Prettybox on A3

Andy Phillips andy.phillips at bbsrc.ac.uk
Tue Sep 10 03:41:02 EST 1996

Ken Baker wrote:
> Does anybody know how to force prettybox to use A3 sized output? We've got
> output which occupies 2 landscape A4 pages, and we want to print it onto
> portrait A3. (For those unfamiliar with European paper sizes, A4 is
> roughly letter-sized, A3 is like two A4's stuck together along their long
> edges.)
> The photocopier won't reproduce all those nice halftones 8-(, and we don't
> have access to a postscript editing package.
> Anybody got any bright ideas?
> Thanks in advance,
> Ken.
> --
> Dr Ken Baker                           Internet:ken.baker at bbsrc.ac.uk
> B.I.T.S.
> BBSRC Computing Centre            BritishTelecomnet: (+44)1582 762271
> West Common                                  Faxnet: (+44)1582 761710
> Harpenden AL5 2JE                           ICBMnet:  51'48'N 00'21'W


You don't need a PS editing package - PS files are just text, so you can use a text editor. 

One of the first postscript commands in the output file (after the list of procedures) is X Y 
SCALE. This, no surprise, sets the scale of the output, in points, so when you specify 10 point 
in PRETTYBOX this generates 

10 10 SCALE 

in the output. So one way to produce A3 output is to set the point size in prettybox to generate 
a portrait A4, then edit the PS file and change the SCALE command to increase scaling: to change 
A4 to A3, multiply both X and Y scaleings by 1.414 (square root of 2). You can get the 
postscript interpreter to do this (note that postscript uses reverse notation):

X 2 sqrt mul Y 2 sqrt mul scale (I think: I'm not the most competent programmer)

This will scale everything up to A3 size. The next problem is that this will scale everything 
from the origin (bottom left, I think), and it may move your output so it's no longer centred on 
the page (or even off the page alltogether). To move the output on the page, insert the command

X Y translate

after the scale command. This will move your output by X scale units (as specified by the scale 
command) right and Y scale units left. You may have to fiddle with different values of X and Y 
to get your output centred on the page.

I'd recommend using ghostscript to monitor progress: most PS printers don't give error messages 
by default, you just don't get any output. The Windows front end, ghostview, 
lets you set the page size (under media). Ghostscript will also tell you what's wrong (or at 
least you'll get some incomprehensble garbage that will give a hint as to the problem). I 
wouldn't print from ghostscript as a PS printer will probably do a better job.

Give me a ring/email if you run into problems.


 Email  : andy.phillips at bbsrc.ac.uk  : University of Bristol
 Home   : andy at cycad.demon.co.uk     : IACR Long Ashton Research Station 
 Phone  : +44-1275-549257            : Long Ashton
 Fax    : +44-1275-394281            : Bristol, BS18 9AF, UK
 WWW    : http://www.lars.bbsrc.ac.uk/plantsci/molbiol/andy.html

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