Re. Nonstandard standard paper sizes

Subject: Re. Nonstandard standard paper sizes
From: Geoff Hart <geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
Date: Tue, 12 Dec 1995 11:05:25 LCL

Jack Shaw asked about formatting text in Word so that it
fits nicely on both North American (8.5 X 11) paper and
European paper, which is longer and thinner.

Software is exceptionally stupid at one thing: detecting
and coping with the external world. If you format the pages
for 8.5 X 11, it really doesn't matter what size paper you
print on... you'll still get print that fits in an
invisible 8.5 X 11 box. (You can use this same trick to
print top and bottom bleeds or crop marks for 8.5 X 11
pages by telling the software that you're printing on
letter-size but feeding the printer with legal paper. So
long as your software issues a printer command for page
breaks at the end of a page instead of letting the printer
decide when to feed the paper, this works fine. Used to be
a problem, but not recently in my experience.)

The problem thus becomes one of choosing page margins on
the smaller North American sheet that won't look silly on
European paper. The simple solution, which requires no
modifications whatsoever, is to choose an "envelope" (the
printing region that contains your text) that will fit
pleasantly on both page sizes. However, doing only this may
end up producing a European or American page with
unbalanced margins. Choose your envelope so that everything
fits on both paper sizes, leaving room for aesthetic
margins, then continue as follows:

Modify your left and right margins (top and bottom should
stay the same at this point in the explanation) so that the
page is well centered in both designs. One possibility: use
different style sheets for each version. The only things
that differ at this stage are the left and right margin
settings (which you use to center the page between the left
and right margins for the two paper sizes). I don't know
how Word handles this, but other software (e.g., AmiPro)
lets you set up a "template" that uses identical style
names, but different style properties; when you import a
version with different style properties but the same style
names, the software will ask you to either override the old
settings and accept the template settings, or to override
the template and accept the imported settings. Note that
you must set the new style (i.e., calculate a line width)
such that your line breaks won't change; if they do, you'll
have to hunt rogue hyphens and your page breaks won't fall
in the same places everywhere.

If Word thinks that it's smarter than you are and won't let
you override the original styles, you can accomplish the
same effect with a search and replace: create styles called
"body NA" and "body Eur", for example, find all text tagged
with one, and replace it with the other style. You can
easily do this by hand, but it's tedious for long books and
you should be able to automate the process with a macro.

To center the text between the top and bottom margins,
simply add a blank graphic at the top of each page in the
European version (using the master pages feature) so that
the graphic pushes the text downwards on the page (i.e.,
the text wraps so that it begins below the graphic) enough
to center it. Do the same at the bottom to force page
breaks at the same points as in the North American version.

One note: Since you're publishing in different markets, you
should consider publishing in a different format for each
market. This will take you more time, but won't look as odd
as a "one size fits all" solution. Since the document is
already in Word, much of the indexing should be relatively
easy to rebuild because it's automatic. However, if you've
gone far beyond a standard "generate list of words out of
context" index, and didn't use Word to build it, the extra
time to repaginate the index (the entries should stay the
same) may be prohibitive.

Good luck in any event!
--Geoff Hart @8^{)}
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca

Disclaimer: If I didn't commit it in print in one of our
reports, it don't represent FERIC's opinion.

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