Making Postscript and PDF International
RFC 2346

Document Type RFC - Informational (May 1998; No errata)
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Network Working Group                                          J. Palme
Request for Comments: 2346                     Stockholm University/KTH
Category: Informational                                        May 1998

                Making Postscript and PDF International

Status of this Memo

   This memo provides information for the Internet community.  It does
   not specify an Internet standard of any kind.  Distribution of this
   memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (1998).  All Rights Reserved.

Abstract

   Certain text formats, for example Postscript (MIME-Type:
   application/postscript; file extension .ps) and Portable Document
   Format (MIME-Type: application/pdf; file extension .pdf) specify
   exactly the page layout of the printed document. The commonly used
   paper format is different in North America and the rest of the world.
   North America uses the 'Letter' format, while the rest of the world
   mostly uses the ISO-standard 'A4' format. This means that documents
   formatted on one continent may not be easily printable on another
   continent. This memo gives advice on how to produce documents which
   are equally well printable with the Letter and the A4 formats. By
   using the advice in this document, you can put up a document on the
   Internet, which recipients can print without problem both in and
   outside North America.

   A very short summary of the advice in this document: If you are using
   U.S. Letter paper format, ensure that both the left and right margins
   are at least 21 mm (0.8 in). If you are using A4 paper format, ensure
   that both the top and bottom margins are at least 33 mm (1.3 in).

Table of Contents

   1. Introduction                                                  2
   2. Two methods for printing on different paper formats           2
      2.1 Method 1: Use wider margins                               2
      2.2 Method 2: Print with reduced size                         3
      2.3 Method 3: Buy paper in the A4 size                        4
   3. Acknowledgements                                              4
   4. Security Considerations                                       4
   5. References                                                    4

Palme                        Informational                      [Page 1]
RFC 2346        Making Postscript and PDF International         May 1998

   6. Author's Address                                              5
   7. Full Copyright Statement                                      6

1.    Introduction

   Certain text formats, for example Postscript (MIME-Type:
   application/postscript; file extension .ps) and Portable Document
   Format (MIME-Type: application/pdf;  file extension .pdf) specify
   exactly the page layout of the printed document. The commonly used
   paper format is different in North America and the rest of the world.
   North America uses the 'Letter' format, while the rest of the world
   uses the 'A4' format.

   The North American Letter format is 216 x 279 mm (8.5 x 11 in) while
   the ISO standardised A4 format is 210 x 297 mm (8.3 x 11.7 in). The
   Letter format is thus 6 mm (0.2 inches) wider, while the A4 format is
   18 mm (0.7 inches) taller.

   This means that documents formatted on one continent may not be
   printable on another continent. It is oboviously desirable that
   documents on the Internet are printable on all continents. This paper
   gives advice on how to achieve this.

   This memo is not intended for HTML documents, but the advice may be
   of value also for HTML developers in case they are using fixed-size
   graphics and fixed WIDTH sizes of objects in HTML documents.

2.    Three methods for printing on different paper formats

2.1   Method 1: Use wider margins

Paper format
you use when
converting
the document                                 Suggested minimal margins
to Postscript Paper
or PDF        orien-      Suggested change   Left   Right  Top    Bottom
              tation      of margins
------------  -----------  -----------------  -----  -----  -----  -----
A4           Portrait     Add 18 mm (0.7     20 mm  20 mm  33 mm  33 mm
             (upright,    inches) to the top 0.8"   0.8"   1.3"   1.3"
             vertical)    of page and bottom
                          of page margins

A4           Landscape    Add 18 mm (0.7     33 mm  33 mm  15 mm  15 mm
             (lying,      inches) to the     1.3"   1.3"   0.6"   0.6"
             horizontal)  left and right
                          margins

Palme                        Informational                      [Page 2]
RFC 2346        Making Postscript and PDF International         May 1998

Letter       Portrait     Add 6 mm (0.2      20 mm  26 mm  15 mm  15 mm
             (upright,    inches) to the     0.8"   1.0"   0.6"   0.6"
             vertical)    right margins

Letter       Landscape    Add 6 mm (0.2      15 mm  15 mm  21 mm  21 mm
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