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Scale your PDF pages with PDF Tools and docPrint

When we read or print a PDF file, we will find that the file isn't always satisfying us. For example, the page margins are too small or large, the content is displayed offsetting from the center of the page, and some part of the content is truncated on one side of the paper. This time we need to adjust the PDF page size and its content placement to meet our requirement, which may also be called "Scale PDF file" in some application.

Scaling is normally done in a program's Page Setup dialog, but the trend with modern software, especially in Adobe, is to roll Page Setup functions into the Print dialog. But someone may say it seems you don't need to do any of that adjusting when you create a PDF, because the PDF converter can figure out the page size on its own, and a PDF is supposed to be an exact (unscaled) replica of the document. It doesn't make a difference if the PDF is too large to print to your or your recipient's printer. Once they open it in Reader 6 or Acrobat 6 and choose Print, they can turn on "Scale to Page" in the Print dialog. If the PDF has crops and other printers marks, those are taken into account, as well as the printer's minimal margin area. They even get a nice little preview of the first page of the document showing them exactly how it's going to fit.

If you send a PDF file to some people who don't know how to use Adobe Reader's Print dialog other than the Print dialog, you need to do it beforehand yourself. It's just easier to send some people a PDF you know will fit their letter-size printer, crops and all, without their having to scale anything.

If the PDF is going to be placed in another document created with who-knows-what software that may not be able to scale it, and the document size doesn't match the size they want PDF to be (such as a slightly smaller display ad), we still need scale it first. 

If you open the PDF with Adobe Reader 3, 4, or 5. In those earlier versions, you can't scale from the Print dialog, you have to do it from the Page Setup dialog beforehand. Even if the recipient knows that, there's no "Scale to Page" command in Reader's Page Setup dialogs -- just a field where you enter a scaling amount and hope it'll work.

Here, in this page, we have the easiest way to do it by using the software from Inc, one is Advanced PDF Tools, the other is docPrint (Pro). Compared with Adobe 5 or 6, they are smaller in size and easier to use. Advanced PDF Tools is a special software to edit or add data to PDFs, setting open action, page layout, page size, page margin, page orientation, metadata, optimize for the web (linearize), compression and others into your existing PDF files. But docPrint is a common software to dynamically convert MS Office 97/2000/XP/2003, WordPerfect, AutoCAD DWG, PostScript, Adobe Acrobat PDF and many other document types to Adobe Acrobat PDF, PostScript, JPEG, TIFF, PNG, PCX and BMP etc formats. Both Advanced PDF Tools and docPrint can scale the paper, but the former can directly change the page size and content size of the original file or save the change to a replica of the document, and the latter is a virtual printer and can scale the paper into a suitable print output only when you want to print it, for example, when we want to print a web page the web page is cropped on the right side.

Before we get to the point, we first distinguish three kinds of size of PDF files, page size, paper size and page content size, because they are often mixed with each other. Page size is defined in the source application's Document Setup dialog box for your document and paper size is the size of the sheet of paper, piece of film, or area of the printing plate you'll print on.  We can't change a paper size when we have chosen a kind of paper, such as A4, B5 and  Letter. But the page size can be scaled according to the paper size. If width and height are scaled 100% to the paper size, the page size equals to paper size. So, many tools do not separate the page size and paper size, like Advanced PDF Tools, but here in order to explain how to resize, we tell them apart. Page content is the text, graphics, and images included in the files. Usually the page content is in the center of the page, so the page content size is smaller than the page size in width and height. We call page margin to refer to the space between the edge of page and content.

Advanced PDF Tools can be download from After installing the software, you can open a PDF file to change its page size and content size in the "Pages" panel. This tool is especially useful for scaling the contents of documents that do not print correctly because their margins are too small.

For example, after you open a PDF file, you can change its paper size by choosing a size in the list box right to "Change page size". (Note: The page size here refers to paper size though they are different).

In "Change page info" panel, choose a kind of paper or customize a paper size for the page. Then click "Change" button on the bottom of the tool, the file you pick in the source file list can be changed to the file in the destination file list.

These are pictures comparing the unchanged page and the changed page.





This is the original page size (i.e., paper size) This is the scaled page size with width 50% and height 50% to the paper size.

