How To Print and Trim Traveler's Notebooks (The Easy Way)

How DO you print and cut a traveler’s notebook? Well, with your printable file set up correctly, it is super simple and takes just a few steps.

It doesn’t matter what size insert you are trying to create, they all work the same. It’s pretty much a given that all traveler’s notebook inserts for Midori, Fauxdori and Foxy Fix (the list goes on) are saddle stitch bound.

The saddle stitch is a term from way back when, but what it generally means to you is sheets that are printed double sided, folded and inserted into one another. The alternative would be perfect bound, where each sheet is entirely individual and they are all hot glued on one edge (think your typical paper back book or magazine).

The first thing you are going to need is Acrobat Reader. It’s 100% free and is the most reliable way for you to open up PDFs and print them. Most printable TN inserts you find will be in the PDF format.

If you don’t have a printable insert to follow this tutorial along with, you can grab this month’s freebie for August by subscribing a the bottom of this post.

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We’ve also got a video you can follow along with so you can see exactly what I am talking about:

 

Printing

Why is This Not in Order?

Now, when you get a Pixel Penguin Press printable you will see you get both Monday and Sunday start folders both with all 4 different colour options inside, for a total of 8 PDFs. Just grab whichever one suits the way you like to plan and open it up with Acrobat Reader.

The first thing you will notice is that none of the pages seem to be in order. UGH! But don’t worry, when you get a PDF like this it means that it is set up for booklet printing. It will all sort itself out in the end.

On the other hand, if your pages are all in order, this means your PDF is not set up for booklet printing. You will need to do a little extra leg work to get it work. This is why we give you the easiest possible file to work with so you can avoid that all together.

Start Printing Your File

Go to File > Print.

Figure out just how your printer does double sided printing. If it does it automatically, ie duplex, you’re golden—just print with that setting on. For the rest of us, we need to reinsert our sheets to print the second side.

I highly recommend doing a test print with a couple pages first to make sure you know how the printer will print. Below are the most common settings.

Most home desktop printers are either Top Loading or Bottom Loading. Each has a slightly different process for double sided printing.

Printing With Top Loading Printers

Top Loading Printer

In the Print screen there are just 3 areas you need to pay attention to for correct printing.

  • Under Pages to Print, select “All” and for Odd or Even Pages, select “Odd pages only”.
  • For Page Sizing & Handling, make sure you are on “Actual Size”. You want to avoid any sort of scaling so your insert prints at the correct dimensions. As long as you are printing on paper larger than the booklet, this won’t be an issue. (A4 and US Letter are just right for Personal Size and smaller)
  • Lastly, under Orientation, select “Auto portrait/landscape”. It is important your pages are printed in the very center of your sheet. When it comes to double sided printing it can be mess if they aren’t.
Print screen 1 for top loading printers

Once all your odd pages are printed, you need to flip your pages to print on their back sides. Flip your sheets long edge to long edge (long side over to long side).

Flip Long Edge to Long Edge Diagram
  • In your Print screen this time, make sure all of your settings are the same as the first time around, but this time under Odd or Even Pages, I want you to select “Even pages only”.
Print screen 2 for top loading printers

Printing With Bottom Loading Printers

Bottom Loading Printer

Like the top loading printer setup, there are 3 areas you need to pay special attention to with one key difference.

  • Under Pages to Print, select “All” and for Odd or Even Pages, select “Odd pages only”.
    *Also under Pages to Print, I want you to select “Reverse pages” to change their order.
  • For Page Sizing & Handling, make sure you are on “Actual Size”. You want to avoid any sort of scaling so your insert prints at the correct dimensions. As long as you are printing on paper larger than the booklet, this won’t be an issue. (A4 and US Letter are just right for Personal Size and smaller)
  • ‍Lastly, under Orientation, select “Auto portrait/landscape”. It is important your pages are printed in the very center of your sheet. When it comes to double sided printing it can be mess if they aren’t.
Print screen 1 for bottom loading printers

Once your pages are printed out, you will NOT need to do any flipping to print on the other side. Just take this stack, exactly as is, and put it back into your bottom tray.

  • In your Print screen this time, make sure all of your settings are the same as the first time around, but this time under Odd or Even Pages, I want you to select “Even pages only”.
    This go around, leave “Reverse pages” unchecked. We want it to print in forwards order.

Print screen 2 for bottom loading printers

If all went well, you should now have a stack of paper where the order follows Sheet 1/Side 1 = Page 1, Sheet 1/Side 2 = Page 2, and so on, matching the PDF. You’re ready to cut!

Cutting (5:34 in the Video)

With Pixel Penguin Press inserts there is an included template. To make your life a bit easier, I recommend printing it off and trimming it first.

For a nicer, flatter booklet, I recommend separately(or two at a time) folding  all of your sheets of paper before cutting. Follow the fold guidelines on the sheet, otherwise in most cases a simple fold in half is all you need to do.

When you fold a relatively thick stack of paper you’ll see that the open edge results in a point. There is extra paper that sticks out and is not nice and clean. That is called creep. It happens because papers on the top of the stack are being pushed outwards by the paper on the bottom.

Diagram showing creep from center sheets sticking out.
*Thicker papers will have larger creep. To avoid trimming off information inside, you can make your booklet a few mm larger by adjusting your final cut.

Depending on your preferences for creep, there are two ways for you to trim your booklet.

Cutting for Consistent Margins

On every sheet there are crop marks in all four corners to guide your cuts. I find it best to cut your top and then both sides first. From there, use the template you prepared and line it up with the 3 sides you just cut. This will guide your final cut.

Cutting Off the Creep

For this method, I recommend keeping your sheets in one stack and cutting all of them at once. This is especially important when it comes to cutting off your edge with creep.

  • First cut off your top and bottom edges by using the crop marks provided.
  • Secondly, fold your booklet together. If you are using the window method of cutting and your crop marks are still attached, use them to trim off your final edge. If you’ve cut off all the crop marks, take your pre-cut template, fold it in half, and put it against the folded edge of your traveler’s notebook. This will tell you where your final cut needs to be.

Congratulations—your shiny new planner is ready to be stapled, stitched or left as is (your notebook cover elastic should hold things together).

August Travelers Notebook Freebie

The Freebie — The Personal Size Traveler's Notebook for August. We'd love for you to get a test drive of our inserts. As with all of our monthly planners, it comes with weeks on two pages, days on one page, and a monthly overview with 4 included colours. 

Even if August has passed, feel free to grab it by subscribing below so you can follow along with the tutorial.

For current months, budget trackers, daily layouts and more TN inserts, please visit our shop, pixelpenguinpress.etsy.com.

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