Creating a PDF at the Right Output Size and Dimensions

Most of us are familiar with typical document sizes such as letter (8.5″ by 11″), legal (8.5″ by 14″) and ledger/tabloid (11″ by 17″).

A recent email I received made me realize that not everyone knows how to actually format their documents to match:

I have the attached document that I need to output at 14 inches wide by 14 inches high. When I print to PDF, there is not a choice for this. I’ve attached the Word file so you can take a look . . .

When I opened the document, I realized that the document was set to Letter size in landscape orientation (11″ by 8.5″). I was able to work with the customer to find a solution, so I thought I would share it here.

Setting the Page Size in Microsoft Office

If you are using an Office application, such as Word, Excel or PowerPoint, you should create and edit your document at the desired print dimensions. That way, your editing process will reflect the physical page size.

When you change the page size in Word, the layout will adjust automatically and text will reflow.

Here’s how to change the page size of a document in Word. This is for Office 2013, but 2007 and 2010 versions are substantially identical.

  1. Go to the Page Layout Ribbon in Word
  2. Click the Size button
  3. 001_Word_ribbon
  4. Choose More Page Sizes at the bottom
    https://blog.adobe.com/media_cb60c9a4b88ddde8afbfda22f270e961fefb8411.gif
  5. Enter your desired page size and click OK
    https://blog.adobe.com/media_bf73b64c4733603c806bd162bf2b89d58434697d.gif
  6. Click the Acrobat ribbon in Word
  7. Click Create PDF
    https://blog.adobe.com/media_0b88f565a11d994f1a2fc3e3e32688f2235e5586.gif

Checking the Page Size in Acrobat

Acrobat will convert the document to the exact page size specified in Word.

Here’s how to check. With the file open . . .

  1. File> Properties
  2. Click the Description tab
    https://blog.adobe.com/media_85cd0a7c5cbbf01ec7c0c2c4989380e6c6d99ac2.gif
  3. The PDF Page size is listed:
    https://blog.adobe.com/media_2fa35d31367988810102d76ad7ce2d9474b16317.gif

Using the PDF Printer and Preserving Page Size

Maintaining page size is tricker when printing via the AdobePDF printer. For example, when I created a 5.25 X 7.25 custom page size and printed to the PDF printer, the output looked like this:

https://blog.adobe.com/media_1b8e8552ff43f805a55b1b7667a4e14a0d05a2ea.gif

It is possible to maintain the PDF page size by creating a custom page size for the PDF Printer. Here’s how . . .

  1. Create your document in the tool of your choice and make note of the page size
  2. Choose File>Print
  3. Select the AdobePDF Printer
  4. Click the Settings option for the Adobe PDF Printer
    Note: The labeling and position of this option will vary depending upon the application used
  5. In the Adobe PDF Document Properties window, click the Add button . . .
    https://blog.adobe.com/media_1b9bda54fb8ea39f2168bdf8ec4ad049a7ac1e3a.gif
  6. Give the new page size a name
  7. Set the dimensions of the new page size and click Add/Modigy
    https://blog.adobe.com/media_6f2dd215b41552bc1146322de3a657dbdd50a91c.gif
  8. Choose the new page size from the Adobe PDF Page Size menu and click OK.
    https://blog.adobe.com/media_0ecb730a5e09b5ad26620809795aaa10713d8c44.gif
  9. Print the document. The results should match the page size:
    https://blog.adobe.com/media_2accee5f6570164ad383eb62022779388474cba1.gif

Note: Word and other applications may complain about margins and paper size when you go to print.. You can ignore these issues.

In my testing, the page size setting wasn’t “sticky”, at least in Word. That’s probably a good thing since I think most of us create standard letter-size and other documents.