5 Replies Latest reply on Jun 11, 2012 2:55 PM by Peter Spier

    How to number spreads, as opposed to numbering pages?

    Kim Rubin

      Can anyone help with a method to number spreads, rather than pages? I have hunted thoroughly on forums and in plug-ins, but the only thing I have found a few scripts that either don't work or don't exist any more.


      First, "why would anyone want to do that?" Answer: flashcards. I professionally publish flashcard decks. Each card needs to be numbered, but only one number per card, not two numbers, like front and back. The cards are printed 8-up, duplexed, and cut. Thus, InDesign's view of the press-ready file is that the front of the flashcards is the left side of the spread and the back of the flash cards is right side of the spread. The cards might be numbered on the face, on the back, or both (same number, both sides). A deck of playing cards is 52 cards, not 104. This is not a tough concept, but people have trouble with anything that doesn't look like a bound book ...


      Also, just as a note ... LOTS of books, like workbooks, teacher manuals, two-language books ... need to have only one side of a page consecutively numbered. I can't imagine how supposedly the best layout program on the planet is incapable of printing a deck of cards.


      Yes, there are scripts that can import a file full of blank lines, number the empty paragraphs, and pretend that these are card numbers. OK, except TOTALLY UNMAINTAINABLE. Because once you do this, it is dead. Try to insert a new card, or delete one. The numbers are all wrong and there is no way to fix that problem. You can't "re-run" any scripts, so far as I can tell. Anyone know how to fix this ?? These are academic flashcards. New editions come out every few months. Don't tell me to renumber by hand. I have decks with over 700 cards (over 1400 pages for people who insist on using pages). Isn't why we have computers?


      What is wrong with a simple variable? Even (God help us) Word has variables. Why can't I define my own variable, increment it in a one-line script, and place the value into a box on every card (every spread, actually). Why is InDesign less capable than print programs I used in 1975 that ran in BASIC on timesharing system??


      I could renumber tombstones easier. At least then, the file format wouldn't become obsolete every couple of years.



        • 1. Re: How to number spreads, as opposed to numbering pages?
          [Jongware] Most Valuable Participant

          > I could renumber tombstones easier.


          Earlier on you strongly objected to dead numbers. Tombstones are pretty dead, for more than one reason actually.


          Yes, InDesign is a professional layout program. No, that doesn't include numbering decks of cards. It's kind of hard to "blame" Adobe for overlooking that market, but you pull it off convincingly enough.


          Why do you need the numbers "alive" anyway? If you make these cards on a regular basis, make a blank template of 104 pages (oh, sorry -- "52 pages") and type them in by hand. Save as template file, and as long as InDesign can open that particular file, you'll have your numbers ready just the way you like'em.

          • 2. Re: How to number spreads, as opposed to numbering pages?
            Kim Rubin Level 1

            Thanks for the complement.


            My biggest problem is "maintenance," which means adding, deleting, and moving cards around. In all cases, the deck has to then be renumbered, so that a fresh printing produces a cohesive, in-order deck. Just like other textbooks, the information that used to be on page 33 in one edition now appears on page 37. The cards do not have all the same layout. I usually have about five major layouts per deck. Thus, there is no way I know of to "flow" text from a textfile into a set of templates to build an entire deck.


            Imagine that you produced textbooks, including indexes, internal references and TOC. But ... the software you used had no way to number pages. And if you decided to hand number pages in, say, Thailand, those page numbers were dead text strings and could not be used to auto-generated a TOC or Index. What would you do?

            • 3. Re: How to number spreads, as opposed to numbering pages?
              Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

              This would be a lot easier with a Work & Turn layout instead of sheetwise, Any possibility of doing that?

              • 4. Re: How to number spreads, as opposed to numbering pages?
                Kim Rubin Level 1

                I've thought about that. From a layout perspective -- definitely easier. However, all printers (that I know) charge "per impression" -- for both digital printing and offset. Two passes through a press is prohibitively expensive. My printers all want a "press ready" PDF file that is just load and go.

                • 5. Re: How to number spreads, as opposed to numbering pages?
                  Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                  so it runs on a perfecting press and prints both sides in one pass? I actually don't think it would cost any more to make the same set of plates twice and run it that way, unless this is 4/1.