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Setting Printable Area (Imageable Area)
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Joined: 10 Jan 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2007 3:23 am    Post subject: Setting Printable Area (Imageable Area) Reply with quote

I've beat my head against several hundred walls trying to find an answer to this fairly common (if evidence from the forums means anything) problem. I've used multiple PCL printers which leave a really big margin at the top and bottom of the page. They don't just shrink the page, or move it down, they actually chop off what should be printed there.

I've just found out that you can change the "Imageable Area" for the printer by adjusting the ppd file (found in /etc/cups/ppd/xxxxx.ppd). I'm sure there's a more sensible way to do this, but I've tried everything that seems sensible (like changing margins with lpoptions to no avail).

You can find out what your imageable area is set to by printing the CUPS test page. (If you need help finding it, it's in the "Imageable Area" box :) It will be the "Page Size" measurements). The bounding box of the test page gives you the area it's set to.

OK, so if you want to change it, open your ppd file, search for "ImageableArea", find the paper size you want, and set the margins. The line will look something like:

*ImageableArea Letter/US Letter:        "18 36 594 756"

The columns correspond to [Left Top Right Bottom] margins (starting from the top and left of the page).

The numbers are 1/72nd of an inch, so 18/72nds of an inch is (do the math)....0.25 inches. Half an inch is a bit big for the top and bottom margins, so we'll set the top (second number) to 18, and the bottom (fourth number) to 774 (11x72=792-18=774). Obviously, you'll have to do the math for your choice combination of page size and margin size.

Save the file, then restart cups (/etc/init.d/cupsd restart).
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