EBooks: Printing Them Out

Note from an AmblesideOnline user . . .

I have been using AmblesideOnline for the past 3 years and have experience in years 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6. I have also used parts of HEO with my high schoolers. Just a little backround info :-)

I just wanted to encourage those of you who are hesitant to use printed e-texts to not be wary!!

When we began, I also balked at the idea of printing pages or reading off the computer, but due to lack of funds and lack of availability, I just went ahead and printed up some of these gems. Well, I thought my children would look at me like I was nuts when I handed them a 3 ring binder (my easy . . . cheap . . . way of binding!) but I was quite wrong. They loved the idea of one sided printing . . . that gave them room to--

     1. write new vocabulary on the blank side to look up later
     2. draw narrations as I read to them
     3. copy a map into the book
     4. write summaries inside their own book.

I could go on, but I am sure you get the idea. I had originally planned to just print these books once and call it done, but they became personal keepsakes!! I now have to start printing them for my younger set.

One thing I do differently now, is I use brads to bind my 3 ring holes and the use colored duct tape over the spine. I can write on the spine that way. I also make sure my margins are quite wide and I use a nice clean font that is at least 12-14 point for my young ones.

ENJOY the wonderful thing we call AmblesideOnline,

Thank you to the advisory once again!!!

Hoping to help,

Question: Does everyone else print out the e-text as needed? Or do you have your children read it from the computer screen?

There are several ways to do this, and I think we probably have somebody using each of them, and maybe some we've not thought of.
Some print out the e-text all at once, some a chapter at a time. When I print it out I like to save it to my word processor and fiddle with the text size, style, and color. We refill our ink cartridges and print on scratch paper from dh's work, so the cost is minimal. I also usually change it to two columns to save on paper. Since we do print on scratch paper our copies are only single sided. You can do double sided by first printing only the odd numbered pages (most word processor and printing programs will give you an option to do this, you just have to hunt), then flipping the stack and printing the even pages.

When we do print out the text we keep it in a peechee folder (cardboard folder with prongs in the center for notebook paper), or a three-ring binder.

We never read it from the website itself. Sometimes my children have read it from the screen and when we do this I copy and paste the text onto MSWord, fiddle with the color and text size and style and background color as well (shades of green are easier on the eye). I can make the text as large as we like for ease of reading when I save it to disk. Then they put in the disk and read it from the screen, but the eye strain is minimal.



Question: Is it more beneficial to purchase the books that are available than using etexts?

I prefer etexts. I can tweak the font size and columns/margins to my own taste and I never feel guilty about writing in them. I staple mine (I bought a heavy-duty stapler at Office Max) so it's like a book (or Hollywood script?) That way, I can afford to splurge when I find a book that's not online or that has wonderful illustrations. I don't mind paying for art, but I don't like to pay for text if I don't have to.

For someone who is really short on money, online books can be read straight off the computer screen. It's not as cozy as cuddling on the couch with a book, but the ideas translated will have just as much impact.

Leslie (Noelani)

How To Tweak Text for Printing

For Word 97, Windows 95

When I copy an etext to my Word program, the lines only go halfway across the page. Is there must be a way to move the lines over instead of manually moving each line?

The reason the lines refuse to go all the way across the page is because the computer is using paragraph marks to break up each line. But those paragraph marks can be removed and replaced with spaces. Here's how: Practice this on a short one page text until you feel comfortable with it.

1) While you're in Word and the text is already pasted on, click the bar across the top that says "edit."
2) Click on "replace..."
3) A dialog box will show on your screen
4) Where it says "find and replace" put a paragraph mark. It will not work if you hit your enter button, you have to click on one of the five buttons along the right inside the dialog that says "more."
5) click on the button that says "special."
6) A list of characters will pop up, click on "paragraph mark."
7) You should see a ^p.
8) Put the cursor down to where it says "replace with" and use your space
bar to put a space there. Nothing will show, spaces are invisible.
9) Click one of the five buttons along the inside right of the dialog box that says "replace all."
10) When it's done, click "OK" and you're done!!

