TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:Re: Standard page sizes From:Iain Harrison <iharrison -at- SCT -dot- CO -dot- UK> Date:Tue, 10 Sep 1996 11:18:43 GMT
Geoff Hart wrote:
Michael Little wondered if there was any way to set a
standard page size in HTML. Sounds like what you want is an
Acrobat PDF file instead. That's the best way to ensure that
your layout appears the way you'd intended, but you do risk
losing some websters (those who don't have the Acrobat
viewer installed). I'd reconsider your premise before
proceeding: how important is it to fit everything into that
I have the acrobat reader installed, but I don't download
.PDF files unless I really have to - why?:
1. they are huge files for content that could have been
in plain HTML or ASCII, usually for less than a tenth of
the file size
2. they are almost always ports from a paper
publication, and are not properly designed to be read
3. printing .PDF files always seems to give some problem
or other, as well as being excruciatingly slow
4. they completely miss the point of HTML, which is a
page description language that allows each reader to
choose what font and typesize suits them
5. there is no way to browse the top bit of the file to
see if it is what you actually want
6 it is a proprietary format which undermines the
openness of the web - though that's under attack from
many other angles, and Adobe pretends that Acrobat
readers are available for most platforms.
In general, newcomers to web page design and creation seem
to want to reproduce a paper layout. They go through the
cycle of wanting to put up huge .GIF files of pages, then
wanting to put up vast .PDF files.
Usually, they develop ways to produce pleasing and useable
results using simple HTML that meets their needs, but by
then the audience may have looked elsewhere for manageable
OK, there are a very few instances where exact reproduction
of a paper page is vital, but they _are_ very few.
Even the concept of a 'standard page' is hard to justify.
Here in the UK, we only use the ISO A series of paper sizes
- normally A4. US letter paper is a different shape and
size, so pages have to be distorted to print onto available
Iain [speaking for myself alone]
TECHWR-L List Information
To send a message about technical communication to 2500+ list readers,
E-mail to TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU -dot- Send administrative commands
ALL other questions or problems concerning the list
should go to the listowner, Eric Ray, at ejray -at- ionet -dot- net -dot-