I'm trying to figure out how to prepare a notebook for NICE online viewing when it's been converted to PDF form. The students I am working with (sadly!) will not be able to use the CDFPlayer to view existing documents. I'm to use Google Docs and save the notebooks in PDF form.

I've been working with settings for margins and page sizes and paper sizes, I'll admit I'm out of my depth completely.

Specifically, I'd like two things.

FIRST When I save as PDF, I'd like the pages to be like actual slides in terms of size. It would be nice if each page was viewable on screen like a nice "distinct" slide.

Below, a 2 second pdf creation, being viewed in Google Docs.


B Is there any way to set the stylesheets so I would be able to 'see' in Mathematica what my pages would look like so I can edit, space, page break accordingly.

I know, I expect my question is too vague and may get "punted", but I'll need to get going on this ASAP and I simply can't get my mind around it myself.

I have tons of content all ready to go in existing notebooks and now find I am faced with a massive reformatting task.

I can simply format for nice "regular" pages and students would scroll, but I figured since they were viewing documents on computer, there HAVE to be ways to capitalize on that.


  • $\begingroup$ Have you tried New > Slideshow... from the Mathematica File menu? $\endgroup$
    – m_goldberg
    Oct 30, 2013 at 14:23
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Hi, yes, the slide show looks great but doesn't (at least in my test) have printing to PDF setting that maintain the look of the document. The key here is that I have to export to PDF (which is crazy, the CDF format has so much more to offer) The specific dilemma for me is posting my notebooks to Google Docs... not horrible since I can "simply" export as they are, I was just hoping for more of an "online" viewing solution. $\endgroup$ Oct 30, 2013 at 14:48
  • $\begingroup$ What OS are you on? On my system, OS X, the PDF I get from choosing File > Print and them choosing to save as PDF in the Print dialog looks pretty good when the proper printer setup options are made. $\endgroup$
    – m_goldberg
    Oct 30, 2013 at 15:05
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, yes, I did try that, it does work, I think I am working around the same issues as this poster mathematica.stackexchange.com/questions/5925/… since an automated solution would be needed, and I'm having to reset the print settings each time... $\endgroup$ Oct 30, 2013 at 16:00
  • $\begingroup$ @TomDeVries to get the right look when you print you'll have to examine the StyleData[All, "Printout"] in your stylesheet as well as the StyleData["cell type", "Printout"] for each type of cell. I'd compare them to the slideshow styles and adjust accordingly. $\endgroup$ Oct 30, 2013 at 21:35

1 Answer 1


I do this kind of things regularly. The view of the PDF documents I obtain I find to be satisfactory. Sometimes there appears a conflict of the embedded figure and the page length. This may give rise to something like a part of the page with no text. If this is strongly unwanted, I fix this up manually (also not a big deal). To make the PDF file I simply save a notebook in question as a pdf. This works, though it may work not from the first trial, but after few of them. Generally, the larger is the notebook, the higher is the chance that I need to retry saving.

I guess that this satisfactory appearance is to extent due to the JournalArticle StyleSheet I use for my documents. It is a nice StyleSheet covering practically all my needs. It may be good for communication with students as well, especially in natural sciences.

It has only one drawback: the fonts used for text, captions and formulas are too small. Reading from the screen one should zoom-in considerably, especially if his vision is weak. When the original notebook is printed, it becomes still smaller. The workaround is to make a new style sheet using the JournalArticle one as a starting point, where you can increase the necessary fonts (also in the Printing environment) and add/remove some things according to your personal preferences.

I did that by rewriting the StyleSheet many times until achieving to the one I like. Then the CDF had emerged on the scene. Now I cannot use the personalized StyleSheet, since it will not be installed on the reader's machine. So I had to return to the original JournalArticle. However, for the purposes you explained this may be a solution.

Anyway, if you like, I can send you examples of one of the original notebooks and their pdf versions as well as my customized StyleSheet to begin with. I do not see, how to do that through the StackExchange environment. Therefore, if you would like to have that write me to [email protected]


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