I created a LaTeX document with a header and converted it to PDF with luatex. When I open the document with a PDFviewer (I tried Acrobat and pdf exchange editor) and try to print it, the PDF viewers think the margins are too small and the document goes over the printable range. The standard option is set to shrink the document to fit the printable range. However, if I print it without shrinking, nothing gets cut off.

How do the pdf viewers decide how big the printed area of the page is? Is there some meta information that LaTeX creates that I can adjust somewhere?

  • 2
    Welcome into site TeX.SE! Can you add your code thus we see the possible problem?
    – Sebastiano
    Dec 11, 2018 at 15:53
  • Welcome to TeX.SX! Please help us help you and add a minimal working example (MWE) that illustrates your problem. Reproducing the problem and finding out what the issue is will be much easier when we see compilable code, starting with \documentclass{...} and ending with \end{document}.
    – dexteritas
    Dec 12, 2018 at 16:06
  • It turned out that my problem is due to the pdf format and not to the tex code to make it (see my own answer). So it is not actually a tex/ latex question at all. I just didn't know that when I posted my question.
    – quarague
    Dec 12, 2018 at 16:24
  • I dunno how to re-open the question. Sorry if my editing does not match your intention. I tried to make it 'fit the rules of the help center' in order to be able to answer it. But I can only answer if it is re-opened. Dec 20, 2018 at 23:39
  • A (short) answer without any visualization by a screenshot is this: PDF internally has a set of boxes defined (most of which are optional), which are nested inside each other. The most important is the (outmost) MediaBox, representing the paper size if the page is printed. However, there may also be CropBox, ArtBox, BleedBox and TrimBox. In your case, most likely the 'CropBox' is at work. This box determines that part of the page that is viewable and printable. Every viewer and every printer will put only this part of the outmost 'MediaBox' on screen or on paper. Dec 20, 2018 at 23:44

1 Answer 1


After looking into this some more I found that pdf files seem to assume/ require fairly large margins. While most printers can print up to arround 0.5 cm margin pdf readers assume a minimal margin of around 1.5 cm.

For the tex document I can either adjust the margins so that the pdf readers are satisfied or ignore the warning and then print with or without shrinking.

Edit: Clarification for the comment below. The shrinking/ margin issues only appear when you try to print the document. As long as you look at it on your screen, it will display fine, even if the document goes all the way to the paper margins. Take a pdf document that only has 0.5cm margins, try to print it and the print options will try to either shrink or believe the printer will cut off the margins.

Here is a small example:

\usepackage[a4paper, margin=0.5cm]{geometry}




Edit2: After some browsing on stack exchange I found these two related questions:Prevent scaling of printout of PDF without using hyperref and PDFs want to scale down. This seems to be a known issue of the pdf format and the acrobat reader and there are tex ways around it.

  • 1
    Sorry, your answer to your own question is wrong. I can easily create a PDF for you with a margin of close to zero millimeters which every PDF reader worth its salt will display correctly and will NOT assume a minmal margin of around 1.5 cm. Sorry, I had to downvote the answer, because it is plain wrong. (To compensate, I upvoted your question itself -- it is interesting enough to be answered correctly.) Dec 20, 2018 at 23:33
  • I un-downvoted now -- even though I do not (yet) fully understand your problem from how you explained it. -- I'll try to give my answer(s) anyway within the next few days, but these will be put into a wider context. Dec 21, 2018 at 9:35

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