Creating Gang Runs in Sierra (also known as Dutch Cuts, or Combo/Combination cuts)
Sierra can set up any combination you need, but first you need to know how you are going to impose your items. Check with your press and bindery operators to see what their preferences are. Make a sample layout on a scrap piece of paper. Sierra cannot automatically impose these for you, you have to instruct sierra how to do it.
For the example below, I am going with the premise that press wants the content centered on the press sheet, and bindery prefers the most common cuts we can manage. I have one 8.5” x 11” item, one 5.5” x 8.5” that we need 2 up, one 4.25” x 5.5” that we need 3 up, and one 3.5” x 2” that we need 6 up, all on a 19” x 25” sheet.
I mocked a rough idea of the imposition I want, simply adding up the finished sizes, making sure they will all fit on the press sheet.
Now I am ready to start my template creation in Sierra. I copy my first page until I have all 4 in the template. I made everything have .125” bleed, and .25” gutters (clipping margins set to .25”).
Now I start rotating my individual items, and creating patterns as needed to get the correct count.
Now I currently have 4 of the 4.25” x 5.5” items, but only need 3. I will save the template and close it, to go to the running list. Here I will add a blank page after the 4.25” x 5.5”.
Now I edit my template again, then revise the 4.25” x 5.5” pattern, to add the extra (blank) page.
Okay, now we have all of the pages on the sheet, and the correct number up, but now we need to position them correctly for bindery. I am going to try to have the center sheet cuts be common for all of the items/patterns. First, I select the bottom left pattern, and the top left item. Under the alignment tab, I first align them to the right edge, and put a .5” vertical gap between them (make sure you hit apply).
This has now aligned and spaced the two items correctly with each other (although the position of them on the press sheet is not yet correct). Now select the lower right pattern, and move it below the top edge of the lower left pattern. If we try to align this as it is currently, it will move the lower left (cyan) pattern up.
Now select the lower left (cyan) and the lower right (magenta), and align to the top edge, with a horizontal gap of .5”. Once again, make sure you hit apply for the gap measurement.
No select the upper left item (gray), and the upper right pattern (yellow), align them to the bottom, with a vertical gap of .5”.
Now if we zoom in to the center of the group, you can see that all of the crop marks align.
Now, we need to select all of the items, and at the bottom of the Alignment tab, under Centring, make sure you have Selected (Items to Centre), Paper (Centre On), and Both (Axis for Centring) all selected, then click on Centre. This will keep all of your patterns together, but center the entire block on the press sheet.
If for some reason you still need to adjust the position of the gang run items on the sheet (e.g.: running into color bars), go back to the Signature tab, and make the adjustment in the position field. Although you have several objects selected, you can still make an adjustment here. It will not show your specific reference points in the tab, you can see that it still retains the reference points of the first object you selected. You can just enter a different value here, and it will still move the set of selected images.
This example is just one of several ways a gang run can be composed. You could eliminate the marks in the center (reduce your clipping margins), or you can orientate your pages differently. This was simply one example of many possible solutions.