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Old 01-31-2015, 01:56 AM   #1
mark_alfred
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LibreOffice business cards are off a bit


I used LibreOffice to print business cards. I had Avery cards, with template numbers 8373 and 5371. From File/New/Business Cards/, I selected the respective numbers for each business card sheet I attempted to print. Creating them seemed to go well, but when I printed them it was off in the alignment. Oddly, the first row was fine (it was centred perfectly), but the second had the text slightly lower in the card, and the third row had the text even lower, and the last row had the text crowding the bottom of the card.

Anyone know how I can fix this? The complication is that some of the cards (the top row of cards) are fine, but the bottom rows of cards are off centre and crowding the lower portion of the card. So adjusting and then syncing all the cards won't work, since all the cards do not have the same issue.

Last edited by mark_alfred; 01-31-2015 at 08:14 AM.
 
Old 01-31-2015, 06:11 AM   #2
jlinkels
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I am wondering whether this is yet another regression error in LO. But that doesn't help you. I would start with 2 things: first "export to PDF" your page. Second: print the document, but use the PDF printer as printing device.

I don't know how LO is built internally, but the first action might bypass the error in the layout engine. OTOH, if both PDF's look right and printing on paper fails, it might be a bug in your printer driver.

jlinkels
 
Old 01-31-2015, 11:39 AM   #3
bryanl
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First check page settings to see that the margins are OK with your printer - sometimes what you need is larger than the area the printer can print. This isn't usually a problem unless you are actually printing something close to the edge.

If the cards are arranged as a set of frames on the page (usual scheme, I think), you can then go through the frames and adjust their dimensions. Reduce the height of each frame by a small amount to compensate for the drift you see in printing. Also adjust the position of the frame on the page up as well. Don't try drag and drop or whatnot - use measures in the properties dialog. I suggest you actually measure the drift and divide by four to figure the drift per row (business cards are usually 5 high by 2 up).

select a frame by left click on the edge, then right click for context menu and choose "frame" then choose the "Type" tab. You might need to change the anchor to "page" which will make a mess until you get the positions for each of the ten frames set properly. If you can, just adjust the height to correct for the drift you see.

Finally, check the paragraph styles for your text to make sure the indents and spacing don't cause drift. DO USE STYLES! sometimes I use a different style for each line on the card in order to get the spacing between lines, alignment, and indent easy to adjust. Tweaking the numbers gets better results than trying tabs and spaces and other kludges.

I usually first get the frames in the right places (if having trouble, set a border on the frame to print tests to better see adjustments needed) then layout one card. Then a simple copy and paste is fairly easy for the other 9.
 
Old 01-31-2015, 12:22 PM   #4
jlinkels
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bryanl View Post
Finally, check the paragraph styles for your text to make sure the indents and spacing don't cause drift. DO USE STYLES! sometimes I use a different style for each line on the card in order to get the spacing between lines, alignment, and indent easy to adjust. Tweaking the numbers gets better results than trying tabs and spaces and other kludges.

I usually first get the frames in the right places (if having trouble, set a border on the frame to print tests to better see adjustments needed) then layout one card. Then a simple copy and paste is fairly easy for the other 9.
That is a lot of work. Instead of LO, I use Inkscape for business cards. Design one, and exactly right. There is a lot which you can do regarding line spacing and kerning. Then Duplicate and move each card to exactly the position needed for the label pitch.

jlinkels
 
Old 01-31-2015, 12:50 PM   #5
bryanl
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Quote:
That is a lot of work. Instead of LO, I use Inkscape for business cards. Design one, and exactly right.
Let me see if I can be polite ;-)

No problem with Inkscape - choose whatever works for you.

With any of these programs you have two ways to go. (1) use an existing template or (2) build your own. If you want to build your own or to make minor corrections and adjustments to a template, yes you indeed have to get into the weeds if you want consistent, predictable results - no matter which tool you choose.

What I was trying to describe was a debug process for when things don't go quite right, not a general requirement for doing predefined documents in LO. Usually the templates provided with LO work just fine and the collection is quite extensive. Occasionally, things need adjusting. One feature of a good program is that you can easily get down to the actual specifications of objects to make minor adjustments or set to spec as needed. LO provides this capability and it can be very useful when trying to get a layout just right.

I tried to provide information that would have been useful to me many moons ago. I was not trying to provide ammunition for Topping games.

AAhhhh, the good ol' days. Remember Ventura Publisher, DeScribe, Pagemaker, Sprint, NewScript, Latex, ... ??? !!! Real layout artists do postscript programming for DTP. That's fun, too.
 
Old 01-31-2015, 02:11 PM   #6
jlinkels
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bryanl View Post
AAhhhh, the good ol' days. Remember Ventura Publisher, DeScribe, Pagemaker, Sprint, NewScript, Latex, ... ??? !!! Real layout artists do postscript programming for DTP. That's fun, too.
I hear what you say about describing the debugging process. Maybe LO is the wrong tool so you need to debug a lot.

