Scrolling back up, scrolling down and scrolling back up and scrolling down to read 1 page.
Whenever a letter-sized newsletter, flier or other PDF document has multiple columns, it requires you to scroll back up to the top of the next column and back down... then repeating the round trip scrolling if there are 3 columns! These extra 4 scrollings is a legacy of using documents designed for printing on the web. Ideally, web documents would be designed in a horizontal, "landscape" format or with one long column. The trouble is: many users may want to print off the item and web pages don't print properly (wasting even more paper than otherwise) and have ridiculously large type sizes (when on paper).
The question is: can we find a balance that allows a document to be designed primarily for the web and still work well when printed? And all without learning a new alphabet soup of high-tech stuff?
The answer is "Yes!"
First, you will see an ordinary flier example that was designed for letter-sized print-out with multiple columns and print too tiny for the web (when the full page is displayed on the screen).
At bottom of that webpage for CivilWarTrain.com, click on link for Printable PDF or click here.
Then we find a worthy solution to the balance desired, Exhibit B, a half-Letter-sized page.
Click on this link.
Both PDF's requires the free program, Acrobat Reader.
To provide feedback...
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Half-sized Fliers Pro & Con
The advantages & disadvantages to half-sized fliers are:
Above is a screen shot of the Mac print dialog box and Windows' version of Acrobat's print dialog will look similar.
Note: all this is based on US Letter size (8.5x11") and so the half size is 8.5" wide by 5.5" high. European A4 standard is a narrower shape (8.3 × 11.7" ) but a similar concept could be used for those across the pond. So, a half-sized A4 document would be 8.3x5.85". April 24, 2012
Updates May 1, 2012: Thank you for your input! Feedback from one person was that the large margin in the center of printed page (between 2 half-pages) would be unappealing. I think that could be easily fixed by setting your lefthand page with a very small top margin and your righthand page with a very small bottom margin. Then when printed, the margin could be much smaller. One could even put a line/rule at either margin if you felt it was then needed to help separate sections. Agreed, that my half-page suggestion is odd from the standpoint of traditional printed pages but this is just the one drawback for the legacy edition... so that the modern e-version works a lot better.
Another person relayed the obvious: if you must use letter-sized printed pages, design with just one wide column. And you could put your artwork, captions and marginal comments in a wide outside margin. Art of larger sizes could 'bleed' off the page and into the wide column (see below). And make sure that the minimum font size is sufficient for the devices you plan to use; 11-12 point maybe.
Click here for another example of this half-page approach can be utilized for a laptop friendly pdf or print 2-up on a page.