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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Printing PDF Patterns with Windows 8

 Don't you love it when life is going along smoothly and then suddenly something you have always been doing doesn't work right anymore? Yeah, neither do I.  

Well that's exactly what is happening to many of us lately as we are trying to print out PDF patterns!  They look right on the screen but they don't print out the right size.  WHY?!?!  

I will tell you why. We finally figured it out. It seems that many programs are seeing the value of PDF's so they're coming out with their own reader apps to use within their programs. That sounds like a great idea for them. Except that there's a difference between reading/viewing and printing accurately. The generic reader apps don't always print to scale. The biggest hit (but not the only one) is with Windows 8 that recently came out with their own reader app.  If you have Windows 8 there's a good chance that your sizing is off a teeny bit even if you haven't noticed it yet. It is possible for us to change the default and go around it, but a lot of people don't know it's even a problem.  If your 1" square is printing out at 15/16" then your whole pattern will be too small!

 I will explain a little more and then how to fix the problem in Windows 8. The important thing to remember is that your patterns may have been printing fine a few days ago but that doesn't mean that they will today. In the picture below, you can see the "Reader" that is circled.  This is the new Windows 8 reader.  It is the default when you double click your patterns. It's brilliant for them but a nightmare for us if we want to print accurately.  

The main problem is that the Windows Reader opens the pattern up to be viewed in a window like this one below.

 It looks great and we can certainly read our pattern instructions that way.  But when it comes to printing, notice at the bottom that there are NO options for whether we want to print to scale.  We can print but we don't have much control over how it prints. (This may depend a little on your PC and version.) 

So instead of using this Windows Reader App, or even a mini app version of Adobe, we want to make sure we are opening our patterns in the most recent version of Adobe Reader, as circled below. If you don't yet have it, I will show you how to get it.  If you do have it, you'll still want to keep reading because there's a step you need to do in order to make it your default. 

When we open the pattern with the full version of Adobe and tell it to print the pieces, we are brought to this print screen below, where we can choose "Actual Size" or something similar on our computer. We need to be able to tell the printer to print in actual size and not to shrink to fit! 

 Okay so now we all know we need the full version of Adobe Reader.  If you don't yet have it on your computer, you can get it for free here: 

It may not be a bad idea to make sure you have the newest version, even if you have an older version. Following the steps at the link above, you will see the following screens: 

 Once we follow through with these steps to get it downloaded and installed, the Adobe icon should now show up in a drop-down menu when we RIGHT CLICK on a pattern that we want to open.  See below. 

At this point, after right clicking, we can see several options for opening the pattern, including both readers.  What we want to do is select "Choose Default Program" as circled above, and set the Adobe Reader as our default program. If all goes well, that will make it so when we double click our pattern it will open in the full Adobe version rather than in an app. 

If we're ever not sure if it opened in the right program, just remember that we need to be able to select for it to print actual size. Just because the 1" square looks accurate on the screen does NOT mean that it will print out correctly.

Is this all clear?  I realize there may be differences based on computer models and operating systems. If the helps above don't solve your problem or you have a completely different program you're fighting, it may help to google your problem. There's a good chance that you're not the only one struggling with it.  This just shows how important it is to ALWAYS measure the 1" square on our pattern pieces. Having the square look "close enough" will result in clothing for our kids that "almost fits". 

I want to give a huge thank you to Connie Ridgeway from Cranberry Ridge Designs for helping us out with the step-by-step photos today!  I borrowed her as one of our pattern testers and turned her into a computer tester. (She is very patient.) Connie also has a fun blog here that you will want to check out.

Let's Create! ~ Kristen  

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