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Subject: Printing rant rss

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Eric Raabe
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This is almost more of a rant than a request, but here's my problem.

I have a black and white laser printer for printing manuals, FAQs, errata, and variants. Since game manuals (and even the errata) have gotten more colorful, I'm lucky to break out that printer every six months. I've been going to the library since they have a good color laser printer, 25 cents a page. The problem is their printer is printing PDFs out of focus due to a software problem that they intend to straighten out, but I dont anticipate it'll be any time soon.

Buying a color laser printer to print occasional manuals would be ridiculously cost wasteful. My next option appears to be Kinkos. Now, in order to save on printing I've printed four pages to a sheet. I've even cut them out and inserted them into cheap plastic 4x6 photo albums to make little 4x6 presentation books. This works great if the font's large enough, but more recently the instructions I've been seeing are in smaller fonts. I've found some really nice Avery mini binders (8.5x5.5) and sheet protectors, and I've started printing two pages to a sheet and using those.

The problem now is Kinkos wants $5, per PDF, to simply click the "print multiple pages per sheet" button in addition to just plain charging more. The cost I'm ok with, but the $5 to click a button to choose an alternate printing option, I can't justify. I could simply print full size at an additional cost again, but it'd defeat the purpose of taking up less table space with a smaller manual.

I'd even be willing to pay somebody local with a color laser printer to print off some things for me, but there doesn't appear to be an appropriate section on Craigslist for that. I'd really like to print up some game materials right now, but I don't have a reasonable way to do so. So I appear to be stuck.
 
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Look into Office Depot or Staples or OfficeMax. I've found their printing prices to be pretty reasonable, and the staff are usually pretty helpful.
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Can't you just create a "full page" pdf with 2 or 4 pages per sheet? Export each page as a jpg and assemble using any editor that can itself create a pdf such as Illustrator? Inkscape? Adobe Acrobat?

Export in portrait and assemble in landscape. #

Not sure how your US paper sizes work, but e.g. A4 landscape = exactly 2 x A5 portrait (which is how the sizes are defined, more or less).

You can often edit out the background images from a .pdf anyway, just leaving the text and required graphics rather than the colourful 'watermark' background.
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Nate S.
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PDF creator programs (PDF printer drivers) often have options to do just this (I have a few and at least PDF995 can do it, guessing my others can too). What you can then do is print your PDF to a new PDF with the options you want. Then you can go to Kinkos or wherever and print what you need in the format you need already. I would just first print at home to be sure it all lines up correctly.
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Jake Staines
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enoon wrote:
Can't you just create a "full page" pdf with 2 or 4 pages per sheet? Export each page as a jpg...


You don't even need to do that - there are a number of print-to-PDF adapters around. You install them and they pretend to be a printer, then you go into your PDF-viewer software and say "print 4-up", select the PDF-adapter as the printer to use and it'll output a 4-up PDF.
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Eric Raabe
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I think I'll give Office Depot a try.

I tried taking the full image backgrounds out of some PDFs, but that just left a solid grey background. I could try re-editing the PDFs if it really came down to it. But part of the point is I really shouldn't have to. Plus my first concern would be possibly degrading the image; in which case I might as well go back to the library.

Thank you!
 
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Eric Raabe
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Hmm, I'll have to look into those too.
 
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Chris Schumann
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Also look into printing at a photo shop, especially at a warehouse club like Costco. For example, a 20x30 print is $9 which you can cut up as you please. 4x6 photos are really pretty cheap too.
 
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Andy K.
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Pssst...Hey, man. Yeah, over here.
You can print color files on your B&W printer. Sometimes the different colors even come out as distinguishable greyscales. ninja

Edit: In general I agree with your complaint, though. When I download a play aid or errata and find that it is in color, I groan a little.
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monchi
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I am kind of failing to see the issue here. Just cuz the file is a colour file it doesn't mean you need to print in colour. You can also adjust your printer settings to make it print in different qualities if your concern is the amount of ink your printer will use printing everything in greyscale.

