Printing Hell

J. Landman Gay jacque at
Tue Jan 25 17:34:28 EST 2005

On 1/25/05 6:08 AM, Mark Smith wrote:

> Well, it's not just text, it's the whole printed card, including my 
> nice, neat graphic boxes. The size difference translates to about 2 
> points of text size. I don't generally do much printing with my rev 
> apps, but the two or three times I've had a go, this size difference has 
> come up. I doubt if I'd have minded much, except for the fact that it 
> generally means the card won't fit on the page, so it's not especially 
> it just me? This has been on two different OS X laptops, 
> and two different printers, across perhaps 3 or 4 versions of Rev, which 
> is why I've assumed that it's Rev that's doing or not doing something 
> that it should. Is there some OS setting I should know about?

Not an OS setting, but it may be due to the printable page area of the 
printer. All printing scripts have to account for that. It sounds like 
your card is too large to accomodate the printable page area.

Every printer has a minimum side-edge margin beyond which it will not 
print. Laser printers are usually about half an inch, most inkjets are 
about a quarter of an inch. To be safe and keep things simple, I usually 
allow half an inch on each side for a total of one inch of paper where I 
can't put anything.

That means that the maximum card width that will fit on a page is 7.5 
inches (U.S. paper size). Multiply screen resolution at 72 pixels per 
inch times that printable area and you get a card size that can't be 
larger than 540 pixels wide. If your card is wider than that, you'll run 
off the page.

The actual, visual printing margins are a combination of the allowable 
printer page width and the printmargins that you set in your handler. If 
your printer needs .25 inch on each edge before it will lay down ink (18 
pixels) and you want a half-inch visual margin, then you'd set the 
printmargins to 18 on all sides ("18,18,18,18"). This would give you 18 
pixels white space where the printer won't print, plus 18 pixels from 
the printmargins settings, for a total of 36 pixels of white space, 
which is half an inch. If you were to set the printmargins to "0,0,0,0" 
instead, you'd get a quarter-inch margin because the printer won't print 
any closer to the edge than that.

The top and bottom of the printable area varies widely from one printer 
to another. Almost always, if you allow a one inch top and bottom 
margin, your page will fit. My inkjet will print down to a quarter inch 
at the bottom of the page but requires a half inch at the top. Other 
printers are different. You have to do the same math for top and bottom 
margins as you do with the left and right margins, but allow a full inch 
to be safe.

The other solution, which you discovered, is to ignore all this math and 
just scale the entire page down to 85% or whatever fits.

Jacqueline Landman Gay         |     jacque at
HyperActive Software           |

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