Pascal's TechBlog

Monday, June 19, 2006

Globally Compatible Paper Size

One of the reasons I dislike country's like the US of A is because they keep on clamping to their own medieval (and illogical) standards, for example, they haven't accepted the metric system there yet, the Inch and Mile are still the standard measure of distance.

The same thing goes for paper standards, almost the whole world has embraced ISO 216 and standardized on A4. But not the US, no, no... They still keep on using their Letter format.

When exporting documents to PDF for distribution, this raises issues. As both formats are incompatible with each other. A4 has more height, and Letter has more width. So when printing either of the formats to the other on paper implies the document gets scaled (best case) or the margins get cropped (worst case).

So I'm proposing a solution to this debacle which is quite simple: create your documents using the lowest common denominator of the paper metrics. This means using the width of A4 and the height of Letter: 210mm x 279mm.

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