Not sure about in the states but up here you can just send your files to Office Depot of Staples online and you don't pay for any extra file charges. You just need to make sure that your files are print ready.

The library's "software" issue seems a little odd. It would seem like all it is is that someone doesn't know how to set up Adobe on their system. PDF files were create for the printing industry. Sometimes the "issue" is as simple as the settings on Adobe on the library's system being set to a specific setting rather than set to match the file format. If the PDF files you are trying to print have been created using one type of setting and the computer that you are trying to print it from is set to a different type it can result in files being printed incorrectly. Typically this is more of an issue with colour management, but it could help explain the issue. I had a client that had their Adobe set to a custom setting and every time I sent them a PDF when they opened it and saved it their computer opened it using their settings and would save it using there settings. It took us a couple of months to figure out what was happening.
 
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Gadi Oron
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Hi Eric

There are plenty of different ways to assemble a PDF into booklet BEFORE sending it to be printed.

I can number some free options:
- Print into PDFCreator printed and use Adobe's booklet printing
- Use jPDFtweak (it's a wonderful tool for a lot of stuff)
- Use PDF-booklet - http://pdfbooklet.sourceforge.net
- Use pdftk - which is a great toolbox

If you need any help with these - I'll be glad to help.

Gadi
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Brian
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ACK ACK wrote:
Pssst...Hey, man. Yeah, over here.
You can print color files on your B&W printer. Sometimes the different colors even come out as distinguishable greyscales. ninja

Edit: In general I agree with your complaint, though. When I download a play aid or errata and find that it is in color, I groan a little.

When I download a play aid and it's plain text on a white background, I don't feel a need to groan. I do delete it and continue searching for a nicer looking one.

If I'm going to spend about hour of my time to play a game, I can spend about a quarter for a color player aid.
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Yup. I do all mine at www.fileprint.org - full colour stock from 120gsm silk to 350gsm matt laminated. Rule booklets machine folded and centre stapled - yummy! Cropped to size (e.g. 280x280mm for Smallworld). Double yummy.
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Verkisto wrote:
Look into Office Depot .... I've found their printing prices to be pretty reasonable, and the staff are usually pretty helpful.


My local OD is great. I can "guide" them through exactly how I need something printed with no issues. I'm guessing that your Kinko's is really close but you may want to let them know their prices are ridiculous and you're considering going elsewhere (assuming that you can and they know you can.)
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Steve Mackenzie
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enoon wrote:
Yup. I do all mine at www.fileprint.org - full colour stock from 120gsm silk to 350gsm matt laminated. Rule booklets machine folded and centre stapled - yummy! Cropped to size (e.g. 280x280mm for Smallworld). Double yummy.


Oooo! Thanks for this, will have to use them.
 
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Andy K.
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lankyb wrote:
ACK ACK wrote:
Pssst...Hey, man. Yeah, over here.
You can print color files on your B&W printer. Sometimes the different colors even come out as distinguishable greyscales. ninja

Edit: In general I agree with your complaint, though. When I download a play aid or errata and find that it is in color, I groan a little.

When I download a play aid and it's plain text on a white background, I don't feel a need to groan. I do delete it and continue searching for a nicer looking one.

If I'm going to spend about hour of my time to play a game, I can spend about a quarter for a color player aid.


Well, I hear you, man, but as with the OP, I don't have a color printer at home. Also, I find that color obscures information as often as it reveals information. (This may have something to do with my moderate form of color blindness.) I prefer as graphically simple a play aid as possible.

To each his own, though; there is usually no lack of good fan-created material here on the Geek. I'm certain we can both find items we are satisfied with or create our own.
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I've seen this in another thread, http://www.extractpdf.com It may be useful for extracting the text of the rulebooks.
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Brian
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ACK ACK wrote:
Well, I hear you, man, but as with the OP, I don't have a color printer at home. Also, I find that color obscures information as often as it reveals information. (This may have something to do with my moderate form of color blindness.) I prefer as graphically simple a play aid as possible.

