Writer : Printing and Margins

I have several questions regarding Printers and Printing in Libreoffice. I am on a Linux distribution and use cups. Libreoffice is The paper sizes I have been testing with are defined in the cups ppd, hp-officejet_6700.ppd.

  • Letter 8.5 x11 in
  • Letter Borderless 8.5 x11 in
  • Letter AutoDuplex 8.5 x11 in

If anyone can shed some light on the topic, it would be much appreciated.

  1. What is the difference between:

    • File > Printer Settings > Properties and
    • File > Print > Printer > Properies
  2. What is the difference between:

    • File > Printer Settings > Properties > Paper size (A) and
    • File > Print > Printer > Properies > Paper size (B) and
    • File > Print > Page Layout > Paper size (C)
  3. On File > Print > Printer > Properies, there is a checkbox that says, “Use only paper size from printer preferences”. This is probably just semantics, but there is no “printer preferences” label that I can find. Is it just referring to the File > Printer Settings Dialog?

  4. Where does LOWriter get the paper sizes?. It looks like A and B get paper size from cups ppd. But C has a different list and many paper sizes are repeated in the list. It is kind of a mess.

  5. I have learned over the years that before I create a new LOWriter document that I should always visit File > Printer Settings > Properties > Paper size to prevent problems with printing and margins. It seems working with the document is more predictable this way

    However there is this anomaly. If I go to Format > Page Style > Page and change the Margins, only the very first time, LOWriter will display a Warning Dialog, “The margin settings are out of print range”). I select “No”, not to accept, and LOWriter will reset them to values in the ppd — Although LOWriter sometimes uses the margins from Letter and sometimes Letter AutoDuplex. I’m not sure why at this time. Now, if I go back to File > Printer Setup > Properties > Paper size and change it, the Format > Page Style > Page does not display the Warning Dialog, even if I change the margins.

    If I go to File > Printer Settings > Properties > Paper size and select Letter Borderless, the File > Print > Page Layout shows some weird numbers. I’ve seen 3.00 in x 5.00 in and 8.72 in x 11.19 in. It should be 8.5 x 11. I’m think’n that maybe I should ignore File > Print > Page Layout altogether. Of the 3 places to select paper sizes, it seems to be the strangest :slight_smile:

    Are there any printing tricks to make sure LOWriter is using the correct printer paper size and margins? Unfortunately thing can look good with Print Preview, but not when it actually prints.

Thank you.

Lets start with your (3). It is meant to ask the printer/driver for the available paper settings. Useful for many people, but completely useless, if I’m preparing an oversized A3 document to print elsewhere and have only A4 printer installed.

As a result of (3) in your (4) LibreOffice may list its own paper sizes, additional ones of the OS or CUPS and a third layer from the actual printer-driver (especially on Windows). It is quite complicated to know wich sizes YOU will need, so this piles up.

Basically the main factor in document layout is page style where you define the target sheet size. For convenience, Writer does its best to default this page size to the one configured for the default printer (eventually probing it which can result in a slow start up if the printer is not connected or network not available), but anyway page style has precedence over printer. This means you can print on a different page size: the print dialog is meant to reflect the physical layout of the printer while (unsynchronised) page styles reflect the logical author’s idea of the document. Thus the document may end up being cropped to the printer’s size when printing.

A document may use several page styles, say some pages are portrait others are landscape. This is common situation. This is handled quite well by the printer driver because it only implies rotation.

You can even have A4 portrait and A3 landscape (intended to show large diagrams or tables and to be folded twice so that the resulting book is simply A4).

John Doe’s printer are usually single format and you select this format when printing, independent from what the document really is. Professional printers can have several trays but I don’t know if they can print A4 and A3 in the same job, i.e. dynamic tray selection.