When I use the beamer class, the resulted pdf document has very small pages:

What can I do in order to create A4 sized slides?

The beginning of the latex document is:


The reported size in adobe reader is 5.04" x 3.78"

  • This is a trick of the beamer class to let the font appear bigger on screen. Why do you need A4 sized slides? Jan 26, 2011 at 19:09
  • Most presumably, the slides will be printed by the students.
    – lmsasu
    Jan 26, 2011 at 19:16
  • The class offers a »handout« mode. This way you can produce several versions of your presentation. One for the screen and one for paper. Jan 26, 2011 at 19:20
  • The reported size is the same for handout as before :(
    – lmsasu
    Jan 26, 2011 at 19:31

4 Answers 4


If you want to distribute the slides, just print them to a PDF and scale the pages. Then you can distribute a version with 4 slides on a page, e.g. You can do this from within your favourite PDF viewer, or use the pgfpages package. The beamer documentation section 4.6 outlines these techniques.

  • My beamer manual for v3.10 doesn't has a section 4.6 and only mentions pdfpages for including whole slides from an external PDF file. Which version do you have? Jan 26, 2011 at 19:46
  • Inded, in adobe reader one has to set: page scaling = fit to printable area, check auto-rotate and center and uncheck choos paper source by pdf page size.
    – lmsasu
    Jan 26, 2011 at 19:49
  • Found it: You mean the pgfpages package, not pdfpages. I found also 4.6 :-) Stupid me! Jan 26, 2011 at 19:58

To rescale to A4, I use (copied from the above-mentioned beamer manual)

\pgfpagesuselayout{resize to}[a4paper,landscape,border shrink=5mm]

To make handouts (4 slides on one page), also on A4 paper, I use (from section 21.1 of the beamer manual, slightly changed)

\pgfpagesuselayout{4 on 1}[a4paper,landscape,border shrink=5mm]

Here is a working solution based on pgfpages:


\pgfpagesdeclarelayout{1 on A4}
    logical pages=1,%
    physical height=\pgfpageoptionheight,%
    physical width=\pgfpageoptionwidth%
    border shrink=\pgfpageoptionborder,%
    resized width=\pgfphysicalwidth,%
    resized height=\pgfphysicalheight,%
\pgfpagesuselayout{1 on A4}[a4paper,landscape]

There might be a way to put the a4paper,landscape options into the layout declaration, but I cannot find it now.

Regards, Martin

  • setting the printer option to 2x2 pages should do the same with any additional code
    – user2478
    Jan 26, 2011 at 20:08
  • 3
    He could just create a normal handout and select 'scale to fit' at the printer options, but apparently he doesn't want that because he doesn't trust the students with it. Scaling it to A4 while creating the PDF is more foolproof. Jan 26, 2011 at 20:12
  • 1
    Another aspect of handout mode which is good for teaching classes (not so much for talks) is you can leave stuff out of handout mode. Like solutions to examples or jokes. That way your class adds value to the handout. :-) Jan 26, 2011 at 20:44

read section "8.3 Frame and Margin Sizes" in the documentation for possible frame sizes. It is not only 5.04" x 3.78"

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