To each his own, though; there is usually no lack of good fan-created material here on the Geek. I'm certain we can both find items we are satisfied with or create our own.

It's certainly easier to download a file with a color background and remove it than it is to get a plain text file and pretty it up. Unfortunately the basic function of printing without a background isn't incorporated into common PDF readers.

I searched online and I didn't find a very easy way to do so. I tried MasterPDFEditor (which is free for Linux) and it seems to work on well enough.

I guess the best solution would be for the content creators to offer both pretty and printer friendly versions. It should be easy enough to do on their side since they have the source files and tools.
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Eric Raabe
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Well Office Depot is a bust. Printing multiple pages per sheet is a default option on a regular PC, but for the experts, they just can't do it. I'll have to try another method.
 
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Brian
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Gadi Oron
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said, you should convert the PDFs yourself. He even said he'd help you.
 
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Eric Raabe
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Yeah, I'm going to have to try that now.

Just for the info, this is how the librarian explained the problem with their printer. When you'd print, the request would go through an intermediary system that handled the billing. This system would also convert whatever file you sent to the printer to a pdf, since the printer only handled pdfs. But when you send a pdf it has some problems that results in reduced resolution.
 
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Steve S
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Honestly my recommendation would be to pick up a ink jet printer. The output isn't quite as nice as a laser, but when you can get a refilled ink cartridge that can yield up to 510 pages for $6 on eBay (that number is an overly optimistic figure from HP for the cartridge I use, but still, it's a lot of pages) it's hard to beat when it comes to color printing that won't cost you an arm and a leg.

Also depending on the manual I do convert a *lot* of them to booklet form before printing just because I like that format better most of the time. On some of them this ends up making the text too small to be easily legible, but for the most part it works fine. Personally I run the PDFs through a program called Bookbinder before printing which takes a full page pdf and spits out new pdfs in booklet form - I think that app may be Linux only but there are probably similar apps for whatever you use. [Edit - just remembered it's actually a Java app]

And yes also as others mentioned - even with that unless there's really a *need* for the manual to be in color (such as the color is needed for some examples to be clear, or the layout was done in such a way that it can't be read easily in b&w (which is seriously annoying BTW)) I still print in greyscale most of the time setting the printer to "black ink only" - the black ink tends to be significantly less expensive over time than the color - and until a few years ago I also printed almost exclusively with B&W laser so that would probably work well for you also.

But honestly since I started getting really interested in PnP my laser has been collecting dust down in basement storage.
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Jake Staines
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Shadoglare wrote:

but when you can get a refilled ink cartridge that can yield up to 510 pages for $6 on eBay (that number is an overly optimistic figure from HP for the cartridge I use, but still, it's a lot of pages) it's hard to beat when it comes to color printing that won't cost you an arm and a leg.


Cheap unofficial cartridges aren't exclusive to inkjets, though. My last replacement toner cartridges cost £30 for a set of 4. About twice as expensive as your inkjet carts, but they're also rated for four times as many pages. And to be honest, based on past experience that's probably not too far off.

Lasers are economical if you print a lot, and not economical if you don't print a lot.
 
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Bichatse wrote:

Cheap unofficial cartridges aren't exclusive to inkjets, though. My last replacement toner cartridges cost £30 for a set of 4. .


Crikey! That's cheap - which printer? Is your toner supplier a secret or can you share?
 
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Jake Staines
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enoon wrote:
Bichatse wrote:

Cheap unofficial cartridges aren't exclusive to inkjets, though. My last replacement toner cartridges cost £30 for a set of 4. .


Crikey! That's cheap - which printer? Is your toner supplier a secret or can you share?


The printer is a Xerox Phaser 6125. I don't have a particular supplier - I just search around places like Amazon, eBay and so on when I need replacements, and read reviews on the supplier.
 
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