Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Quilters Using Windows 10: Read This Before Printing PDF Files!

Do you have Windows 10 on your computer, and have you been having trouble getting your PDF quilting patterns to print out at the correct size?  If so, read on!

On my new Windows 10 laptop, I discovered that my Farmer's Wife 1930s foundation paper piecing pattern files (the ones that came on the CD with the book) were all printing out too small, so that my resulting blocks finished about almost a quarter inch too small.  I faulted my piecing precision, I accused myself of going nuts with the steam iron and shrinking paper AND fabric, and I even wondered whether the pattern files themselves were too small.  I checked my printer settings, both on the printer itself and through the computer's printer settings, and verified that both were set to print at 100% actual size with NO SCALING.

Finished Edge Should Measure 6" but Printed at 5 13/16"
And yet, when I printed my own templates or foundation piecing patterns directly from my EQ7 software, THEY printed out at exactly the right size.

Finished Edge of Block Exactly 6", Printed from EQ7 and Not a PDF File
Then I tried printing the PDF templates for one of Esther Aliu's beautiful BOM quilt projects and -- you guessed it -- it ALSO printed out slightly too small, just like the Farmer's Wife PDFs.  All of my PDF patterns, regardless of where I got the files, were all printing out at only about 96% of the correct size ever since I "upgraded" to Windows 10.  So I figured that something was telling my computer to scale all of my PDF documents specifically.  And that's exactly what the problem turned out to be.  I found the solution here on superuser, where someone else had posted about their multi-page poster PDFs automatically shrinking down to fit on one page in Windows 10.

Windows 10 has its own built-in PDF viewer "app" that opens PDF files by default, and that program automatically scales all of your PDF documents (shrinking them slightly) when it prints them.  This handy-dandy Win 10 PDF reader does not show you anywhere that it is doing this, and there is no way to print a PDF document at actual size through the Win 10 PDF viewing app.  How stupid is that?! 

Fortunately, the solution is an easy one.  Just go to Adobe's web site and download their free Adobe Acrobat Reader DC here, and then set Adobe Acrobat as your default program for opening PDF files.  When you open the PDF file in Adobe Acrobat, you will see your options for scaling or printing at actual size.  That way your 6" block patterns will result in actual 6" blocks, not 5 3/4" blocks. 

My 6" Sampler Blocks
Please share this with other quilters you know.  It is such heartache to spend two days precisely piecing an intricate block, only to have it finish too small due to unforeseen technical difficulties.  Now that I have wasted half a ream of newsprint working this out, I deserve to go back to my studio to make a block as a reward -- a CORRECTLY SIZED block this time!

I'm linking up with Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts and Esther's WIPs on Wednesday.


Janice Holton said...

Talk about VALUABLE information!! Thank you for going through all the headache of figuring this out so the rest of us don't have to! YOU ROCK, Rebecca!

Jenny K. Lyon said...

Great information Rebecca Grace! I posted on Facebook and already six people have shared it. Thank you for doing the research.

Podunk Pretties said...

Whoa, why would windows do such a silly thing. Hopefully they will fix that issue. Thank goodness I didn't upgrade to windows 10. But I will be sharing this with my followers. Mind if I mention you and your post on my blog?

Barbara Sindlinger said...

That is very good information. Thank you for sharing. I've had the hardest time with a lot of programs because of Windows 10.

ES said...

I hate windows 10!!

LJ said...

Thank you. We have an old operating system as well as an old computer and keep thinking we'll need to update one of these days. It's good to know about this problem and I've saved the info for 'the time'. Have you written Microsoft and bitched? You just never know...maybe someone will listen.

Jenny K. Lyon said...

I had 12 people repost my Facebook link to your blog! Thank you for saving us all from peril.

SewSealy said...

Valuable information! I feel bad that you had to go through all of this, but thankful that you found the answer and have shared this with all of us.

Have you by chance sent this to Microsoft so they can create a "fix" for the problem? I would hope by now, they are working on it, but you never know. Meanwhile, Adobe to the rescue. Love Adobe - my husband works for them. Great company. :)

QuiltShopGal said...

Great tip. Thank you.


Anonymous said...

wow - thank you for sharing. That's crazy. Sorry you lost so much valuable quilting time, but appreciate the info. Hope your rewarded correct block made you smile!