OOo Writer, your proxy desktop publishing tool (creating a booklet/primer)

I remember that I produced an 8-page primer two years ago using OOo Writer. It was a paradigm shift for me. Before my FOSS life, I believed that all complex documents (large sizes, brochures, primers, ads, etc.) could only be produced by desktop publishing apps and the best one was Aldus PageMaker (now Adobe PageMaker).

You’re right. OOo Writer can be your friend in case you need a tool with which to produce complex documents like primers. I’m not saying that FOSS DTP tools like Scribus are no longer relevant. Use Scribus if you want to work with overlays, story management, master pages, and the like. In fact, you may combine the powers of both apps. Go see this howto.

Going back to the topic: Making a primer with OOo Writer. In my experience, here’s what I did:

  1. Open a new Text document.
  2. Format the page at 5.5 in x 8.5 in (portrait) with a footer to show document title and page number.
  3. Write the primer, taking into consideration the divisibility of pages by four. My first draft was nine pages. I revised it to eight pages so that brochure-type printing will not create blank pages.
  4. Print the document to a file. Before I did this, I went to the print dialog (File->Print). I clicked on the “Properties” button to make sure that the printer paper size is set to 8.5 by 11-in and the orientation to Landscape. Then I went back to the Print dialog. I clicked on the “Options” button. I clicked on the Brochure field and then pressed Enter. I checked the “Print to file” field and pressed Enter. I was asked to enter a file name. I did assign a file name and pressed Enter. The printing process took a while.
  5. Convert the postscript file to PDF using a terminal with this command: ps2pdf /path/to/source/filename /path/to/target/filename.pdf.

If you want to see my work outputs (and let me also introduce a national peasant federation in the Philippines), here are the .doc (exported from OOo Writer 😦 ) and PDF versions:

primer-on-unorka.doc unorka-primer.pdf

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