The page, the sheet and the difficulty to differentiate them (Part 1)

It is very likely that in the past some Publisher users got confused regarding the distinction between page and sheet. In the print dialog when should one choose "Multiple pages per sheet" or "Multiple copies per sheet"? I know this is confusing. This current article intends to clarify some of the unknowns.


The Publisher user will work either in the WorkSpace creating, editing or fine tuning her publication or in the Backstage saving, printing or performing other actions. In Publisher 2010 we made an effort to improve the print experience and we will we used this opportunity to illustrate the distinction between pages and sheet. Briefly stated the old print dialog, the old print preview and the old print setup dialog are replaced in Publisher 2010 by the new Print Back Stage.


Let’s start by defining the notion of Page. Think about the Publisher page as the white area displayed in the WorkSpace surrounded by the Scratch area. The size of the page can be changed using the page setup dialog. For example the user can set the page size to be 8.5x11 or A4  even a custom size. To navigate from one page to the next use the page navigation pane.


Fig. 01. The Publisher 2010 WorkSpace 


Now let's talk about the sheet. When we use the word sheet we are referring to the actual piece of paper the publication will be printed on. To visualize it, let's enter the Print BackStage and observe the actual sheet being the white are in the preview window. The sheet size  can be changed. The selection of sheets is limited by the paper sizes supported by the current printer driver. To navigate from one sheet to the other user the Sheet navigation controls in the Print BackStage.


Fig. 02. The Publisher 2010 Print BackStage


For example a small desktop printer that can support only A4/Letter size sheets (papers) cannot allow the user to feed A3 or Tabloid (11x17) size paper. As a result in the Print BackStage the user cannot change the sheet size for this particular printer driver to A3/Tabloid.


Summarizing the distinction between page and sheet:


Publisher Page(s)

Publisher Sheet(s)

See it as

The white rectangle in the WorkSpace

The white rectangle in the Print BackStage

Change it's  size

Using the Page Setup dialog

In the print BackStage using one of the printer driver supported sheets

Think about it as

… a digital area where the user places some content

… a physical piece of paper where the content will be printed on

Navigate using the

 page navigator in the workspace

sheet navigation arrows in the Print BackStage


One might ask why should we have this distinction between page and sheet. Can't we just have one of them? This is a very good question. In some cases the overlap is so perfect that the distinction is completely blurred. For instance: an A4 flyer printed on an A4 sheet will basically make the distinction invisible. However one might start appreciating the distinction between page and sheet when we use different page sizes than sheet sizes. For instance a post card size page (page width= 5.5'' and page height= 4.25'') on a Letter size sheet (sheet width= 8.5''and sheet height = 11''). Since the page and the sheet sizes are different the user can place the smaller sized page on the larger sized sheet in multiple ways. We call those possibilities imposition styles. A particular case of imposition is when the page size is larger than the sheet size. For example a banner publication printed on letter size paper will be tiled.


How can I see the relationship between the page and the sheet in a single view? The Print BackStage has some powerful tools to enable the visualization of the page relative to the sheet. One of them is the "Page number slider". This slider will display two things: the page margins illustrated with a red line and the number of the page as an outlined number in the center of the page. This content is not printed just displayed for the user.


Let's consider the imposition styles "Multiple copies per sheet". A more verbose definition of this would be "Multiple copies of one page per sheet" or "Fill a sheet with multiple copies of the same page". To illustrate it see the screen shots below.


Fig. 03. Multiple Copies Per Sheet - Portrait


Fig. 04. Multiple Copies Per Sheet - Landscape  


"Multiple pages per sheet" would have a verbose definition as "Place on a sheet multiple pages". To illustrate it see the screen shots below .


Fig. 05. Multiple Pages Per Sheet - Portrait


Fig. 06. Multiple Pages Per Sheet - Landscape  


With the just learned differences between page and sheet this should be somewhat easier to understand.


This would conclude the first part regarding the print experience in Publisher 2010.


Fig. 07. Imposition: Tiled

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