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Set Your Page Size to A4 For My Documents

Index

Background

This page is pointed to by web pages containing `print ready' page formatted documents generated by Julian Stacey. Typically pointer wording being:
  • Set your Viewer Page Default Size to: A4, (not USA letter size).
  • Seitengrösse fuer alle: A4, (nicht "USA Letter" Groesse).

In Europe, & rest of the world except USA/ Canada, (as far as I know, mail me if wrong) we use A4 as standard size paper. (EG for Resumes, bills, documentation, leaflets etc.

(British schools around 1970 used foolscap & quarto etc, & British businesses used yet other sizes too, but all the disruptive variety was later abandoned, & In Britain, Germany, & anywhere else I know, the basic norm is A4. We've all converted & standardised, except the Americans, (& related niche users: eg German banks in 2003 used A4 for leaflets, but still used 12" (slightly longer) paper when printing using eg foreign account software, or password lists).

As much public domain software is produced in the USA, it often defaults to USA letter size, others eg Europeans etc who adopt that software, need to configure such software to change from the USA default to A4.

I've even know a European programmer set his default to USA letter when contributing his software to the ports/ collection in FreeBSD, (a global free software project rather heavy on Americans, some of whom stubornly wanted to impose American Letter as default on new non American code, in contravention of international A4 expectation. )

Paper Sizes: (A4 is a DIN (Deutsche Industrie Norm) standard & perhaps listed with International Standards Organisation standard ? (but ISO's page seems intent to raise fees, rather than publish free standards to encourage conformance). A large table of paper sizes is in my modified sjrun.sh shell script for the HP Network Scanjet 5

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Issues To Consider

  • What size the author's software assumed, when generating the document, ?
  • Was size correctly indicated in approved keyword format inside the document ?
  • Does recipient's page viewer automatically respond to keyword size indicators ?
  • What size recipient's page viewer defaults to ?
  • What size recipient's further format converters use.
  • What size recipient's printer software (converters) & physical printer are set to ?

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Adjust Your Tools

Ghostscript

If you are using gs (ghostscript) directly, it defaults to USA letter. You can over-ride by using
-sPAPERSIZE=a4

Ghostview

Entries such as this may help: In file
~/.Xdefaults
with content:
Ghostview.pageMedia: A4

FreeBSD Tools Macros

Here are berklix.mk & berklix2.mk my Berklix `make' Macros, that include A4 hooks to generate A4, not American letter.

I also have various patches to convert other tools to A4, once you know the tool you want to patch, you'll find the patch to the source code indexed here, & in my source directory.

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Postscript Analysis

If you want to investigate if there are sufficient A4 directives in the postscript document you receive, (Postscript is also used as a common intermediate to generate my other formats), here are some clues below. After you've read it, if you understand postscript, & consider my CV is missing a Postscript directive, I'd welcome your input, Thanks. This groff input:
.pl 9i
.ps 50

hallo

Processed by this command on FreeBSD-4.9:
groff -U -b -s -t -Tps -dformat=ps t.rof > t.ps
With
/usr/share/groff_font/devps/DESC
alternately containing
papersize letter
and then
papersize a4
with the 2 outputs differentially compared by
diff -c
produces as further below. Obviously the
%%DocumentMedia
is width & length in tenths of an inch. & one can also see
/PageSize [ 595 842 ]
&
def/PL 841.89

diff -c output:

*** letter.ps   Tue May 11 14:50:37 2004
--- a4.ps   Tue May 11 14:51:47 2004
***************
*** 1,11 ****
  %!PS-Adobe-3.0
  %%Creator: groff version 1.19
! %%CreationDate: Tue May 11 14:50:37 2004
  %%DocumentNeededResources: font Times-Roman
  %%DocumentSuppliedResources: procset grops 1.19 0
  %%Pages: 1
  %%PageOrder: Ascend
! %%DocumentMedia: Default 612 792 0 () ()
  %%Orientation: Portrait
  %%EndComments
  %%BeginDefaults
--- 1,11 ----
  %!PS-Adobe-3.0
  %%Creator: groff version 1.19
! %%CreationDate: Tue May 11 14:51:47 2004
  %%DocumentNeededResources: font Times-Roman
  %%DocumentSuppliedResources: procset grops 1.19 0
  %%Pages: 1
  %%PageOrder: Ascend
! %%DocumentMedia: Default 595 842 0 () ()
  %%Orientation: Portrait
  %%EndComments
  %%BeginDefaults
***************
*** 185,199 ****
  }if
  %%EndResource
  %%BeginFeature: *PageSize Default
! << /PageSize [ 612 792 ] /ImagingBBox null >> setpagedevice
  %%EndFeature
  %%IncludeResource: font Times-Roman
  grops begin/DEFS 1 dict def DEFS begin/u{.001 mul}bind def end/RES 72
! def/PL 792 def/LS false def/ENC0[/asciicircum/asciitilde/Scaron/Zcaron
! /scaron/zcaron/Ydieresis/trademark/quotesingle/Euro/.notdef/.notdef
  /.notdef/.notdef/.notdef/.notdef/.notdef/.notdef/.notdef/.notdef/.notdef
  /.notdef/.notdef/.notdef/.notdef/.notdef/.notdef/.notdef/.notdef/.notdef
! /.notdef/.notdef/space/exclam/quotedbl/numbersign/dollar/percent
  /ampersand/quoteright/parenleft/parenright/asterisk/plus/comma/hyphen
  /period/slash/zero/one/two/three/four/five/six/seven/eight/nine/colon
  /semicolon/less/equal/greater/question/at/A/B/C/D/E/F/G/H/I/J/K/L/M/N/O
--- 185,199 ----
  }if
  %%EndResource
  %%BeginFeature: *PageSize Default
! << /PageSize [ 595 842 ] /ImagingBBox null >> setpagedevice
  %%EndFeature
  %%IncludeResource: font Times-Roman
  grops begin/DEFS 1 dict def DEFS begin/u{.001 mul}bind def end/RES 72
! def/PL 841.89 def/LS false def/ENC0[/asciicircum/asciitilde/Scaron
! /Zcaron/scaron/zcaron/Ydieresis/trademark/quotesingle/Euro/.notdef
  /.notdef/.notdef/.notdef/.notdef/.notdef/.notdef/.notdef/.notdef/.notdef
  /.notdef/.notdef/.notdef/.notdef/.notdef/.notdef/.notdef/.notdef/.notdef
! /.notdef/.notdef/.notdef/space/exclam/quotedbl/numbersign/dollar/percent
  /ampersand/quoteright/parenleft/parenright/asterisk/plus/comma/hyphen
  /period/slash/zero/one/two/three/four/five/six/seven/eight/nine/colon
  /semicolon/less/equal/greater/question/at/A/B/C/D/E/F/G/H/I/J/K/L/M/N/O

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