I have dropped LO in favor of Latex for reports. I have dropped LO in favor for Inkscape for business cards. I have dropped LO for graphics in favor of Tikz. I have dropped LO for graphs in favor of Gnuplot.

But that doesn't mean your hints for debugging are not useful.

jlinkels
 
Old 01-31-2015, 06:33 PM   #7
bryanl
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if the discussion were about choosing tools, then the various merits of Latex, Inkscape, Tkz, etc for a particular task might be pertinent. But the OP was about a specific problem using a specific tool set.

I find the "Maybe LO is the wrong tool so you need to debug a lot" to be quite specious. The right tool tends to make things easier and perhaps with a few extra features in its particular area of strength. It doesn't mean that other tools are faulty or need more debugging or that one tool is wrong and the other right.

One of the key features of LO is that it does a suitable job for many document preparation tasks and that can be a significant asset in terms of reduced effort to obtain the skillset needed to use it effectively for a broad spectrum of needs. As for labels, especially labels from a dataset, LO is about as easy as it gets and it is neither buggy nor often in need of significant hassle for tweaks and twiddles.

The issues I have are the taking of the question off topic and into a realm of personal preference alternatives expressed as 'right or wrong' that was not constructive or insightful concerning the query at hand. That sort of bigoted response was not helpful (IMHO) in stimulating alternative constructive suggestions but were more an example of the sort of thing that inhibits such responses. In that regard I offer these observations as it is difficult enough to find ideas to solve problems without having folks come in and trash what they don't like thereby inhibiting other contributions that are on topic and constructive.

Do note, also, that my suggestions about placement of frames and specification of characteristics of objects on the page apply not only to LO but also to any other software that is matching content to fixed positions on a printed page. Exactly how you achieve this specification can get into all sorts of interesting DTP challenges including grid establishment, units of measure, coordinate systems, precision of placement, support of alternative methods, output device condition handling, and other topics. That isn't a 'right or wrong' or 'mine is better' but rather an encouragement to learn more about what can be a very interesting topic that was fundamental in the growth of personal computers and the issues faced - and still being solved - in today's efforts to present information in a pleasing way on many devices from printed page to big screens to cell phones.
 
Old 02-02-2015, 01:21 PM   #8
mark_alfred
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Along with hearing ideas for fixing the specific issue with the software, I don't mind hearing suggestions of other software that may work better for accomplishing a task at hand.
 
Old 02-02-2015, 01:24 PM   #9
mark_alfred
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlinkels View Post
I am wondering whether this is yet another regression error in LO. But that doesn't help you. I would start with 2 things: first "export to PDF" your page. Second: print the document, but use the PDF printer as printing device.

I don't know how LO is built internally, but the first action might bypass the error in the layout engine. OTOH, if both PDF's look right and printing on paper fails, it might be a bug in your printer driver.

jlinkels

I get the same result. I exported it to PDF, and then printed with Evince.
 
Old 02-02-2015, 01:37 PM   #10
mark_alfred
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bryanl View Post
First check page settings to see that the margins are OK with your printer - sometimes what you need is larger than the area the printer can print. This isn't usually a problem unless you are actually printing something close to the edge.

If the cards are arranged as a set of frames on the page (usual scheme, I think), you can then go through the frames and adjust their dimensions. Reduce the height of each frame by a small amount to compensate for the drift you see in printing. Also adjust the position of the frame on the page up as well. Don't try drag and drop or whatnot - use measures in the properties dialog. I suggest you actually measure the drift and divide by four to figure the drift per row (business cards are usually 5 high by 2 up).

select a frame by left click on the edge, then right click for context menu and choose "frame" then choose the "Type" tab. You might need to change the anchor to "page" which will make a mess until you get the positions for each of the ten frames set properly. If you can, just adjust the height to correct for the drift you see.

Finally, check the paragraph styles for your text to make sure the indents and spacing don't cause drift. DO USE STYLES! sometimes I use a different style for each line on the card in order to get the spacing between lines, alignment, and indent easy to adjust. Tweaking the numbers gets better results than trying tabs and spaces and other kludges.

I usually first get the frames in the right places (if having trouble, set a border on the frame to print tests to better see adjustments needed) then layout one card. Then a simple copy and paste is fairly easy for the other 9.
Yeah. The thing I don't understand is why they aren't all off a little. The first row is fine, the next slightly adjusted and so on until the bottom row appears crowded at the bottom. Because it's synchronized, it's impossible to make the differing adjustments to the individual rows that I believe would be required to fix it. However, as you say, adjusting the frames might be the solution.
 
Old 02-02-2015, 03:00 PM   #11
mark_alfred
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I tried gLables and got the same result. Odd. Well, back to LibreOffice and an attempt to adjust the frames.

Mind you, the result isn't too bad, so I may simply not worry about it. Odd though.
 
  


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