[OS X TeX] Just went to Leopard and ...

Bruno Voisin bvoisin at mac.com
Thu Nov 8 21:53:38 CET 2007

Le 8 nov. 07 à 15:38, Tom Koornwinder a écrit :

> On Nov 6, 2007, at 6:20 PM, William I. Newman <win at ucla.edu> wrote:
>> However,  whenever I typeset an existing TeX (i.e.,
>> Textures) document---and my installation of TeXshop may have
>> inadvertently imposed A4 page standards, my margins are horribly
>> messed up.  (They are messed up even in the context of using A4
>> paper.)  Is there a simple way to accomplish this?
> A few weeks ago I also experienced these bad printing results (on  
> A4) for
> my old plain TeX documents, prepared long ago in Textures, when I  
> typeset
> them now in TeXShop using pdftex. I was shocked and confused, but my
> way around is now to typeset them using tex instead of pdftex,
> for instance by putting on the first line of the plain TeX document
> %!TEX TS-program =  tex
> Then everything is typeset and printed fine for me (for the price of
> an intermediate dvi file).

That's because both Textures and dvips define a paper size which is  
truly in true units, namely unaffected by any subsequent  
\magnification, while pdfTeX defines a paper size which looks like  
it's set in true units, but actually isn't.

However, TeXShop's default mode being pdf(La)TeX, this feature  
(personally I consider it an intentional bug of pdfTeX) is with us by  
default. By turning to TeX and GhostScript mode (actually TeX + dvips  
+ distiller), you get rid of it.

Regarding how the paper size is defined:

- For Textures, using File > Page Setup.

- For dvips, in the config file /Library/TeX/Root/texmf-config/dvips/ 
config/config.ps, and within any TeX input file using


The units for <the-width> and <the-height> are natural units (i.e.,  
they are not affected by any \magnification and you should not use any  
"true" inside them).

- For pdfTeX, in the config file /Library/TeX/Root/texmf-config/tex/ 
generic/config/pdftexconfig.tex, and within any TeX input file using 4  


The units for these 4 parameters are TeX-style units (i.e., you need  
to add a "true" inside them if you want them unaffected by  
\magnification). Moreover, any true units which the user can specify  
are taken into account in the TeX input file, but they aren't if the  
specification comes within a file pdftexconfig.tex read when building  
(via INITeX) a TeX format.

One last thing: the way to set the paper size in the config files  
config.ps and pdftexconfig.tex is the command-line utility texconfig,  
as explained in MacTeX's ReadMe:

- For US Letter:

    sudo texconfig-sys paper letter
    sudo texconfig-sys dvips paper letter

- For A4 paper:

    sudo texconfig-sys paper a4
    sudo texconfig-sys dvips paper a4

I know I said all that already in my previous message in this thread,  
but looking back at that message I now find it unnnecessarily  
convoluted. I hope this revised version goes more to the point.

Bruno Voisin
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