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When rendering documents in LaTeX, the document class determines the sizes of page borders etc. I do not want to change them.

However, during the editing process, one usually looks at a file only on screen. In these situations, all the white space around the actual content is a waste of screen space. Now some PDF viewers have a "zoom to content" feature, but even easier would be if the page borders simply were not there.

Of course I could use the geometry package to set the page borders to, say, 0.3mm, but that would change the whole page layout (e.g., make textwidth and textheight bigger). Of course I could further fiddle around to fix all of that until it works out again the way it originally was, but it would be a lot of work, and I would have to manually do this for every different article class, etc.

If this is at all possible it would be great to have a "universal" automatic solution instead: A simple command I add somewhere in the preamble which will "cut off" (most of) the page borders but leave everything else unchanged.

As long as I edit on screen I could leave this command active, and as soon as I want to render the final version of the PDF, I could out-comment it to get the page borders back.

Ideally this should work with all (or many) document classes.

Is there any hope to achieve such a thing? It would simplify screen editing quite a bit.

  • Probably not exactly what you're after, but you could run pdfcrop filename.pdf after compiling, to generate filename-crop.pdf with all whitespace along the edges cropped away. – Torbjørn T. Dec 17 '15 at 14:47
  • That works, but adds about 10 seconds of compilation time on my PC. A TeX-based solution should be much more effective. – rmh Dec 17 '15 at 15:02
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This here should normally work fine if you use geometry anyway:

\documentclass[12pt,a4paper]{book}
\usepackage{lipsum}
\usepackage[]{geometry}

\geometry{paperwidth=\dimexpr\textwidth+3mm,
          paperheight=\dimexpr\textheight+3mm,
          margin=1.5mm}


\begin{document}
\lipsum 
\end{document}

There can be a small rounding difference, but for drafts it shouldn't matter. (You can naturally adapt the border to include e.g. the head and footer)

  • 1
    Thanks. At first it looked good, but then I noticed that it changes where TeX puts pagebreaks, I ended up getting 4 more pages than before (on a 47 page document). – rmh Dec 17 '15 at 15:14
  • Did you previously used geometry? If not you should load it e.g. with \usepackage[textwidth=\textwidth,textheight=\textheight]{geometry} or it will change the layout. – Ulrike Fischer Dec 17 '15 at 15:19
  • Indeed, that was it! Just inserting the line \usepackage[textwidth=\textwidth,textheight=\textheight]{geometry}\geometry{paperwidth=\dimexpr\textwidth+8mm, paperheight=\dimexpr\textheight+8mm,margin=4mm} right before \begin{document} seems to do exactly what I want. Thanks a lot! – rmh Dec 17 '15 at 15:29

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