Page Layout in Details

This topic explains how priPrinter works and how it scales source pages to the paper sheet.

Printers, margins and printable area

Each physical printer prints on actual sheets of paper. A paper sheet has many parameters, but we will take into account only width and height. Most common sizes are Letter and A4. Almost all printers support custom paper sizes. However, printer can't print to every part of the actual sheet of paper, it needs borders for feeding paper sheets through itself or for other reasons*. Those borders are margins or hardware margins - the printer can't print there**. The rest of the page is the work area or the printable area***.

In additional to hardware margins you can define your own. Just click on the margin and drag it. You can use these margins for any reason.

Since priPrinter is a virtual printer and does not have such limitations you can print to it without margins. However you are able to specify any value in order to simulate an actual printer or to achieve special effects.

After printing from your application, priPrinter will have a set of virtual pages and it should map their contents onto the physical paper. Mapping is dependent on the currently active layout .


a)Original Layout

This is a special case. priPrinter puts one single source page onto one single paper sheet without rescaling or repositioning. The Left Top corner of the source page will be in the Left Top corner of the paper sheet. This is a key point.

Everything outside of the physical printer work area may be clipped.

The image on the left displays the physical paper sheet (Letter size) in black while the A4 source page is highlighted with a blue rectangle. As you can see the bottom part may be clipped but in this particular case it is empty.

priPrinter displays a warning when the source page is large than the destination page. If you have experience in this situation and know what are you doing, then just ignore the warning.

Since Original is designed to print the page as is, there will be no change to page scale or position.


Page Scale

In all modes, other than Original, priPrinter fits the Source page into the Destination page by scaling.

The idea is very simple - priPrinter fits the work area of the source page into the work area of the destination page. In the case of multiple pages it fits each page into a cell of a virtual grid.

The work area of the source pages is defined by margins set up in the priPrinter Configuration dialog. By default these values are set to 0. It means that the whole page is available for printing. However it may be a little confusing at first. For example MS Word has its own Page Setup dialog with its own margins. These margins are not passed to the printer and can't be detected with 100% accuracy - priPrinter still thinks that the page margins are 0. You can fix this in two ways:

1. Open priPrinter Configuration Dialog  and specify the same margins as in MS Word. After printing to priPrinter you will be able to see these margins in the page tooltip. Red rectangle displays the area visible in the print preview area.

2. It's possible to autocrop pages. This option is ON by default.

3. You may crop pages with priPrinter - manually or via a theme.

The rest of this tutorial explains how scaling works in different layouts.

b) One page Layout

In this mode priPrinter inserts the work area of the source page into the work area of physical printer. Because of that, the page can be printed with some offset and rescaling. When the source area is large, it scales down in order to fit the smaller work area of the physical page. When the source area is smaller, it scales up. Usually some rescaling is used by priPrinter to achieve the best fit onto the actual sheet of paper being printed. You can examine the rescaling amount by resting your mouse pointer in the margin of the priPrinter preview page and reading the tooltip. Also, you can specify an exact value in the Page Scale Dialog. For example 100% means that page will be printed exactly as is. In this case, if your printer has some hardware limits some clipping may occur.

You can't change physical margins - it's a hardware limitation, however you can define logical margins. So priPrinter will insert the page into a new work area. Please see image below.

One Page Layout

Let's see what we can do when you are unhappy with the page scale factor. In the diagram above, the work area of the source page is projected into the work area of the paper sheet. Using the default setting, when the size of the source page is equal to the size of the paper sheet, pages will be scaled down. It happens because of different priPrinter and physical printer margins. It can be corrected in different ways:

1. Specifying the same borders as in your physical printer.
2. Locking page scale factor to 100%
3.  Defining zero size margins for physical printer.

c) N x N Layout

Everything works almost in the same way as in the previous case. The difference is – each page is inserted into a virtual table grid. The size of each cell depends on the number of virtual pages on to each physical sheet, margins and separators.  Margins and separators are editable using the mouse, or you can open the page layout dialog and type in the exact values you want to use.

N x N Page Layout

If you need to scale to a different size, you may reduce the margins or separators, or you can crop the source pages or specify custom scaling.

d) Booklet

Again, it works in the same way as with one page or N x N Layouts, however with booklets the gutter is taken into account. The gutter can be horizontal or vertical. It can be zero sized or you can drag it to any amount you wish. The first page of your job can be used as the cover page if you wish. You are free to change this choice in Booklet options.

Booklet Layout

Each booklet virtual page may have one physical page or you can subdivide it in the same way as in N x N layout.


Using gutters in single sided mode is very similar to extending the margin. However in double sided mode gutters instruct priPrinter how to print the back side of the paper sheet. You may change the gutter from left to top and the back side will be changed in order to reflect the changed layout.

In booklet mode possible options for gutter are: Vertical or Horizontal.


* Basically a hardware printer can't print very close to the edge of the page just because ink or toner can pollute or hurt the printer mechanism.

** Of course you may try to specify another paper size and force the printer to print in the unprintable hardware margins but it's kind of tricky. We recommend that you don’t do this as it may cause damage to your printer.

*** There are some models on the market which can print without borders. This is borderless mode. In most cases there is a downside. The speed may be slow, or duplex mode may be not available.



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