How to make free, pocket-sized quick references

Knit together these free tools to create handy pocket references for your rig, HT, DIY gadgets, or whatever. The parts list for this project consists of PDFtoPocketMod, PrimoPDF or another free PDF creator, and Google Docs.

A PocketMod is a small book that you print out and fold. The ingenious layout of the book gives you an eight page booklet made from a single piece of paper. Since the eight pages are printed on one side of a piece of paper, you can imagine that the print can get pretty small. Go to and download their PDF to PocketMod program. No installation is required. Just unzip the file.

PrimoPDF creates a PDF producing virtual printer on your computer. Whatever you send to the PrimoPDF printer is saved as a PDF file. Download the free version of PrimoPDF and install it. Other free PDF software is available, but I found PrimoPDF to be stable and it produces decent PDFs. Google Docs will save your document as a PDF but I did not find the results too satisfying because text appeared where I did not expect it.

Google Docs provides an online, basic-featured word processor. Since Google Docs is under development, you may consider using another free program, Open Office, to create your text. Google Docs has the advantage of no installation required though.

Once you have the parts installed, write your reference material using the word processor of your choice. Choose a large font for your text because the entire page will be reduced. I use an 18 point sanserif font for readability which reduces down to about 8 or 9 point type in the final product. Also, set the margins to be quite narrow at 0.25 inches or less to get the most out of your 8 pages. Next, create a PDF by printing to the PrimoPDF virtual printer. Now you can open PDFtoPocketMod and convert the PDF to a PocketMod booklet. Print your book using a PDF viewer and fold it according to the instructions at Adobe gives away their popular PDF viewer but I have had good luck with a smaller, faster, free PDF viewer called Foxit.
Instead of relying on your memory, stash a little pocket reference inside the box with your latest home-brew gadget to get the most out of every feature.

Play the text of this article in Morse code!

Leave a Reply