Game Mastery

Howto: 4e Character Builder Print to PDF with correct margins

by on Mar.19, 2010, under dnd

For some odd reason the 4e character builder fails at making PDFs.  The margins aren’t right so when you print you lose a bit of data.   Here’s a workaround:

  1. Open Character Builder
  2. View Character Sheet
  3. Print
  4. Choose PDF printer.  (Set this up yourself.  Google will help.)
  5. Click preferences
  6. Click on the layout tab.
  7. Click the advanced button.
  8. Towards the bottom of the advanced settings you’ll find scaling set to 100%.  Set it to 90%.
  9. Okay, okay, print.

Then you’ll be asked to save the pdf.  It’s still not quite right though.  The height and width are 90% of the normal page, but the character sheet starts at the edge of the page leaving no margin.  Here’s how I added margins.

  1. Open your character PDF in Adobe Acrobat.
  2. In the document menu select crop page.
  3. At the bottom right, set page range to all.
  4. Change the page range size.
  5. Custom should be set to 8.5in width and 11in height.
  6. Center should be set to 0.44in and -0.44in.  This will push the sheet to the middle of the page, correcting the marins.
  7. Save.

I apologize for instructions that depend on Adobe Acrobat.  That said, they may still be applicable for other PDF editors, or at the very least point you in the right direction.

Oh and yes, I have printed PDFs made in this fashion.  They’re crisp and clean looking where my other attempts at making nice 4e pdfs (which involved printing to a 8in x 10.5 in page and centering that on letter paper) were blurry.

Hope someone else finds this useful.  If not, I hope someone else finds a way to make this useful and posts it in the comments.

Also, hopefully this will be the last of my PDF posts for a while.  If I have any more they’ll end up on my code blog where they belong instead.

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4 comments for this entry:
  1. sagotsky

    Found an option that doesn’t rely on Acrobat. is a python script that reformats pdfs for ebook readers. It is designed to remove the margins and recenter the remaining page. It works nicely on 90% zoomed pdfs of character sheets. I haven’t tried printing with it yet, but the pdfs look reasonable.

    This probably isn’t helpful to windows users though.

  2. sagotsky

    And here’s my own option for cropping. It’s a python script that changes the media, crop, and trim boxes of the document, effectively widening the page. Save this to and run “./ /path/to/file.pdf”. You can add a second argument of 0-50 to specify the size of the margins. It defaults to 10%, which I think looks good.

    This requires the pypdf module and probably a few others. Windows users, I don’t know how to help you set this up. Sorry. Google is your friend.
    (zipped because my webserver doesn’t know what to do with .py files)

  3. Graham

    Excellent work. That problem has been bugging me for a long time now. I’ve sent your instructions round to my party and they’ve updated their sheets.

    Again, excellent stuff. Thanks! 🙂

  4. Graham

    Also, cutepdf should work just fine in stead of Acrobat.

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