When you need to print a document precisely at its original size, but the output from your office printer appears too large or too small, determining the cause of the disparity between real and printed size can entail combing through a plethora of settings and preferences. In addition to determining where in the printing process your output changes size, you’ll need to determine what size your source material actually measures, which can vary depending on how you’ve set up your document and its contents.
When you print bitmapped images, the size they appear on paper is directly proportional to their pixel dimensions and the resolution at which they are output. At 300 pixels per inch, an image 300 pixels wide by 300 pixels high equals a 1-inch square. The same image, interpreted at 72 ppi, measures 4.17 inches. As a result, output at 300 ppi will be smaller but much less blurry.
Many applications, particularly those aimed at graphic designers and artists, include options for printing at enlarged and reduced sizes relative to the dimensions of your original work. Some of these applications retain the scaling factor you used when printing your document when you save files in them. Examine your document and application for settings that force output to be larger or smaller than the actual size. There may be a “Fit to Page,” “Scale to Fit,” or “Crop to Fit” option available.
When the dimensions of your document exceed the largest paper size that your printer can handle, it prints as much as it can before stopping somewhere near the edge of the sheet. If you really need to print the entire document area, you might be able to tile it to multiple sheets, resulting in overlapping output of width and height segments. The result of splicing the tiled sheets together and trimming off the overlap is your entire document.
Most desktop printers are incapable of printing all the way to the edge of a sheet of paper. Those who produce borderless photo prints do so by printing beyond the edge, giving the impression that the output runs all the way to the edge. If your output appears to be the correct size – not scaled up or down – but does not include all of the document detail on each page, consult your printer documentation to determine the printable area it can accommodate on the paper size you’re using.