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. 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.  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 😉

Zine dimensions as applied to the Word label .png

How to find text quickly on a web page or in a file

There’s a very useful keyboard shortcut that will let you jump straight to a word or phrase (or any sequence of letters or numbers1) in almost any document or file – it’s Ctrl+F2.

PDFs
If you’ve opened a 200 page PDF and want to find the word WIDGET then use Ctrl+F to bring up a ‘find’ search box and type in the word widget. Pressing ‘enter’ on the keyboard will let you bounce through each of instance of the word in the document. Depending on your set up some PDF readers will also let you see a panel with all instances of WIDGET in it, in the sentence, allowing you to see a bit of context and decide which one to look at first.

Word documents
Ctrl+F again. You can also change all instances of WIDGET into GADGET by using Ctrl+H (Shift + Command + H on a Mac) to bring up the Find & Replace option, type widget in the top box and gadget in the bottom (make a decision on upper or lower case matching) and press replace all to convert all widgets to gadgets. True story, I once did this in a spreadsheet of people’s names and addresses and converted all instances of UK into United Kingdom and then discovered someone’s first name had become LUnited Kingdome instead of Luke. Should have selected just the country column but I could also have avoided that by better case-matching.

Excel spreadsheets
Within the sheet you’re on Ctrl+F will do the job but note the option on the search box (below) that appears which lets you pick whether to search within the current sheet or the whole workbook (ie find your word in a cell in a different tab).

Screen Shot 2015-08-02 at 23.24.17

Notes
1 you don’t even have to type the full word, just enough letters to pick out the word you want and exclude those you don’t, for example if searching for widget then ‘widge’ would probably do whereas ‘idget’ would also find ‘fidget’.

2 Ctrl+F = holding down the Control key while the letter F is pressed, for Find. On a Mac it’s the Command key instead of Control. You can also access Find in the Edit menu.

Further reading