Here’s a Word label template for printing an 8 page ‘zine’ from one A4 sheet

tl;dr These dimensions will create an 8 page A4 zine using Word labels via the Mailing tab which you can then lay out online and print.

A4 label zine dimensions.pngThis will produce something like the below (with narrower gaps between each ‘label’ but shown here for clarity).

Zine layout showing 8 leaves.png

1. Zine-making old school

Take an A4 sheet of paper and fold in half in both directions (‘hotdog’, lengthways [long edge to long edge] and ‘hamburger’ widthways [short edge to short edge]) and re-open, bending the folds backwards and creasing them.ย Then fold each short edge to the middle and eventually you have a piece of paper with 8 segments as ‘pages’.

Have a look at https://zineopolis.blogspot.com/p/h.html to see how the finished zine will be when cut and folded then write and draw whatever you want on the pages, bearing in mind the page number order and direction of text. Fold ‘hamburger’-ily again and cut the middle bit leaving a neat tear, then assemble as in the info in the link.

You can scale up by drawing or gluing things to a master and then photocopy it.

2. Zine-making new school – slightly techier version

Create a Word template using Labels so that you can create a printable zine with whatever elements you want to include. You can then photocopy multiples and distribute. I’m making a mini zine for an event at work so I wanted something with our logos on, and for it to be slightly more tidy-looking than something I’d hand draw.

  1. Open Word
  2. Mailings tab
  3. Start Mail Merge > Labels
  4. New Label…
  5. Below the picture, in ‘Label name’ give it a name
  6. At the bottom of the box, in ‘Page size’ change it to A4 Landscape (29.7 x 21cm)
  7. Enter the figures as shown below, then press OK
  8. If you want to restart at any point and adjust the layout repeat steps 1-3 then scroll upwards to find your custom label name, highlight it then click on Details… changing anything and pressing OK will wipe what you’re doing so you may want to save a copy first. Recommend writing down any number changes you make!

Label dimensions for creating an 8 page A4 zine.png

Top margin: 0.03″
Side margin: 0.03″
Vertical pitch: 4.11″
Horizontal pitch: 2.91″

Label height: 4.06″
Label width: 2.86″
Number across: 4
Number down: 2

Make sure you have the right page size & that it’s landscape!

 

 

 

Note that the vertical pitch “is defined as the measurement from the top of the first label to the top of the label below it. The horizontal pitch is defined as the measurement from the left edge of the first label to the left edge of the label next to it.” Source.

Once you’ve pressed OK you’ll see a largely blank page with <<next label>> written several times but to see where the labels begin and end more clearly click on the Table Design tab that now appears and then click any of the grid options to see the lines.

Highlighting the limits of the labels.png
At top left is the newly created sheet of labels, on the right is a version with gridlines and shading to show more clearly where the labels are, using the Table Design tool that now appears in the menu. Remove shading and borders before printing using Borders tool on the right.

I’d previously created an entire ‘zine’ in PowerPoint which is my software of choice for laying out any text and images (eg for flyers) but I couldn’t get it to print correctly.ย  I also tried with Scribus, which is open source desktop publishing and layout software, but while it (and PowerPoint) looked great on the screen I couldn’t get the thing to print without introducing further margins. Remembering I’d recently vanquished Mail Merge and label printing I wondered if I could use that to override the margins with a custom ‘label’ – yep, Word worked.

3. Laying out the zine in Word (using PowerPoint!)

It was quite handy that I already had a pret-a-zine, as a .pptx, as it made it much quicker to re-create the zine in Word by selecting multiple items on each ‘page’, copying, then pasting into the Word zine, then moving into the relevant segment and neatening up. In fact I might actually recommend doing this step beforehand [download Basic powerpoint zine layout] because PPoint is more obedient in terms of letting you move images wherever you want them, it’s a bit more of a fight in Word. To control the position of images in Word I used the Picture Format > Wrap Text: In Front of Text which got them to behave. There’s probably a better way but this worked fine.

I was absolutely delighted, on printing and folding the Word label version, that it worked perfectly.

Zine layout on PowerPoint.png
Zine layout in PowerPoint – worked for laying out, not for printing (for me anyway)

4. A note on the calculations for pedants and enthusiasts – worked example

An A4 sheet is 11.69 x 8.27 inches, 29.7cm x 21cm (297mm x 210mm) or 842 x 545 pts in Post Script.

