The Centerfold and the Creep


This post is about Booklet printing using InDesign. InDesign automatically imposes your document, and creates the printer spreads. These can be sent to a printing device or an Adobe PDF Printer to create a PDF.

Pages appear in sequence in the layout window, but are printed in a different order so that they appear correct when folded and bound.

The number of pages in a booklet should always be a multiple of 4. If not, then blank pages are added to your output.

The original document is not modified while creating a booklet, neither is a copy created with pages moved around. The source files remain intact and InDesign does the heavy lifting and outputs the booklet to the print stream: which you can capture on a printer ,or PDF via the Adobe PDF Printer.

You can preview the spreads, and once you’re satisfied, you can send it on to the printer.

There are a few terms the “Pro’s” use when it comes to booklets. Some that you’ll encounter are:

  • Printer Spreads –  in printer spreads, pages are positioned such that when the two pages are printed on the same sheet, folded, and collated, the pages end up in proper sequence.
  • Imposition – The process of creating printer spreads from layout spreads.
  • Cover – is the outermost printer spread. In the above example, pages 1 and 8 form the Cover.
  • Centerfold – In the print world, the innermost printer spread, such as pages 4 and 5 in the above example. Also refers to a picture — or even the person, whose picture is on the centerfold.
  • Sheet – The term sheet represents two printer spreads: the front of the sheet and the back of the sheet.
  • Creep – Creep is the distance pages need to move from the spine to accommodate paper thickness and folding.
  • For a  negative creep values, the outermost sheet is not adjusted, but the pages on the inner sheets move towards the spine.
  • For  a positive creep value, the innermost sheet is not adjusted, but the pages on the outer sheets move away from the spine.

 Remember: Centerfolds require a positive creep.

See Printing Booklets in the InDesign help for exact procedures.

You can also have a look at some videos on YouTube . One for example is at Print Booklet to PDF.

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  1. #1 by fr on September 28, 2011 - 11:34 am

    Ok, you make me want to listen to Nirvana’s Negative Creep now :)

  2. #2 by Ron Sizemore on May 6, 2013 - 11:47 pm

    You should mention that there are a lot of great plugins for Indesign that help manage creep.

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