A standard practice when ordering printing is receiving a “proof,” a version of your job to make sure everything is as you want it. A proof used to be a printed “hard copy” sample, but today it is more commonly a PDF file that we email to you. This gives you the chance to see the piece, maybe print it out on your printer and double check everything.
A frequent question that comes up is about size:
“Will this be the size I ordered? It looks larger (or smaller) than I thought.”
“The spacing seems to be off from the edges. The margins are too big.”
This is often because of a setting in Adobe Acrobat Reader, the program that opens and prints your PDF proof. Acrobat Reader has a feature in the Print dialog box called “Fit to Page.” This feature is checked on by default so that whatever you print will print using your printer’s dimensions. This can be useful when you’re checking a poster or other large piece and want it to see the whole piece printed on a smaller letter-sized sheet. If you want to make proofing smaller type easier, like a small business card enlarged to fill a page, “Fit to Page” will do that for you.
But “Fit to Page” will alter the size of anything being printed, even a letter-sized piece on letter-sized paper. This is because Acrobat Reader is not looking at the sheet size, but rather the Print Area on that sheet. Printers don’t print fully from one side to the other or one end to the other; they all have a small margin where they cannot print. So the Print Area of a standard 8.5” x 11” sheet may only be 7.99” x 10.34.” The actual Print Area depends on the printer.
Different versions of programs may use a slightly different name (Shrink to Fit, Fit to Printable Area, etc...), but they all will change the size of your piece according to your printer’s dimensions.
The answer to seeing the correct size is to uncheck the “Fit to Page” option.
And, of course, we will always be happy to provide you with a "hard copy" proof.