Writing Your Own Family History–Printing Your History!

Making a single PDF of your history. When all of the previous steps have been completed, you need to combine all of your history’s chapters and appendices into a single PDF. Start by saving each document as its own PDF file. Then download a free program, such as pdfbinder, and list each file in the proper order to create a single PDF document:

• Title Page (and a blank page for the back of it)
• Letter to Reader (and a blank page for the back of it)
• Chapter One
• Chapter Two
• Chapter Three
• Chapter Four
• Chapter Five
• Chapter Six
• Chapter Seven
• Chapter Eight
• Chapter Nine
• Appendix A
• Appendix B
• Appendix C
• Appendix D
• Appendix E
• Appendix F
• Appendix G
• Appendix H

Review and Update your history. Once you combine everything into a single PDF file, you can look over the document and decide whether you need to delete something or to include anything else or to update simple changes.

For example, you might want each chapter to start on the right page with an odd page number. Let’s say that after you have one PDF of your entire history, you notice that Chapter Two starts on page 26 (meaning it will be printed on the left side of the page). At this point, you must return to the original Word document of Chapter One or Two to make changes. You can either add a blank page at the end of Chapter One—this will become page 26 and force Chapter Two to start on page 27. Or you can add a blank page at the beginning of Chapter Two and set the pagination at page 26—which will force Chapter Two to begin on page 27. (If you have included endnotes at end of each chapter–which is a good idea when you have many, I suggest adding the extra page to the beginning of the second chapter, since Word includes endnotes as the last part of the chapter and the extra page added will be included before the endnotes.)

When your changes have all been made, resave your document in Word and as a PDF. Then you can recombine all your PDFs into a single PDF and re-edit.

Complete this process until you are confident that your history will print the way you want it to print—assuming you want to print a book with 8 ½ x 11 sheets of paper.

Printing your history. With a single PDF, you then can email your entire document to a print shop. I have enjoyed working with BYU Print Services. They work with family histories all the time and they are great at explaining the printing process and its costs and turn-around time. The histories can be printed hardbound or softbound with a variety of colors or with your own image. For the history I wrote about my mission president’s mission history, I was able to get BYU Print Services to emboss Chinese characters on the cover of the book. I highly recommend them.

Make sure you have a chance to edit a page proof before printing. Look through these pages one at a time and verify that you are satisfied before a final copy is produced.

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