How do I print multiple copies of a PDF document to a single sheet? Similar to tiling a business card template?

I have double sided business cards in PDF format. Odd pages are the front, even pages are the back. (Example 1 is the front of page 2, 3 is the front of 4). All odd pages are different, even pages can differ as well.

What I want to do is use an application, print driver, or acrobat to tile pages so they fit my media, be it letter card stock, or A3 card stock. I understand that print shops have such applications (or drivers) to do as I need, however, my print runs are small enough to make home printing more economical.

Huge bonus if this application can place crop marks where required.

For my purpose, it is not suitable to use a business card template.

I have access to Mac or Windows platforms.

  • The software might be called RIP driver, even knowing what I'm looking for would help a lot. – Chris Apr 13 '11 at 1:40
  • RIP is a Raster Image Processor and is used to convert PostScript/PDF/etc to bitmap data for your printer. While a RIP may have a function to n-up print your document, it's overkill for what you need. – emgee Apr 13 '11 at 1:46

This can be done in-RIP or prior, in-RIP is done on the commercial printing machines.

What you are looking for is called imposition software, specifically the N-Up feature. This will let you modify a PDF file and save it. This software is usually a plugin for Adobe Acrobat, eg Quite Imposing, but it can be done separately.

I used PDFTools once, but it can only do it from images to a PDF, I got it when they were doing a free giveaway. The trial version adds watermarks, but if you are doing N-up then you might be able to work around them.

There is also a CLI app, PDF N-UP Maker, I haven't tried it.

  • Thanks for the imposition keyword. That's completely new to me. – matt wilkie Nov 15 '11 at 22:33
  • I recently found a FOSS alternative, jPdf Tweak. It's quite complex to set up a page, but it's free and works with PDFs directly. – Hydaral Nov 17 '11 at 1:17

While this won't help the OP, it might help others who are on linux: you can use the pdfnup program to put two copies of a one-page pdf on a single page.

pdfnup --nup 2 --landscape --outfile Output.pdf original.pdf original.pdf

Original source: http://levien.zonnetjes.net/?q=pdftips


Depending on your printer driver you could probably futz with the n-up options to do this, but you're better off placing the PDF in a page layout program, so you can better control where the individual cards line up.

What software do you have available? I would typically use Indesign for this, but you could probably use Scribus or (on Mac) Pages or some other page layout program.

One other note, tiling usually refers to printing a single page of a document larger over multiple pages. Printing multiple copies of something on a single page is called n-up, where n is the number of times it is printed on a single page. If you are printing business cards, you could print them 8-up, meaining eight on a page.

  • I own CS5 master collection for Mac, perhaps I'll give it a whirl with inDesign! – Chris Apr 16 '11 at 16:22

You can convert PDF to Postscript (PS) using Ghostscript's PDF2PS and then use Postscript imposition tools such as PSutils' psnup

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