Thursday, October 28, 2010

How to Set Custom Dimensions for Pages Document

Several readers wrote to me recently asking how to set custom dimensions for a Pages document. Custom meaning dimensions not available in Page Setup options (A4, B5 etc.)

(If you don't have 'Adobe PDF Printer' in your printing  options please read this follow-up article on using just Preview)  

Let’s say you design a card 11” wide by 6” high for commercial printing. Here is how to do it:

- click Page Setup in Document Inspector (or go to Page Setup from File menu);

- in ‘Format for’ choose Adobe PDF and in Paper Size drop-down menu choose Manage Custom Sizes;

- Custom Page Sizes dialogue opens;

- at the bottom of the left column click plus sign to create new page format with dimensions of your card;

- double click 'untitled' to name it, say 'Doug's Card';

- then, on the right, type in your dimensions 11" wide x 6" high (mine are set in cm, but it doesn't matter);

- set margins the way you want them to be, but remember to allow 3 mm (0.12") for printer's crop, click OK;

- now, in Page Setup dialogue, make sure that in Paper Size drop-down menu, 'Doug's Card' is selected and click OK. Your Pages document should change to the format you've created;

- next, process your card from Pages to CMYK PDF via Postscript, but DO NOT click Landscape in Page Setup, your dimensions will be preserved in the new PDF document.


  1. Anonymous9:09 pm

    Thanks for the Pages help. I am still having a problem with saving Pages to Post script for CMYK conversion. My file is 17 x 11, for a full folded brochure. I created the custom size, and do not have landscape checked. When I open in Preview form Post script it cuts my file directly in half, so I only see the left side. I don't have Adobe.
    Any thoughts?

    Much appreciated.


  2. Vicki, hi,
    yes, mails I get from readers tell me you're not alone.
    Try this: download the free Adobe Reader from (many other sites offer free downloads of this popular PDF reader) and install it. Then, you type Command + P or choose Print from the menu, dialogue window opens and in 'Printer' see if you have 'Adobe PDF' option in the drop-down menu. If you do, select it and then 'print' to PostScript. Then drag PostScrip file onto Preview - and see if the PDF is correct.
    I've just tried it on my old Mac where I don't have full Adobe, but do have Adobe Reader - and it worked. Please let me know if that solves the problem. I'll post and you will save a lot of grief for fellow Pages users.

  3. Anonymous11:21 pm


    Hi, thank you for the post. I did try your suggestion. Adobe reader is installed and in My Applications, and on my dock. But when I try print it does not appear in the drop down. I did try to save as post script again, and dragged to preview just as you said to see if it worked, and it did not. Any ideas on why Adobe PDF does not show up even after insatlling it? I installed twice to make sure.

    Thank for your help


  4. Vicki, hi,
    I think I spotted the problem. Let's forget Adobe for now.
    Open any document, for example your clipped brochure in Preview, go to File>Page Setup and when Dialogue opens click on Paper Size drop-down menu and choose your custom size 17x11, which you should have added to custom sizes in your Pages document. Click ok and close the document. Then drag the PostScript file of the brochure onto Preview icon and it should open as a PDF with correct dimensions.

    Now this PDF will not be press-ready CMYK file, but printers who use digital process may not require CMYK separation and still take it into work, and those who use larger off-set presses may take your PS file to convert to CMYK themselves with an additional charge. You'll have to shop around where you are to see what's available. From my experience it's best to work with smaller printshops where you can talk face to face with someone who would understand your needs and the process you have used in creating your document. It's important to understand where your work stops and others take over and not to try to go where additional specialised knowledge and skills are needed.

    Hope this helps.

  5. In "Format for" there's no Adobe PDF option, but I select "All printers." This lets me select my custom size from the Paper Size pull-down. However when I click OK it defaults back to 8.5 x 11.

    1. try doing via PDF - choose Open PDF in Preview. And then save.

  6. In Pages app, under File menu, choose Page Set Up. In settings window Format for "Any Printer". Under Paper Size choose Manage Custom Sizes. Choose your orientation. The final key is clicking on the + button at the bottom of the Custom Paper Sizes screen and once you do that, you will see "untitled." After that you can set up your custom sizes. Hope this helps. It took me a loooong time!

  7. Anonymous1:01 pm

    This comment has been removed by the author.

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