The figures above worked perfectly for me and my printer. Technically I made a very slight error in my calculation as I’d intended that all margins and space ‘units’ between each ‘label’ would be 0.05, meaning that I’d have 5 units horizontally (left and right margins + 3 spaces between four labels / columns) and 3 units vertically (top and bottom margins + 1 space betwen the two rows).

To get the ballpark figures for the dimensions I divided the long edge (width) by 4 and the short edge (height) by 2 to make 8 labels – 11.69/4 = 2.92 inches and 8.27/2 = 4.135 inches.

To work out the available width minus the margins and spaces I subtracted 5 x 0.05 (0.25) from 11.69 getting 11.44 inches, and for the height: 3 x 0.05 (0.15) from 8.27 getting 8.12 inches.

I then divided the width into 4 (11.44/4 = 2.86), and height into 2 (8.12/2 = 4.06).

So 2.86 inches is the width of one label. The pitch (width plus one space) is 2.86+0.05 = 2.91 inches.

Similarly 4.06 is the height of one label and the pitch is 4.06+0.05 = 4.11.

The two margins had been 0.05 but it didn’t work until I shaved a bit off and made them 0.03! The yellow dots in the picture below denote 0.05 but in the end the outer ones (red and orange) became 0.03″ to make it fit ๐Ÿ˜‰

Zine dimensions as applied to the Word label .png

โ€ข #MildlyUsefulInfo – a collection of tips

30 Dec 2019: Storify is no longer functional so I’ve created a Twitter Moment using all the Tweets and it’s here https://twitter.com/i/moments/1211422251226193921


This blog is really about slightly more technical stuff than the collection below covers. Probably relatively few of these would warrant a whole explanatory post, so instead I tweeted them and included the hashtag where possible, then collected them together in a Storify story. I’m hoping it will embed nicely below, but it might depend on your browser – the original can be seen here. Hope you find something useful among them, it’s a bit potluck as I tweet them as they occur to me so they’re not organised in any logical way.

Word: use AutoCorrect to save time typing the same long words

This is one of those things I’ve always assumed lots of people know how to do already. But I was wrong about Ctrl+F so I’d better not take any chances ๐Ÿ˜‰

When I worked in science I had cause to write long words, like phosphatidylcholine or arachidonic acid, fairly regularly and repetitively in Word documents. This was 15 years ago and I’m sure lots of scientists are using LaTeX to write, and shortcuts are fairly easy to set up there – but this post is for people using Word.

Mac instructions
Let’s pretend you have to write phosphatidylcholine or Phosphatidylcholine many more times than your fingers would wish to. You can easily set Word’s AutoCorrect function to turn a short text string into the full-length word.

Note that this feature on Word doesn’t distinguish the phosph- from the Phosph- form so if you want to be able to quickly bring up either the lower or capitalised word you’ll need to add two different instructions. I use the caret (^) symbol to differentiate the two but you can use any combination of letters you like.

a) Select Tools / AutoCorrect

Screen Shot 2016-03-12 at 12.46.50

b) Type your short phrase into the ‘Replace:’ text box and the longer text that you wish to replace it with in the ‘With:’ one, then click Add. Every time you type something found in the ‘Replace’ column Word will automatically change it to whatever’s in the ‘With’ column.

Screen Shot 2016-03-12 at 12.47.43

c) Assuming you want the option to quickly bring up a capitalised version add a second example for that – you can’t have pch and Pch going to two different options as Word treats them the same. I’ve used ^pch but cpch (Capital phosph…) or any variation is fine.

Screen Shot 2016-03-12 at 12.48.25

d) Try it out – type your mini-text and then the spacebar and your word should automatically appear, with a single space after it so you can start typing your next word, or backspace to add punctuation.

Screen Shot 2016-03-12 at 12.49.52

You can also just forgo this, type pch or Pch whenever you want the relevant words to appear and then, once you’ve finished editing the document use the Find and Replace option to convert all instances of pch to phosphatidylcholine and Pch to the Phosphatidylcholine one.

PC instructions
Will have to wait (or send me your screenshots) as I’ve not been in the office for a while and am working at home… ๐Ÿ™‚