I’m going to concentrate on Photoshop here, but this will also include a method that will work in any image editing software. The aim is to specifically print your image in a designated area of a page. Scroll to the bottom of this to see the really easy way in the latest Photoshop versions.
So in this example we have an A4 printer and say we want to make a greeting card. To keep it simple our card will just be an A4 sheet folded once in half, we have our picture that we want on the front of the card, so how do we make it print on half the A4.
By default when you print it will set it to the center of the page rather than the top or bottom. In later versions of photoshop you can specify where the image is printed but the other way to do this is as follows.
First create a new document at the size of the paper you are printing on, so in this case A4 (297 x 210mm), ensure that it has a white background colour – most printers don’t print white! So now where ever you position your image in this A4 document is where it will be printed on the page, allowing you to do basic page layout.
Now you’ll want to position it, to do this first make sure you have the rulers showing on your images – do this by pressing CTRL + R or by going to the top menu, selecting ‘View’ and then ‘Rulers’. Look closely at your measurements on these rulers, they may not be set to anything useful. You can change the unit of measurement on these rulers by doing the following: go to the top menu and click ‘edit’ and then at the bottom look for ‘preferences’ and then click ‘Units & Rulers’. In this dialogue box you can then change the units to cm, mm, inches etc… (in other versions of Photoshop, the preferences maybe under the file menu). If you have your rulers showing you can actually just double click any ruler to bring up the units preference OR just right click on a ruler to change the units of measurement for even more simplicity (and you look like a pro).
OK, so we should now have rulers on our A4 document – this will now allow us to draw some guides and accurately place our image. If you click and hold the left mouse button on the ruler (either one) and then drag your mouse pointer from here on to the canvas you will see a line appear (normally light blue). This is a guide – don’t worry it won’t get printed!
So now we can position these guides – for my example I dragged a guide from the top ruler to 148.5mm, remember that you can zoom into your canvas to minutely adjust where your guides are. If you want to remove a guide just click and drag it back on to the ruler. If you want to quickly hide guides then you can press CTRL + H to show/ hide guides.
OK so now we have guides we can now add in our image and place it on the page and we can be pretty confident of where it will get printed on the paper.
Now its possible that due to varying factors such as different image resolutions and dimensions your image won’t fit perfectly on the page, maybe its too big or to small. If you press CTRL + T you can transform and scale your image accordingly – hold the shift key when you do this to keep everything in scale. You can also find transformations under the ‘edit’ menu at the top.
Ok so below are the following steps to follow to layout your image to be printed pretty much exactly where you want it to.
Create document the size of the paper you are printing on (CTRL + N)
Show rulers (CTRL + R) and set them to a print measurement (mm, cm etc..) (right click on rulers)
Drag guides from the rulers to create a grid to help position your image
Select all of the image you want to print (CTRL + A)
Copy it to your clipboard (CTRL + C)
Change to your A4 document
Paste your image in here (CTRL + V)
Now line it up on the guides and resize it if needed (CTRL + T holding shift key to keep transformations in scale)
That should get you started for now – you can also add in guides to allow for printer margins, borders and so on. This method has the benefit of allowing you to place multiple images on one sheet of A4 and you can expand on this to do montages and framing – if you do decide to do multiple images then the layer palette will be your friend!
One final tip for positioning this way – you can set some options for how you place your images, this is called ‘Snap’ and it allows you to snap your images to the guides, a grid, another image and so on – these settings can be found under the ‘View’ menu at the top.
Of course in later versions of photoshop you can do all of this by just click print (CTRL +P ) and then setting up your margins and position here- thats it! Shame it took several versions before we had this functionality.
Although this only allows you to print the one image. For much better page layout and framing you should look at DTP (DeskTop Publishing) packages like Adobe InDesign.
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