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In ye olde days it was known that Word changed the page layout if a different (default?) printer was selected since it somehow got the metrics from the printer and shifted words and letters around to accommodate for ... um ... something.

Now that we have a new file format and so, does anyone know the above to still be true? I couldn't discern a difference but my selection of printers here is pretty much limited to non-printers like OneNote, XPS, etc.

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No: a Word document printed on one printer has the exact same line and page breaks as when printed on another printer.


  • if you change the page layout (margins, paper size, etc.)
  • if the two printers have different paper sizes
  • if the two printers don't support the fonts you are using (in which case they might substitute with other fonts which may render differently)

I guess by "ye olde days" you mean pre-1995 when Windows and printers weren't really WYSIWYG.

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No, "ye olde days" is still semi-recent (well, probably still recfent, give how many people still use an OS from that age); I added a link in my question that describes the problem. Also Word for DOS was WYSIWYG, although the default text mode view was more a WYSIWYM, indeed. – Joey Nov 26 '10 at 11:11
In the linked article, Leo more or less states the same three exceptions that I mentioned. I haven't seen this behaviour for many years myself, but then again I rarely switch between printers on the same computer, and I rarely compare the printed layout with the layout in a PDF. So I'm not denying that layout changes might still happen. I just don't notice. – Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Nov 26 '10 at 14:31

I think it's still the same as different printers have different print margins (how much of the page they can print on) and you will always end up with a little bit of shuffling and tweaking as a result to accommodate the different capabilities of a printer.

What is the problem you are trying to solve?

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Curiosity, nothing more. – Joey Nov 26 '10 at 11:12

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