## Twisty's Tesseract

from Twisty's Mind come Twisted Products

# RefBook: My pocket journal of tables

- Posted in Toolbox by

Paper and pencil were my friends since early childhood. Now in a paperless age, I'm trying to find standards.

I've been keeping a pocket journal for lists and doodles ever since the release of Raiders of the Lost Ark. ("Confront and Document!") Year after year, another book will wear to the point of falling apart. It becomes time to recopy many of the vital tables from one book to the next. That represents at least a week or two of wasteful labor.

This time around, I intend to create a document, "RefBook," likely in LibreOffice Writer, in hopes that it will reproduce the dozens of pages I recopy the most. What makes LibreOffice a good choice is that it has open standards in place of proprietary formats (ala Microsoft). The rich text, nested lists, and full support of tables are very desirable features. But printing from Writer may have considerable issues...

"Booklet printing" is a very good feature to have, when it's done right, and when it doesn't face exceptional needs. My booklet, however, may require a different tack than the standard solution given by Writer. Their answer is to shrink every page, including the printer margins, down by a factor of $$\sqrt{2}$$. That's usually not too bad for European A4 paper, but it sucks for American Letter sizes. Furthermore, letter size would be wasteful: I can fit four pocket sheets per side of one Letter size sheet.

The next logical solution would be to use Labels. Again, LibreOffice makes it trickier than it need be: their implementation of labels involves an unlinked frame for every individual label one page. I'm seriously growing to miss good olde WordPerfect 6.1 and its like. Another alternative would be tables, but again, LibreOffice doesn't flow from cell to cell without creating unlinked text frames for every cell. (Whose insane choice was that?)

My final remedy is to use traditional columns, stacked two 'pagelets' up per sheet, by two columns, using wide page margins... knowing that I will have to paginate their order of sequence manually. It's about as inelegant as it gets. But it should help me to prepare it to be printer ready for any system, even if converting to .PDF .

The nuts and bolts of it dictate that every Letter size sheet will have 4 pagelets per side for a total of 8 per sheet. Every time I prepare a new version, I will have to break it apart by 8 pagelet sets, and manually recheck the order of pagination.

But on the bright side, it will provide a useful pocket reference that can be easily shared. I'll even try to standardize and future proof its published location: http://twisty.org/storage/toolbox/refbook/ .