From the picture we can get that reducing the page size will not change the page content, which just help us trim the edge of the page. The more you scale, the large you trim from the left-bottom space. The page size can be enlarged like the following:





This is the original page size (i.e., paper size) This is a scaled page size with width 200% and height 200% to the paper size.

If we need a correct page, we should adjust the content size as well as the page size, e.g. place the content to the center of the page or to the left to prepare some space to write comments. In Advanced PDF Tools, the "Page content" box in Page panel can help you reach the aim.

Open a PDF file, scale its content to another file. You can compare the following two picture,

This is the unchanged page content size and unchanged page size. This is the unchanged page size, but the page content is customized to width 50% and height 50% to the original size, with 23pt x-offset and 90pt y-offset.

The example shows both page size and content size can be changed together to get a suitable print.

The software above is Advanced PDF Tools GUI version, if you are used to using the command line, you can use the command line version to get the resulting. For example, you can use the following command to scale the page size and content size.

Change page size


pdftools -i "C:\input.pdf" -o "C:\output.pdf" -x "llx lly urx ury"    

where the parameter "llx lly urx ury" is a form of rectangles, which is described in remark one.
Rectangles are used to describe locations on a page and bounding boxes for a variety of objects, such as fonts. A rectangle is written as an array of four numbers giving the coordinates of a pair of diagonally opposite corners. Typically, the array takes the form [ll
x lly urx ury]
specifying the lower-left x, lower-left y, upper-right x, and upper-right y coordinates of the rectangle, in that order. The other two corners of the rectangle are
then assumed to have coordinates (llx, ury) and (urx, lly).
Usually there are three size unit such as point (pt), inch (in), millimeter (mm). Point size can be converted to inch like point/72=inch, and point to millimeter like point/72*25.4=millimeter. For example, the 595.5pt can be 8.27in or 210.06mm by calculating as:



set page scale

pdftools -i "C:\input.pdf" -o "C:\output.pdf" -z "90 110"    

means set page width to 90% of primary page width, and page height to 110% of primary page height.


Set custom page content scale


pdftools -i "C:\input.pdf" -o "C:\output.pdf" -j "60% 70% true"    

where the first parameter means to set page content to 60% of the page width and the second parameter to 70% of the page height, and the third parameter is a Boolean type value to set whether to center on page. 


You can also use

pdftools -i "C:\input.pdf" -o "C:\output.pdf" -j "60 70 true"     

to set page content, where 60 and 70 are not scales, but the real size of the content. If you use -x to set page size, you can use -j to scale to fit the page by using the last two parameters of -x, e.g.

pdftools -i "C:\input.pdf" -o "C:\output.pdf" -x "0 0 595.5 842.25"  -j "595.5 842.25 true"    


pdftools -i "C:\input.pdf" -o "C:\output.pdf" -x "0 0 595.5 842.25"  -j "50% 100% true"    


Change page margin size


pdftools -i "C:\input.pdf" -o "C:\output.pdf" "-#" "25"    

to set the page margin 25 pt.


Change margin offset


pdftools -i "C:\input.pdf" -o "C:\output.pdf" "-~" "20,30"   

where the first parameter is x-offset and the next y-offset.

Another tool is docPrint. The docPrint and docPrint Pro are two virtual printer products, and it can eliminate text truncation problems by scaling the paper size. Before you print the file, be sure you have installed docPrint.

Go to the Page Setup item in the file menu of your browser and choose a larger paper size, such as A3. Your browser will have a larger area on which to print and docPrint will scale it to fit on your letter size paper. This can be done with any application where the size of the content exceeds that of the paper. Spreadsheets, CAD output, data flow diagrams, etc. can be scaled to fit on a single sheet with docPrint.

For example, the content on the very right of the web page can't be shown,

Click "File Page Setup" in the application, choose the paper size "A3", click "OK", then select "File" -> "Print", choose "docPrint" and click "Print". The file appears in the docPrint working field.

This time the whole page can be shown. There are two ways to set the printing paper size. The one is to click "File" -> "Print" -> "Properties..." -> "Advanced...", then you can choose a smaller size such as "A4", "B5", "Letter" and so on to print. Another one is to click "File" -> "Print Setup" to directly choose the paper size.

Advanced PDF Tools Command Line Home page.


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