Printing A4 documents

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Many other countries (especially those using the metric system) use A4-sized paper (210 x 297 mm) instead of regular 8.5 x 11 inch paper. While it is possible to get our printers to print on A4-sized paper, availability of such paper is limited (the Math Department does not keep any on hand; do not use special paper for photo printing on laser printers, as it may damage the printers).

Although A4 is close enough to letter size that it's usually good enough to send the file to the printer and accept a printout with unsymmetrical margins, at times some parts of the printout may fall off the bottom of the page. Therefore, it may be necessary to take additional steps.

This page describes some methods for printing various file types on regular letter-sized paper.

For more details on paper sizes, see the Wikipedia article on paper sizes.

TeX dvi Files

With dvi files you can run dvips in such a way that the text is centered on the page (but not shrunk to fit). This can be done by the following command:

dvips -P744 -O 3mm,-9mm file.dvi

(Of course, you will want to change the printer name and the file name.)

PDF Files

Adobe ReaderTM (acroread) is capable of printing A4 documents to letter size, by shrinking the image to fit the smaller page height. To do this (assuming you have a pdf file), run Adobe Reader:

acroread file.pdf

When the file is showing up, type Control-P to pop up a print window. In the area marked "Page Handling" there is a selection for "Page Scaling." Make sure it is set for "Shrink to printable area."

Earnings Statements (Pay Stubs)

For some reason, earnings statements (pay stubs) are provided as pdf files with the A4 paper size. These can be printed using acroread as above, but for a little nicer result (less shrinkage) it is better to save it to a file and use the command

pdftops payadvice.pdf - | lpr

PostScript Files (.ps)

PostScript files with A4 page size can be printed by first converting them to pdf format, and then printing the file using the procedure outlined above.

To convert PostScript files to pdf format, use ps2pdf:

ps2pdf file.pdf

You can then follow the above directions for printing file.pdf using Acrobat Reader.

An alternative method, not guaranteed, is to put the following invocation near the beginning of the file:

8 -25 translate

or, in the case of dvips output:

/bop-hook{8 -25 translate} bind def

Other File Types

Other file types can only be printed by converting them to one of the file types mentioned above. The method for doing that (if possible) depends on the file type.