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Re: PDF vs. CSS media @ print


From: Michael D. Roush
Date: Mar 14, 2005 12:40PM

ecohen wrote:
> Hello,
> We are following Section 508 and wish to limit use of PDF's.
> We produce a number of long and complex documents for the public to
> download and print. It is important that the content on their printouts
> matches, page-for-page, the original version.
> (i.e. graph 16 needs to be on page 23 on both)
> I'm seeking to learn of people's experience using the CSS media @ print
> technique or other such approaches?

I have used the CSS print technique for a couple of sites, but never to
reproduce paged media. I would imagine with the variance in browsers
and default margins and such - combined with the ease with which style
sheets can be overridden by users - that an @print avenue for
reproducing paged media would present some problems guaranteeing that
the user's printed version would match your original.

Not that I'm dissuading the attempt. Making a 'printer-friendly'
version of the page using CSS is a great idea. But, how about offering
it *as well as* the PDF version, rather than instead of? Properly
produced PDF's offer some advantages that plain html/css does not.
However, if you are set on going away from PDF's entirely, the CSS route
with page-break-before attributes on the proper lines will serve you
well. You will probably have to define a particular font with a fixed
size for the print version, but this can cause some accessibility
problems as well.

Michael Roush