Michael asked in the comments on the Visio Shape Union to put a post together on “something on Visio page sizing and printing”. Great suggestion, I got it worked out, and this one is for you.
It seems to me that the idea of printing from Visio is not particularly obvious because tt’s a bit different from what you might be expecting when you use Microsoft Office. Lets start by understanding that the size of the page that you use on the screen does not necessarily have any relationship to the size of the page that you print.
Said another way, the size of the paper that you can print on, is not necessarily the size that you can define in the document page size.
To demonstrate this I will walk through creating a new page and how to set it’s size, and then how to set its’ print size.
Create a new page
Create a new page using Insert/New Page from the menu. You will get this screen.
Select the Page Size tab and the screen will now show the paper size. By default the Paper Size, FOR JUST THIS PAGE, will match the paper of the currently defined printer.
I recommend that you everytime you create a page, that you should immediately set the page size. Lets say that you want to use a A3 page:
But your printer driver will default to using A4 paper. So you will get this screen showing that the paper size is wrong:
This is not a problem, page sizing fix coming up
So far so good, we have a Visio page that is set to ALWAYS be A3 in size. If you click OK, and tried to print this out then the printer will valiantly print something. You will need scissors and sticky tape to make it useful, but at least the printer tried , right ? As this point you might give up and be happy with what you have.
The solution is to go to Print Setup tab and set the Printer Paper to fit 1 sheet across and 1 sheet down:
You can see the little picture on the right is telling you that the diagram will fit on the page.
Changing to Print on A3 Paper
So we have defined the page in Visio to be A3, and that is should be printed on A4 paper. Because A4 paper is exactly HALF the size Visio will scale down the diagram at print time. If you now have a printer that can print to larger paper, then you will need to change the Page Setup:
If you later decide that you want to print to A3 for every page in your document, you will need to change the Print Setup for every page . This is because the print configuration is stored for each page in your Visio document.
Some people have the idea that changing the print setup once work for every drawing page like say Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel. Because every drawing might be a different page size, and a different page print property, each drawing has to be changed manually. In my opinion, this is correct behaviour
Some Recommendations perhaps
Most of my drawings are done on A3 Page Size, and then printed on A4 paper. This is because I spend most of my time looking at the drawings on screen. Printing just uses up valuable resources that very few people even look at so why bother ?
For large and detailed diagrams, I will often use A0 or A1 Page Size and then print to A3. It gets a bit small, but frankly, you shouldn’t be printing this out anyway.
On the other hand, if you have an A0 plotter handy then nothing, and I mean nothing, has more impact in a management meeting than an A0 diagram spread across the boardroom table with some felt tip pens drawing the connectivity from end to end and explaining why your project will take thirty days to deliver and its ‘not just a few firewall rules’ that could be done by next week.
Don’t fit to drawing contents
Don’t set the Page Size to “Size to fit drawing contents”. When Visio tries to scale the page to your print paper, it will distort the image. For example, if you drawing size is 10cm x 10cm and Visio tries to scale that up to 21cm x 29.7cm, then the horizontal is going scale 1:2.1, and the vertical will scale 1:2.9 thus stretching the image. This is a very bad idea.
Don’t try to set the scale
While someone might know how to use the scale functions, I don’t and never needed them.
American Paper Sizes
The ISO metric paper sizes are direct multiples when scaling. That is, an A2 is twice the size of an A3 page which is twice the size of an A4 page and so on. This means that printing from a A3 drawing to an A4 page scales correctly.
As far as I can tell, American paper sizes are based on some random sizing system and scaling may need some consideration. After some research, I would think that a Letter size (8.5″ x 11″) page should scale to a C Sheet (17″ x 22″) since this is exactly double the size. If you aren’t using these paper sizes, then it is probably time to go out and buy them.
Otherwise you will need to do some math and work out the percentages for something like a Folio to C Sheet. Enjoy that all you like, but it would be easier to use the right paper.
Any suggestions or confirmation on how this works for American paper sizes would be welcomed.