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PDF-Document (print area / measurements)

Posted on 2008-10-09
Last Modified: 2013-12-15

I want to create a PDF-file which people can download from my website and then print out on their own printer. The PDF-file will be a simple A4 page (UK/Europe) with mainly text and some graphics.

Ideally I would like to 'frame' the A4 page with a 10mm grey border, but most people will not be able to print this page as most printers cannot print right to the edge.

Question: How many mm do I have to stay away from the edges so that 'most' people can download and print this A4 page properly? Is there some kind of 'rule' or 'industry standard' that I can follow?

Is there anything else I should keep in mind before I make this PDF-file available online?

Many thanks!
Question by:heiam
LVL 44

Accepted Solution

Karl Heinz Kremer earned 167 total points
ID: 22681299
There is no hard rule about that - every printer is different. Most of the newer photo printers can actually print right to the edge, other printers have a larger or smaller margin around the edge.

Acrobat (and Reader) allows you to scale the page to the printable area of the selected printer. Why don't you just create a A4 page that is filled to the edge (including your 10mm border), and then give some hints about how to print that (e.g. for the current and the previous release of Acrobat/Reader, tell them what to select on the print dialog to get an almost 10mm gray border right at the edge of the printable area of their printer).
LVL 30

Assisted Solution

captain earned 167 total points
ID: 22681407

the default install of acrobat usually has the 'Shrink to fit' enabled in the print dialog, this will cause Adobe to use the printer margins of your printer and shrink the printable image to whatever printer driver is installed.

Even if the image is larger than the printer settings allow and the user has changed the shrink settings previously, Adobe uses this as a suggested setting.

You don't really need to worry about it. And if you encounter a user with an edge to edge printer the better.


Assisted Solution

Genome_A_W earned 166 total points
ID: 22685049
ok well you need to keep in mind a few things. Lets deal with your main issue first

Most printers tend to need a 3-5mm gap around the page. Now your best 2 options are either

a) just use a 10mm grey border as you planed. This will not cause a problem as the printer they use will automatically just cut off 3mm (or what ever it needs) leaving a white then grey boarder.
b) just use a white boarder instead.

Option b would cause less confusing because as much as people here have said their is a fit to print option its not always best. It will shrink your artwork so you may not have the result you intended.

So option A people would be more inclined to click fit to print and have the artwork shrunk where as if you have a white border people wont because to them it appears to all fit on the page.

their is of course secret option c) create a border thats 5mm grey then 5mm white around the outside. That way it should print the same on everyone's but i have no idea if this will look any good as im unaware of what you PDF will look like.

personally i would go for B but A should be just fine really.

Other things you want to keep in mind are the files resolution.

Now when you get something professionally printed you need it to be at 300 dpi (or ppi depending on program) Things on the web will look fine at 72 dpi because that is the resolution of the screen.
When making PDFs that i want on the web to be downloaded and printed i normally make them at about 150 dpi. This is because it keeps the file size small but the print quality for a desktop printer should be just fine. I doubt you will notice the difference. The plus side is it keeps the file size down to a minimum while still producing a good printable image.

If you saved the original file at 300 and its file size is pretty small anyway then dont worry about this to much.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 31504781
Many Thanks for all three answers! They were very helpful!

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