hand feel and more durability.

6x9" also works great on tablets and is readable on smartphones, which is a big plus.

Nice post - another option to bookletcreator is this group of free programs - http://www.nycmusicservices.com/musicresources#3. They are offered by a music company, but they are generic pdf utilities.

PDF-BatchScale - Will resize any number of pdfs.
PDF-BatchBooklet - Will create booklets - seems similar to bookletcreator
PDF–BatchStitch - Will join multiple pdfs into one.
PDF-MusicBinder - Also creates booklets. Even though it has music in the title, it’s still a generic pdf utility and seems very flexible.

I came across these programs via my work as a composer. I’m creating pdf files constantly.