When readers should be single… version 2.0

In an earlier post a solution was prepared to create single pages from PDFs supplied as readers spreads. The solution breaks the readers spreads back to single pages via InDesign and two javascripts. While the method works, it’s clunky and not a true turnkey solution to the problem. At the end of the article, there was a link to a post that featured a script available by fellow WordPresser Karl Heinz Kremer, but his solution was not given the attention that it deserved. This is because on first attempts with the script, there were several issues:

  • Acrobat scripts seemed to be harder to install than InDesign scripts;
  • The script kept presenting faults;
  • When the script did work, it seemed to be more appropriate for PDFs that did not contain bleed.
  • The script would not resolve “printers pairs”

However, it paid to persist with Karl’s method because it turns out to be a better solution… with some manipulation.

First thing to do is download the script. It is available from this link.

The first issue to overcome was where to install the script. Different versions of Acrobat on different platforms all have different locations for the script to be installed to. The best advice is to go to any of the online resources that suggest the location for installing the script varied given that it can be a case of trial and error to find the correct location.

Once the location is determined, a minor change may have to be made, depending on the version of Acrobat that is used. In Acrobat X and above, a line in the script has to be changed so that the script can be accessed from the Edit Menu. At the time of writing this article, the script refers to a “Document” menu, that Acrobat X no longer has. To do this, open the downloaded file in a text editor and look for this line:

cParent: "Document",              // this is the parent menu. The file menu would use "File"

now change this line to:

cParent: "Edit",              // this is the parent menu. The file menu would use "File"


The next issue to overcome was an error that kept appearing. After some persistence, it seems that the script will only error if the first and last pages are different sizes. In this example, the first page is a different width to the last page in the PDF.


Upon running the script, an error dialog appears.


For the script to work correctly, the first and last pages have to be the same size.


The third issue was that the script seemed to work best for PDFs that did not contain bleed. The reason is that the script works using the Cropbox measurements, but it does not have to. Instead, the script can be changed to use the trim or bleed measurements of the PDF. In the script, look for three lines which look like:

                        var cropRect = newDoc.getPageBox("Crop", i);


                                                cBox: "Crop",

this line appears twice.

Now change the word “Crop” to “Trim” and the script will use the Trimbox rather than the cropbox. Similarly, changing the word “Crop” to “Bleed” in these three lines will use the Bleedbox.

Once these amendments to the script are made, the PDF can be successfully split using a more appropriate measurement box. Using the Trimbox is of use to printers given that imposition software tends to refer to these measurements for page imposition but will still retain the original bleed of the file prepared by client.

My final issue was that the script could not fix printers pairs. Again, this is not necessarily true, but it involves more work than a simple click of a menu… but I will save this for another post.


About colmin8r
A prepress operator since 1997 specialising in Adobe InDesign.

One Response to When readers should be single… version 2.0

  1. Pingback: Fixing readers spreads: Third time lucky « Colecandoo!

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