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Suggestion: Descriptive Document Sizes

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When creating a new document, I'm not quite certain exactly what size I want.  So, I go to Page Presets, where I see a list of A0 to A10 (and being both American and using English Measurements, it's "meaningless" to me).  I do see Letter, Legal, Ledger, as well as ANSI C-D, but again other than Letter (which I assume is 8.5" x 11"), I really haven't gotten a feel for.

...or at least this would be the experience of someone who's new to publishing.

Take a quick gander at xpress.lulu.com/our-products.  This page shows a name, the size (admittedly in inches), a pictorial comparison, as well as a minor description of what it's used for.

It'd love to see at a minimum, rather than just listing A4, A5, ... is the drop down, since there's room for it, something like:
  A4 -- (8.27" x 11.69")
  A5 -- (5.83" x 8.27")

And maybe a little brief description area.  So when A4 is selected, it displays "Magazines, catalogs, ...".  And when A5 is selected, it displays "Novels, notebooks, pocket-books, ..."

The idea being that this drop down could contain more than the formal names, but convey size and creative suggested uses as well.  It's be really helpful.


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In my opinion it is not the perfect moment to think about the format when you set up your Publisher document neither it is the job of a software to say wich document size you need.

Think about what size you would like. Think about what would suit the content the most. Look at some books/magazines/posters arround you and what size they have. Maybe ask yourself why they have this size. You can even get some inspirataion for your project from the examples around you.

You should also think about where and how you want to print it. Printing at home with an A4 laser printer? Do not use A3 or even a borderles A4 because it would not work. Your favourit online printer only offers A5 and A4? Do not use A6 or something like 250x100mm.

Someone says you should set up a document with A4? Just choose A4 and do not care about the size because Publisher already knows it does the job for you. Someone says you should set up a document with 210x297mm? Just type it in an maybe find out later that it is exactly A4 and remember it for the next time ;)

I don't want to offend you, just share some thoughts for someone who's new to publishing :)


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No offense intended. I'm thinking of two cases here -- other applications which do convey size as additional confirmation you've got the right choice and making the barrier to entry easier for Publisher's adoption by new folks.

Yes, I wholeheartedly agree that if you've been given direction (especially if you're talking with a printer), that all makes total sense.  But I'm certain there are going to be users who will want to whip up some PDF or such for the web and this will quickly become their go to tool.  Being able to have that added information merely allows for a more informative choice.

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In my opinion, the problem is that you cannot really make much use of descriptive terms like “books” or “magazines” if added. When you visit a book store, you will find books in any imaginable format, from the tiniest pocket bible to the largest atlas of the world. So what would be the purpose of adding the word “books” to a spread size preset? :/

And similar considerations apply to the pictorial representations of page or spread sizes. According to my experience, you won’t be able to get a proper feel of the aspect ratio and size of a paper format unless you have a specimen of it, in particular, when you are new to print design. And remember, a printed product will most often not only consist of a single page. A book, for instance, will have a certain thickness as well. So when you design a book from scratch and there are no constraints imposed by the printer or the publishing house, it is always advised to create a dummy that will give you a feel for all of the product’s dimensions and the effects of paper and binding. Otherwise you will hardly be able to foresee the outcome of your design process. Experience will help, of course. For all of these reasons, I think pictorial representations of spread sizes will only lead to a false sense of security in many cases.

And finally, as soon as you choose a page preset, you can see the respective page dimensions in the respective section of the setup panel. You can even choose the measurement unit independently. I don’t believe we would need more information here.

I hope that makes sense … :)


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