I'm writing my dissertation in LaTeX, and we're required to submit a paper copy and a PDF copy. For the paper copy, I'm using:


\usepackage[top=2cm, bottom=3cm, left=1cm, right=1cm]{geometry}

...so that it can be printed double-sided and bound with the correct margins.

But for the PDF copy, would you comment out the bindingoffset so that the document is "symmetrical"?

Forgetting about what my organisation's rules might be, are there any guidelines for creating both a digital and a paper copy?

  • Personally, I'd not only remove the binding offset, but also (most of) the margins, so that the resulting pdf is more ebook-reader-friendly. And maybe I'd made another, screen-friendly version with landscape orientation.
    – mbork
    Mar 10, 2012 at 11:55
  • Using Ghostscript to crop all pages of the PDF should be a good way of turning the PDF meant for printing into the digital version you want without so much white space. Perhaps this can help: stackoverflow.com/questions/6183479/…
    – qubyte
    Mar 10, 2012 at 12:04

1 Answer 1


You can try the below minimal. Un-comment the \setboolean{ForPrinting} line to set it for printing. It optimizes the document for screen printing. You may need to do some minor adjustments to suit your geometry for the actual paper publication.


%% UNCOMMENT the next line for a PRINT-OPTIMIZED VERSION of the text %%

%% Initialize values to ForPrinting=false
\newcommand{\Margins}{hmarginratio=1:1}     % Symmetric margins
\newcommand{\HLinkColor}{blue}              % Hyperlink color

%% Re-set if ForPrinting=true
  \renewcommand{\Margins}{hmarginratio=2:3} % Asymmetric margins
  \renewcommand{\HLinkColor}{black}         % Hyperlink color
  }{% If ForPrinting=false, don't skip to recto

  pdftitle={Your book title here},
  pdfauthor={Yiannis Lazarides},
  pdfkeywords={maths, table of equations},
  pdfstartview=Fit,    % default value
  pdfstartpage=1,      % default value
  pdfpagemode=UseNone, % default value
  bookmarks=true,      % default value
  linktocpage=false,   % default value

% Re-crop screen-formatted version, accommodating wide displays
  {\hypersetup{pdfpagescrop= 0 30 612 765}}


A short-cut is to download calibre-ebooks and do automatic conversions using it. You can reformat the PDF for all sort of readers.

  • What is the advantage of insisting on using (at least) such an old version of geometry? Were features you are using only introduced then..?
    – jon
    Mar 10, 2012 at 16:42
  • @jon This is from an old publication of mine. Should work with current versions as well. Also I used ifthen, there are better ways to do it now. The perils of cut and paste. If you fix it will you please edit my post and update it? Mar 10, 2012 at 16:46
  • My comment was only that it did not seem like there was an advantage to loading packages of at least such and such a date since the features you were using were (probably, but I am not sure) older than those dates. That said, I think the answer is fine for the question: easy to understand, and easy to implement.
    – jon
    Mar 11, 2012 at 18:12

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