Composing for a Specific Printer

PageMaker is a desktop publishing program and it therefore contains tools that allow you to position your page content far more specifically than is the case with a word processing program. One of these special functions that works almost automatically is the ability of PageMaker to display the page on the screen with exactly the same appearance as the page will have when printed. As each printer prints pages slightly differently this means that you need to tell PageMaker which printer that your are using so that it can make the same minor adjustments to the page as the printer will apply when printing.

The window that allows you to specify the printer you want the screen image to match is called the Document Setup window and it looks like this.

Document Setup window

The fields at the top of this window allow you to select the paper size and orientation and the fields in the middle of the screen allow you to set your page margins. The fields that we are most concerned with here are the two at the bottom. These fields are Target Resolution and Target Printer. By setting the values of these two fields appropriately, you can reconfigure your pages on the screen to match to the way that the pages will print at that selected resolution on the selected printer.

There are three ways that you can access this window to configure your document setup. Two of these ways involve selecting Document Setup from the File menu. If you select this option with a document open then the changes that you enter into the Document Setup window will be applied to the open document. If you select the option without any documents open, you can change the default settings that will appear in the window when you access the Document Setup screen the third way. This third method involves selecting New from the File menu to create a new document. Before the page(s) are displayed to allow you to create a new document the Document Setup window appears to allow you to select how this particular document will appear. The window will appear already filled out with the default settings so that you only need to change fields if you want to use settings other than the default.

Note that when you start a new document using templates that the Document Setup window does not appear because the template already has these settings defined in relation to the template. In order to change the settings on a document based on a template you will need to use the first of the methods of accessing the window mentioned above.


This article written by Stephen Chapman, Felgall Pty Ltd.

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