When I render a document with XeLaTeX on A4 paper and try to print it with the Mac PDF Preview app, scaling is automatically set to 96% to make the document fit the paper.

Hello world

When I open A4-sized PDFs created with other software and print them with PDF Preview, no scaling is applied (100%).

Neither of the two techniques in this answer help.

2 Answers 2


Mac preview has the annoying habit to automatically scale down pages. To switch this off, enter

defaults write com.apple.Preview PVImagePrintingScaleMode 0

in terminal.

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  • That doesn't help if you're producing documents for other people to view. My solution produces documents that aren't scaled on anybody's Mac.
    – AndreKR
    Aug 29, 2017 at 10:56

This prevents the Mac PDF Preview app from offering any scaling:


I uncompressed the resulting PDFs with pdftk test.pdf output uc.pdf uncompress.

It turned out that \documentclass[a4paper]{article} leads to /MediaBox [0 0 595.28 841.89], which causes the Preview app to offer to scale down to 96% by default.

Next I tried \usepackage[paperheight=297mm,paperwidth=210mm]{geometry}, which leads to the exact same result.

Then I tried \usepackage[paperheight=296mm,paperwidth=209mm]{geometry}. This gives /MediaBox [0 0 592.44 839.06], but the Preview app still wants to scale down to 96%, even though the document is actually 1mm smaller than the A4 paper to be printed on!

I found only one format that leads to no scaling and that is /MediaBox [0 0 595 842], that is in LaTeX:


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