CONFIGURING ADOBE PDF DEFAULT PAPER SIZE FOR PRINTING

Sometimes you can’t fit all of the relevant information in a standard 8.5″ x 11″ letter-size document. Current monitors allow for plenty of horizontal screen real estate and a 8.5″ x 14″ legal-size or larger document can be a much better option for sharing a lot of information on one page.  When you distribute this information electronically, it displays very nicely on a large wide-screen monitor.

One of the issues I encounter frequently is when you attempt to print a legal size PDF and it comes out of the printer on letter sized paper by default.  Text that looked good in the legal format is condensed and often too small to be legible when it is printed on standard letter-sized paper.

To fix this for yourself is pretty simple.  You just check the “Choose paper source by PDF page size” option in the printer dialog window.

PDF Printer Dialog Window
PDF Printer Dialog Window showing the “Choose paper source by PDF page size” box unchecked.  You can see that the document will print on the standard 8.5 x 11 inch paper size.
PDF Printer Dialog Window
PDF Printer Dialog Window showing the “Choose paper source by PDF page size” box checked. You can see that the document will now print to the appropriate 8.5 x 14 inch size.

The real problem is when you want to distribute the legal size PDF to other individuals like your colleagues or your boss.  You send the legal size PDF and it looks great on their screen, but when they print the document, it compresses to the standard letter size paper by default.

Legal sized PDF distributed [image]

Legal sized PDF printing to letter size by default [image]

If you’re sending this to a group of executives, it is not realistic to have them follow the instructions above.  The better option is to configure the properties of your PDF document.  To configure the properties of your PDF document so that it prints to the correct paper size based on the PDF page size do the following:

  1. Click ‘File’
  2. Click ‘Properties’ to display the Document Properties window
    1. PDF File Properties Image Example
  3. Click the ‘Advanced’ tab
  4. Check the box labeled “Paper Source by Page Size:”
  5. Click ‘OK’
    1. PDF Advanced Properties Window Image
  6. Save the file and distribute
  7. When the recipients of your document attempt to print it, the “Choose paper source by PDF page size” will already be checked.
    1. PDF Printer Dialog Window

Following these simple steps has saved me a ton of time and heartburn when sharing legal sized documents that I know my recipients will print.

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