TourGroup LLC

Scrolling back up, scrolling down and scrolling back up and scrolling down to read 1 page.
Do you agree that reading PDF's on your laptop or iPad can be a hassle?


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).

Letter-sized example

At bottom of that webpage for, click on link for Printable PDF or click here.
You will find a 7 page flier (letter-sized, like at left) about our 2nd Annual Civil War Train tour group.

Then we find a worthy solution to the balance desired, Exhibit B, a half-Letter-sized page.

Half-letter-sized example

Click on this link.
You will find a 14 page (half-sized) flier about our 2nd Annual Civil War Train tour group.
To print this so both half-pages (pair of which at bottom) are on a Letter-sized sheet, see #2 at left.

Both PDF's requires the free program, Acrobat Reader.

To provide feedback...

Bill Owen
598 99 834 544

Uruguay Address:
Illinois Address:
Bill Owen
3018 Lake Bluff Dr
Decatur IL 62521

Webmaster | (c) Copyright 2015 22-oct-14 22:27

Letter-sized flier

Half-sized Fliers Pro & Con

The advantages & disadvantages to half-sized fliers are:

  1. Avoid the annoyance of mutlple-column scrolling back up and back down, these "half-sized" pages can be displayed on-screen in an average landscape-oriented laptop… or iPad etc. turned to horizontal. And the type sizes that are normal for the printed version (9-11 pt) are readily legible because at approximately 120-130% of size they look effectively like 11-13 point. Even the smaller fine print (6 pt) is legible.
  2. But if a person wanted to print it, they can! Here's how…choose the ordinary PDF/Acrobat setting for Multiple pages (see screen shot at bottom of this webpage) and choose 1 wide by 2 high*. Which rebuilds an ordinary letter sized, portrait page. Type sizes are appropriate for printed material (that is, not ridiculously oversized like many printed digital documents) and the user avoids the annoyance of printing lots of wasted pages with little or no info on them.
  3. If a designer had to take an existing letter sized layout, it might only take about 5-15 minutes per page to rework it so that users can open utilizing a very common free file format (PDF/Acrobat Reader) for both print/screen use.
  4. The only drawback I can think of is the rather odd margin in the middle of the page. But I think that this white space would be acceptable to allow one digital document to serve both purposes well. Besides, if printing things is not "eco", why we should continue to design for print as the priority?
* Note that on clicking the MULTIPLE button under Paper Sizing & Handling, one must NOT choose "2" Pages Per Sheet as you would assume but rather CUSTOM 1 by 2. The standard 2 pages per sheet prints side by side and you want one on top of the other.

Print Dialog

Above is a screen shot of the Mac print dialog box and Windows' version of Acrobat's print dialog will look similar.
The red lines have been added to draw your attention to what needs to be entered (click the Multiple pages button; choose Custom and 1(wide) by 2 (high) pages.
And the red text (page 1 & 2 on the same printed letter-sized sheet) is the result.

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.

1 column wide margin

Update August 3, 2015 Rainfall Probability in Uruguay August 2015-January 2016:

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.