What you end up with is one long paragraph! If you add a couple more steps, you can make the lines go all the way across the page while still retaining separate paragraphs. You just do a couple more "find and replace" steps, like the one above.

1) Replace each paragraph mark paragraph mark for a tab character (using the same dialog box from the edit\replace option)
2) replace each remaining paragraph mark with a space.
3) replace each tab with a paragraph mark paragraph mark.

I like to go through the entire book first and do pre-mark poems to retain their poetry formatting. This takes time, but if you don't do it, any poems in the book will show up as a long sentence (which may be okay with you). If you decide that you would like to keep poems formatted as poems, just add two steps. The first step is a long, tedious process, but I don't think there's any way around it (unless you could teach a computer to recognize poetry by its form!)

1) manually set up each poem with a zzz at the end of each line (A "zzz" is rarely used for anything else, so you won't accidentally re-format anything else)
2) after I'm done with all the other replacements I want to do, I replace each zzz for a paragraph mark.

I have a macro set up for printing books. Macros enable you to do all these things by clicking one button. What it is, in effect, is presetting your computer to do all these steps by itself. Once you record a macro, every time you want to re-format a book, you can go through and mark your poems (since a computer can't be programmed to distinguish poems!) then click your macro and walk away from your computer and it does all the other steps by itself!!!!!

To record a macro with Word, you choose the "macro" option from your tools bar and select "record a new macro." You will need to pick a name for the macro, something less than 8 letters and no characters or spaces.

From here, every step you take will become part of the macro. You will need to mark any poems before you record the macro if you decide to keep poems in their proper format.

With the macro recording, go through each step, using the "replace" dialog box.:

replace paragraph mark- paragraph mark with a tab replace each paragraph mark with a space replace each tab for paragraph mark paragraph mark replace each == for paragraph mark to re-format poems change font size ("selct all" and click on the desired font size) I like to set up two columns (it makes it easier to read because I use a size 8 font)

Click "stop recording."

Now the macro is set up and ready to use!! To use it, paste your book into Word, pre-mark poems, click "tool" and "macro." Select the macro you recorded and "run." The computer will do the rest!!! This function has revolutionized my computer time!

I believe I am still the undisputed ... Etext Queen. <g>

Leslie (Noelani) Laurio

Any of you who received a copy of TCOO as a Word document from me have seen what a macro can do. The formatting - changing fonts, getting the lines to go all the way across a page, setting margins and double columns, was done at the click of one button and took my computer just a few seconds to finish. Need I say that macros are what makes my computer most useful to me? It is worth the attempt to take a few minutes and learn to do this.

Leslie Noelani Laurio, still the Etext Queen

Question: Can you explain what a macro is, how in the world to save white spaces, how to replace paragraph marks with a space, or how to format the text into two columns?

In order to do this, you'll need to set it up yourself. But it's not as complicated as you'd think.

This is how it works in Microsoft Word: On your toolbar, there's an edit button. Within the edit button, there's a 'find and replace' dialog box. Computers were designed to do mundane, time-consuming tasks for us. So, using the 'find and replace' feature, I tell the computer to find all the white spaces by typing that into the 'find what' box. A white space usually is two paragraph marks, and the computer reads paragraph marks like this: ^p. The little carrot figure is above the number 6 on the keyboard. You'll need to type two of them: ^p^p Replace them with a tab mark, which is coded like this: ^t. That is typed into the 'replace with' box. Click 'replace all' and the computer will replace all the white spaces in one second, like magic!

Then, replace the remaining paragraph marks with a single space. (In the 'find what' box, type one ^p. In the 'replace with' box type a single space, using the space bar.) Click 'replace all.' Last, put all the white spaces back in by replacing the tab marks (^t) with two paragraph marks (^p^p)

Now you can adjust your margins (using the 'page setup' option under the 'file' menu on the toolbar) and font style and size (using the font feature under the 'format' menu on the toolbar) and even make your pages two columns (using the 'columns' option under the 'format' menu) and add page numbers (click 'page numbers' under the 'insert' menu)

A MACRO tells your computer to do all of these steps on its own. From the 'tools' menu on the toolbar, choose 'macro' and then 'record new macro.' You'll need to name your macro and then, with the macro recorder on, do all of the steps you want>replacements, change fonts, columns, insert page numbers. When you're done, click 'stop recording' and you're done!

