I recently started using a personal size ring planner and of course I wanted to create my own inserts, as I have done in A5. Personal inserts are a bit more complicated, at least if one wants to be economical. I could create them as I did the A5s, booklet print, cut and punch. But that would waste quite a bit of paper! If your printer can do small margins, chances are you can print three personal pages on a sheet of A4 paper.
Long story short, it seemed like a good idea to create some kind of universal printing solution. That way, I could create whatever inserts I want and generate a PDF that would print them using as much paper as possible.
Python had some interesting packages for messing with PDFs. I started with a small script, but since not everyone is comfortable with using a terminal windows I did a graphical application of it and also managed to use py2app to create a standalone Mac application.
It’s a bit of an ugly hack (I think this is the first time I’ve actually used Python) but it works. Whatever PDF you throw at it, what you get back is a new PDF with three pages per sheet, sorted so that when you print it duplex they come out the right way. It also adds lines to help you cut the paper. And since the original PDF is resized it can be in any format. Making an A4 PDF into personal size will ”squash” the pages somewhat, but it works.
Here’s an example of a week-on-four-pages diary I made. Personal Planner Printer (or p3) will turn this:
The new file is saved in the same directory as the original with p3- added to the filename. So w4p.pdf becomes p3-w4p.pdf. The original file is left untouched.
Since I decided to share this little program with the planner world I also tried to make it easy to customize. You can change the paper size and planner page size, but you will always get three planner pages per sheet of paper. And the program is not clever enough to check your measurements. So you could for example run it to get three personal pages on a letter sized paper. The program will create the PDF for you but you won’t be able to print it because they don’t fit.
How to get it? Simply click here. The zip file contains the Mac app and the python script. The app should run on almost any Mac – if it doesn’t please let me know! I have only tested the program on a Mac, but the python script should run just fine on Windows or Linux. To use that you do need to install some additional python packages (reportlab and pypdf2). I don’t have a windows computer so I haven’t been able to create a standalone exe, but if someone would want to do that you’re more than welcome.
So far it has worked fine with everything I’ve tried but of course I can’t guarantee anything. I don’t take responsibility for what happens to you computer or PDFs.
Update: I have tested a script on a PC running Ubuntu Linux and it did what it was supposed to. If anyone tries it on Windows I’d love to hear from you!