How do I tell dvips which paper I use?

  • Nobody/Anonymous

    Is there a way to specify to dvips that I use letter size paper, rather than what it seems to assume as default, A4? I would like to avoid editing configuration files if I can. I use MikTex with WinEdt under WINDOWS.

    • Nobody/Anonymous

      Well, I think you'll have to edit something -- either the default dvips config file or the WinEdt macro that calls dvips. I suggest you do the former.

      Go to TEXMF\dvips\config and copy the file found there into LOCALTEXMF\dvips\config (create the directory if it doesn't exist already). Load this copy into WinEdt. At the end of the file, you'll find several groups of commands starting with @ signs. The first group reads
      @ A4size 594.99bp 841.99bp
      @+ %%PaperSize: A4
      and it determines the default papersize. Just move the group that reads
      @ letter 8.5in 11in
      @+ %%BeginPaperSize: Letter
      @+ letter
      @+ %%EndPaperSize
      to the top of the groups. Save the file and run MiKTeX Options to refresh the filename database. That's it. (If you ever want to go back to the original MiKTeX setup, just delete the copy of

      If you'd rather edit the macros or work with environment variables that point to your own configuration file, I suggest you read the dvips documentation found in TEXMF\doc\dvips. This doc file also tells you how to use \special commands within the TeX document itself to force US letter size (but this would have to be done in every file you create).

    • Nobody/Anonymous

      Thanks a lot. I actually knew about this, but was hoping to avoid it through some simple, GUI-type selection in a WinEdt or MikTex menu...
      Do I have to do a similar thing for the transition between PS and PDF? In an end I want a pdf file.

    • Nobody/Anonymous

      No, once you have the ps file with correct page size, simply click on the ps2pdf button in WinEdt to produce the pdf file.

    • Derek O'Connor

      Derek O'Connor - 2004-09-27

      I have a similar problem. I use plain Tex and then dvips and ps2pdf. Dvips produces the correct paper size (A4 in my case) but ps2pdf produces Letter size. (All done using WinEdt's buttons).

      If I convert the .ps file to .pdf using Ghostview I get the correct (A4) size.

      All these problems, including .eps figures not showing up in Yap, have occurred since I updated a few weeks ago.

      How do I set the paper size in ps2pdf?


    • Nobody/Anonymous

      That seems to be the reverse of the previous problem. The ps2pdf default is letter size. You can change that to A4 by using the option
      for ps2pdf, i.e.,
      ps2pdf -sPAPERSIZE=a4 filename.pdf

      There's a nice collection of useful conversion commands to be found at

    • Tze Kwang Teo

      Tze Kwang Teo - 2004-09-29

      In reply to the original posting, for letter paper size add the option "-t letter" to dvips command.

      dvips -t letter
      dvips -t A4

      for letter and A4 paper respectively. If you are using WinEdt 5.4 you have to manually edit the dvips entry in the TeX Configuration menu.


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