To use your macro, paste a text into Word, click 'tools' on the toolbar, then 'macros' and then the macro with the name you gave it. The computer will go through all of the steps you've programmed it to do.

The only thing you can't program a macro to do is find formatted text (such as lists, poetry and tables of contents) so the computer tends to turn them into one long sentence. I sometimes go through the text beforehand and mark those lines somehow with an asterisk or equal sign, then go back and replace those with paragraph marks to fix them and return them to their original format.

Leslie (Noelani) Laurio

April 2008 update: This worked great in Word 97. Now I have Linux and its free Word-type software, Open Office, and I haven't figured out how to get the replace function to recognize a line break ^p character, although I've been able to do that with Linux's Leafpad plain text program. Leafpad doesn't allow you to set up macros, so it's not quite as quick and easy, but it does work. I've seen the new version of Word that comes with Windows Vista, and it seems as about as uncooperative as Open Office. I'm not relinquishing my Etext Queen crown just yet, though - I'm still researching how to do those things in Open Office and Vista's Word. ~ Leslie Noelani

I condense etexts as much as possible. I use .5 margins all the way around, AGaramond font, size 7 (you have to manually type in the number seven in the little box for font size on the toolbar, and then click the enter key; the fonts aren't listed smaller than 8) and three columns with a .1 margin between each column. (Choosing columns is done with the "format" button on the toolbar across the top of the screen in Word) I am told that this is too hard for most people to read, but I use this for most of my etexts. I've found it to be as condensed as I can go and still be able to read it. Since texts have less pages this way, I can usually bind them with a regular stapler (I have found that stapling from the back, so that the sharp points of the staples are on the front instead of the back, lessens incidents of being scratched by staples)

Another small option is two columns and either AGaramond or Franklin Gothic Book font in size 8. It's condensed but somewhat easier to read.

Leslie Noelani

Question: How can I print etexts economically? Should I refill ink cartridges? Buy paper in bulk?

We set our printer quality to "toner saver mode" of 25% reduction. Our ink cartridges last quite a bit longer, without any discernible difference in print quality. We do not refill the cartridges. My dh is a computer tech. He is frequently called out to clean printer heads on machines with refilled ink cartridges - the toner clumps. I'm a bit of a perfectionist:s:and don't like blobs of ink on my printed pages. We shop for sales but always make sure to buy only the printer cartridges made for our printers (not the generic brands).

As for paper... we buy good quality white printer paper at Costco (also known as Price-Costco and Costco Wholesalers). Sometimes Costco sells the paper by the case; ours hasn't lately, so we have made do with buying two packages of 1000 sheets of printer paper at a time. BTW, using 20 to 24 lb weight paper prevents most paper jams caused by the lighter weight (18 lb) paper. It also results in a kid-sturdier page. :-)

IMHO, shopping wisely but still using quality 'ingredients' results in a better quality print-off of any e-book whether black text or colour illustrations.


Kelly G:-) in BC Canada

I took four big "books" I had printed to Office Max for comb binding and it cost around $15 for all four books, this included a sturdy backing and a clear vinyl front page. They look really nice. Someone posted to make sure when you do this, that they use a big enough binding to allow you to open the book flat.

You can also download the e-text to a disk, and take it to Office Max for them to print off. Their website will give you a free quote and you can even submit the files over the internet. I think I will do this in the future to save wear and tear on my printer, as well as save money on my expensive ink cartridges. For me, it will be cheaper to do this. But for some folks it is cheaper to print it out theirselves.

For a free quote: Go to www.officemax.com click on "business services" click on "copymax" click on the box that says "send your electronic files to any CopyMax location" click on "get started" then answer the questions about your document. They give you a quote before they ask you to send your files (and you can just leave if you're not ready to do that)

HTH, Wendy P.

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