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So we are setting up a printable coupon page (using a print media query in css) which gives you a good bit of flexibility but it got me wondering; how often are people printing pages outside of 8.5 x 11? Everything on the modern web revolves around responsive layouts, but if printed pages are always at this size are we safe setting up these stylesheets to be static? I know in Europe they use something close to letter size but not quite, but we are still talking about a very similar aspect ratio and width. Anyways would love to hear thoughts on this.

  • It's not just Europe - it's the whole world apart from USA & Canada that use the International Standard paper sizes. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A4_paper#A_series (Why on earth USA resists this elegant and far more usable system is probably another question... ;-) – edeverett Aug 5 '14 at 14:10
  • Kind of disappointed with the 'answers' so far, I used 8.5x11 as an example, I even acknowledged that other countries use different sizes, but for the large part it's about the same. Seems that A4 is slightly narrower and longer than 8.5x11 but not by much. This leads me to believe that we can depend on the printed page being somewhere in this range regardless of demographic. I think there are definite advantages to having a set size for your medium, I notice a lot of printed stuff tends to try to cramp all the content on to one or a few pages, and they ought to be. Interested to hear more – user24102 Aug 5 '14 at 14:34
  • Do browsers/print dialogues even render print pages responsively? – edeverett Aug 5 '14 at 14:48
  • "there are definite advantages to having a set size for your medium" but there isn't a set size for this medium. How do you know what size people will be printing at? How do you know what print scaling people will use? e.g. 100%, 150%, shrink to fit. – Dave Haigh Aug 5 '14 at 14:58
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how often are people printing pages outside of 8.5 x 11?

I have never printed at 8.5 x 11. I assume this is a U.S. paper size and is in inches.

I print at A4, it is the standard printer size in the UK. It is 210mm x 297mm.

Don't try to assume what sizes people are printing at, instead make your print styles flexible enough to cater for everyone (including me).

Anyway, people can always change the print size (in percentage) to make your page fit to whatever size paper they have anyway. Try not to limit the amount of people your print stylesheet will be useful for.

There are basic rules to bear in mind when styling for print. Some advice here:

How To Set Up A Print Style Sheet: http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2011/11/24/how-to-set-up-a-print-style-sheet/

  • I agree, I want to share something to consider nevertheless: The long side of Letter and the sort side of A4 paper constitute a rectangle 28 cm × 21 cm, which has an aspect ratio of 4:3. You can use that size as a common denominator if you want or need to design for a fixed page, but be sure to leave inner margins (i.e. padding) where nothing needs to be printed. (PS: 11 inches are actually closer to 279 mm – transposed last digits, easy to remember.) – Crissov Oct 7 '15 at 15:16

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