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Page Setup on Your Mac Running Mountain Lion

The features in the Page Setup sheet on your Mac running OS X Mountain Lion can help you solve most basic printing problems. After you set up your printer, the hard part is over. You should be able to print a document quickly and easily — right? Not so fast, bucko.

Many programs have a Page Setup command on their File menu. Note that some programs use the name Page Setup, and others use Print Setup. (Print Setup is the quaint, old term, more popular in the System 6 era and in Windows than on today’s Macs.) Either way, this is the sheet where you can choose your target printer, paper size, page orientation, and scale.

Become familiar with Page Setup. You might not need to use it right this second, but it’s a good friend to know. Even though some apps offer some of these Page Setup settings in their Print sheets, Page Setup is the only place you find these options in many programs.

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Users of network printers or PostScript printers might see slightly different versions of the Print and Page Setup sheets. The differences should be minor enough not to matter.

Click the little question mark in the bottom-left corner of the Page Setup sheet at any time for additional help. If you do, Page Setup help opens immediately in the Help Center. (Okay, maybe not immediately, but Help Center in Mountain Lion is much, much faster than the Help Viewer in previous OS X incarnations.)

The options within the Page Setup sheet are as follows:

  • Settings: When you have everything else in the Page Setup sheet configured just the way you want it for most documents, choose Save As Default to save this configuration as the default Page Setup for this application.

  • Format For: In this pop-up menu, you find the name of the active printer. If you have several printers configured, you can choose any of them from this menu.

    This menu usually defaults to Any Printer, the least effective setting. Unless the printer you want to use appears here, you might not get the full functionality the printer offers.

  • Paper Size: Use this pop-up menu to choose the type of paper currently in the paper tray of your printer or to choose the size of the paper that you want to feed manually. The dimensions of the paper that you can choose appear below its name.

    Page Setup sheet settings (including Paper Size) remain in effect until you change them. For example, when you print an envelope, don’t forget to change back to Letter before trying to print on letter-size paper again.

  • Orientation: Choose among options here to tell your printer whether the page you want to print should be portrait-oriented (like a letter, longer than it is wide) or landscape-oriented (sideways, wider than it is long).

    Some programs offer additional Page Setup choices. If your program offers them, they usually appear in the Settings pop-up menu in the Page Setup sheet. (Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Word have them; TextEdit doesn’t.)

  • Scale: To print your page at a larger or smaller size, change this option to a larger or smaller percentage.

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