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Linux defaults to A4 paper size rather than letter. The only answer I found online was to run pdflatex with the -t flag.

$ pdflatex -t letter myfile.tex

but I get the error:

warning: Could not open char translation file `letter.tcx'.

The first line of my file is

\documentclass[margin,line]{res}

because I'm using someone else's template, found here: http://www.terpconnect.umd.edu/~briankw/resources/resume.cls.

How can I make 8.5x11 inch pdf's with latex, and still use this template?

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Sep 15 '11 at 10:36

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2 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

There's no -t option for selecting the paper format as is the case for dvips; but pdflatex knows the option -translate-file and accepts abbreviations for options, as long as they are unambiguous: thus that cryptic warning.

All TeX distributions I know of, set A4 as the default page size for PDF files generated by pdftex or pdflatex. This can be modified at installation time.

A good solution is to say

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage[pass]{geometry}

that exploits geometry's features to pass the paper size to pdflatex without modifying the standard page make up parameters. It's not necessary to say

\documentclass[letterpaper]{article}
\usepackage[pass]{geometry}

because letterpaper is a default option; but it doesn't hurt, either.

Of course, any class can be used in place of article:

\documentclass[optionone,optiontwo]{myclass}
\usepackage[pass]{geometry}

Just add the geometry line after the class declaration.

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I'm using someone else's template, so changing the \documentclass creates errors. I posted a link to the template I'm using. Maybe there's a way that I could pass "letterpaper" in. But I don't know how. –  Kevin Sep 16 '11 at 22:49
    
Just add \usepackage[pass]{geometry} after the \documentclass{resume} line. –  egreg Sep 16 '11 at 22:55
    
I usually use \usepackage{hyperref} instead of \usepackage[pass]{geometry}, for the same effect. –  Jukka Suomela Sep 16 '11 at 23:06
1  
@Jukka: hyperref has many other effects, though. Let's say that using it dispenses from loading geometry or setting the parameters shown in Count Zero's answer. –  egreg Sep 16 '11 at 23:11
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Most document classes accept options to modify the page size to fit any standard paper size, e.g.:

\documentclass[b5paper]{report}

If you convert then to PDF, it might happen that the page is typeset correctly, but the paper size is different. To avoid this, you can insert into your preamble:

\pdfpagewidth=\paperwidth
\pdfpageheight=\paperheight

This tells pdfLaTeX to match the paper and the page size.

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