How to expressly set the Impress print Paper Size?

Goal: Use LibreOffice Impress to create a slide deck printed on 3x5 cards. Such a slide desk could also be “printed” to PDF for use on a mobile phone.

Issue: The “Suggested Paper” shows up as “US Letter” instead of “3 x 5” in the File > Print > Paper Handling dialog on macOS. Further, LibreOffice Impress does not provide the “Page Attributes” > “Paper Size” control which is generally part of the standard macOS applications.

Question: Is it possible to expressly set the “Paper Size” in Impress to a size which the selected printer supports? If yes, then how? (Can the Impress print “Paper Size” be set on other platforms, but not on macOS?)

Configuration: LibreOffice, macOS 11.6.4, locale: en-US


LibreOffice Impress print menu


Apple Keynote print menu


Apple Keynote print dialog: Page Attributes section


Why you not use the PDF export feature of the LibreOffice (instead of the printing)?

@Zizi64 Thanks. Yes… a PDF export can provide a reliable workflow to get a printed card deck on the correct paper size and with the expected content scaling.

In my use case, the primary objective is only to have the printed card deck (usually not requiring any PDF). So, the Impress to PDF to printer workflow has more steps than “just printing”.

One extra step is the addition of the intermediate PDF file.

Another extra step is that the exported PDF print dialog defaults to Scale to Fit at 92%. The default then requires a manual change to Scale at 100% each time.


An ability to expressly set the Print… paper size would (a) be more productive and (b) better aligned with a general user’s expected Print… controls.

Thus, an export to PDF is a solid work-around. Yet, I would still like to know whether it is “possible to expressly set the Print… Paper Size in Impress?” on any supported platform.

I think the question is: Is it possible to expressly set the “Paper Size” in a printer driver?

Some printer drivers allow User defined sizes, some don’t. I am not speaking from a Mac point of view and stand to be corrected but on my Windows system with an Impress file open and paper size set to 7.62 mm (3") x 12.7 mm (5") I get on different printers:

  • Windows print to PDF - smallest paper size A5. (Hacking registry apparently can create a user defined size)
  • Bullzip PDF - a huge selection of sizes, not including 3x5, but User defined which I can set in the printer driver. It is then available for other future print to pdf operations from other programs once entered.
  • Brother MFC-J6945DW - Immediately offers me the smallest User-defined setting of 89 mm x 127 mm (3.5’ x 5") but 89 mm is smallest width it can print

The width limitation in the last point is an important consideration.

Maybe consideration should be given to 4 slides to a sheet of standard size paper. This solves the not-yet-addressed issue of printing margins, but it would require cutting after printing. Cheers, Al

@EarnestAl Interesting refinement to the question. Based on your observations, I would update the question as follows:

Is it possible to expressly set the Print… Paper Size to a size supported by the selected printer?

In otherwords, this is not so much the printer software driver per se, but rather the printer. On macOS, associated PostScript Printer Description (PPD) file describes the features and capabilities of the print device.

In my case, I have an HP Tango which directly supports a 3x5 card size. Thus, it’s not a “user defined” size from the printer perspective. Instead, it’s a direct choice from the supported sizes of the selected printer. (Happily, the HP prints 3x5s without any paper cutting :slight_smile: )

LibreOffice Impress print, on macOS, does provide direct selection of selected printer supported page sizes. This is somewhat surprising since other macOS applications (e.g. Apple Keynote) provide a standard printer Paper Size selection menu. See the print dialog: Page Attributes section of the question.

Can you directly selection any of the sizes which Brother MFC-J6945DW supports on Windows in Impress for printing? (I’m curious if this is just a lacking/obscure feature on macOS or if this is an overall Impress constraint.)

Yes, I can select the size for Brother. If I change the slide size to 102 mm x 112 mm, the Brother selects the closest paper size it knows, 102 x 127 (4x5)

I also tested on HP 9010 which offers exact size 76 mm x 127 mm in the drop-down Paper Size selection but I had to select it manually.

No for Microsoft print to PDF, it defaults to A4 and in the Paper size selection offers only the 10 built in standard sizes: Letter, Tabloid, Legal, Statement, Executive, A3, A4, A5, B4, B5. Note that this is a printer driver limitation, the printer does not exist physically.

My thoughts are that it depends on the printer. Also, that Writer is designed for printing and forwards just the one paper size while Impress’s main purpose is display on a screen.

Yes, I can select the size for Brother.

Excellent screen capture. Thanks.

The screen capture clearly shows that the LibreOffice Impress print dialog on Windows provides the user with the controls to choose the Page Layout, Paper size and Orientation available on the printer.

… it depends on the printer.


Also, the “Microsoft Print to PDF” can be considered a virtual (non-physical) printer. There is information on the internet which discusses how to modify the “Microsoft Print to PDF” Generic Printer Description (GPD) file to add custom page sizes.

… Writer is designed for printing and forwards just the one paper size.

In knowledge content space, the Writer facilitates working with content which flows within side margins and continue to flow from page to page. Today, this can be as much an electronic document as a printed page.

… Impress’s main purpose is display on a screen.

In knowledge content space, the Impress facilitates working with a “slide deck” where each slide is a self contained chunk of knowledge.

In the Time Before Mobile Devices (TBMD), a “slide deck” could be printed, put in a notebook, and then used as a flip chart presentation (e.g. sales pitches and marketing|museum table displays with no electronic devices).

My use case is for a “slide deck” of pocket sized cards. Each card is a chunk of knowledge. This knowledge chunking is consistent with how Impress functions as a “slide deck” knowledge tool. A pocket card deck is useful for many applications including task cards (like Kanban), reference cards, speaking notes and even game cards.

Once printed, the electronics is no longer required. And, more importantly, a linear “slide deck” sequence can then be sorted, shuffled, grouped and spatially (nonlinearly) organized on a surface/table/wallboard.

Since the Impress print dialog provides standard “Paper size” controls on Windows but not on macOS, it looks like a “bug/missing feature” relative to the macOS implementation. This is now reported to bugzilla:

Bug 147615 - PRINTING: macOS Impress print dialog does not provide access to select printer’s Paper Size

At the end of this, I have to say I agree with @Zizi64 , Export to pdf is the best option.

This is not just because the page size can be defined easily, but also because it converts links, retains bookmarks and offers better quality at a smaller file size, see ( Export or print to pdf from writer? )