3 Replies Latest reply on Jul 28, 2011 6:24 AM by Eugene Tyson

    Choosing the right paper size for technical manuals

    Paolo Tramannoni Level 1



      I'm starting a new technical manual, and would like to avoid using the A4 size. This, because this size is not fitting well everywhere (for example, if your printer paper size is a US Letter), it is too big to avoid using a two-column layout, and it is too long to move headings to a new page too often. I would want to use a much more universal format, and one that allows for a cleaner single column format, with frequent start for a new page.


      I would also like if this paper size do not waste too much paper when cutting. My printers will most often use A0 sheets of paper. So, I wonder if there is standard preferred format for technical manuals that would allow for the smart and clean layout I indicated above, while not wasting too much of that A0 sheet.


      I admit that I like the 7.5 x 9 inches (19.05 x 22.86 cm) layout used by Apple in their Final Cut and Logic manuals. It is the right size to fit an A4 and a US Letter format. But, would it also save paper when going to the printer?


      Best regards,


        • 1. Re: Choosing the right paper size for technical manuals
          Paolo Tramannoni Level 1

          According to one of my printers, the waste of paper is irrelevant. I would like, however, to see hints from others, to see what is the best decision.




          • 2. Re: Choosing the right paper size for technical manuals
            Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

            Your printer shold tell you what size ranges work well on the sheet. My printer, for example uses a press sheet that can handle 4 9" x 12" pages comfortably on each sheet of the maximum size the press will take. going down to 8 x 10 results in no change in cost, but 7 x 9 might not fit so well on his press as it would on someone elses, so I might end up paying more because he has to run a larger sheet than really required (though he might be able to run a smaller sheet, too).


            What he is telling you is that for any size sheet of paper, the actual dimensions of the pages don't matter, it's how many pages of that size will fit on the sheet and allow the necessary gripper and copntrol strip margins, etc.  You should ask about the largest page size for the sheet, and work downward from that, then ask about the fit and whether reducing the size slightly from there would give a more efficient layout on press without sacrificing your design.

            • 3. Re: Choosing the right paper size for technical manuals
              Eugene Tyson Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              A few paper sizes come to mind that you could use but check with your printer on their thoughts as their equipment might be slightly different and they have to shave or add a mm here or there


              Monarch is (w)184mm x (h)267 mm

              Government Letter is (w)203mm x (h)267mm


              Quatro is (w)229 mm x (h)279 mm


              Keep in mind that Quatro is wider than 210 mm so it would probably come out of  B sized paper rather than A sized paper.