View iPhoto books in two-up mode

iPhoto’s book feature is quite amazing; assuming your pockets are deep enough, you can create some truly stunning gifts for relatives. Last year, for instance, we created a book of images of our two daughters for each set of grandparents. The end results are stunning, but as noted, far from cheap.

Thankfully, you can also print your own photo books. Just create the book as you normally would, then use File -> Print to print the book locally. (And yes, that option is still available in the just-released iPhoto ’08.) You’ll see an Assembling Book progress dialog, and then the standard Print dialog. From here, you could send it to your printer, of course, but that’s not really the subject of today’s hint. Instead of using File -> Print, control-click somewhere on the book and choose Save Book as PDF from the pop-up menu. (Yes, you can do this in the Print dialog, too, but this saves a step.) When the process completes, you’ll have a full PDF of your book, ready for distribution via e-mail, a web site, or via burning to a CD or DVD.

But that’s still not today’s hint, as that’s a fairly well documented feature. Instead, today’s tip (which is still relatively simple) is about a good way to view photo books on your monitor, using either Preview or Reader. Since the books are designed to be looked at two pages at a time, you’ll get the most book-like experience if you set up your PDF reader to show them that way.

In Preview, open the book PDF you created, then choose View -> PDF Display -> Facing Pages, then enter slideshow mode (Shift-Comamnd-F, or View -> Slideshow), and enjoy the two-page view:

You can make the experience even better by clicking the Fit to Screen button (the button that’s second from the right in the controller at the bottom of the screen). This should zoom the image a bit to better fill your monitor.

In Adobe’s Reader, set View -> Page Display -> Two Up, and then open Reader’s Preferences. Click on Full Screen, and uncheck the “Fill screen with one page at a time” option. Now select View -> Full Screen Mode and enjoy a similar view as you’ll see in Preview.

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