Size matters
December 18, 2009 10:19 AM   Subscribe

How can I print 34 lines of text so that it takes up exactly 6.125 inches? Or equivalently, so that each line is .18 inches. I tried different fonts in various word processors but always ended up a little to large or too small. There's probably an obvious way to do this using some easily available software (preferably free) but I can't seem to figure out what it is.
posted by Obscure Reference to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You could make a 1X1 table in Word and specify the row height as 6.125 inches, paste your text and change the font size until it fits, hiding the borders of the table.
posted by urbanlenny at 10:25 AM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

The easiest way would be to use the free inkscape program, create a text block, turn on proportional resizing (so you do not get crazy wide / tall letters) and resize to the exact measurement you need. It can export to svg, pdf, png, gif, whatever is most convenient. Scribus is a free desktop publishing app that should be able to do this pretty easily too.
posted by idiopath at 10:27 AM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

A vector-based art program like Illustrator is ideal for this.
posted by infinitewindow at 10:32 AM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

In Word you can specify the (point) spacing between lines [Format -> Paragraph -> Indents and Spacing ->Line Spacing -> Exactly -> specification]. Combined with the right font size and type, you might be able to get it to line up just right.
posted by googly at 10:43 AM on December 18, 2009

Just did a test in Word 2007. Times New Roman, 11pt, Line Spacing exactly 13pt.
posted by jckll at 10:48 AM on December 18, 2009

I suggested inkscape (a vector graphics program) first because I know the program better, but the issue you are dealing with is specifically a desktop publishing issue, and as a desktop publishing program, scribus is exactly what is needed here.

Step by step:
new document
create text frame
right click on the frame and select "edit text"
insert the text, select a good font, etc.
click on the icon for "update text frame"
with the text frame selected select item menu -> convert to outlines
resize until the measurements are the ones you need by clicking and dragging the text box
posted by idiopath at 10:50 AM on December 18, 2009

Seconding jckll...

If you're using Word, it should simply be a matter of using Format > Paragraph from the menu, then setting the line spacing to 13pt.

A line height of 13 points is very nearly equivalent to 0.18 inches.
Calculation: 0.013836 points = 1 inch, so (0.18 / .013836) = 13.01 points.

Once you've set the line spacing to 13pt, you can play about with the font size all you like - the line height should stay the same.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 10:55 AM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

le morte de bea arthur is very close.

1 point = 1/72 in. There are therefore 441 points in 6.125 in of space.

To achieve that size perfectly, you would set the line spacing to exactly 12.9705882 points (I'm not sure how many decimal points Word will take in that field). But setting line spacing to 13 points will give you 442 points for 34 lines, or 6.125 in + an extra 1/72 of an inch. That is likely within your tolerance.

It doesn't matter what font or font size you pick at that point, except that a font size larger than 11 pts will look a little close, vertically, and a font size larger than 13 points will get shaved off above at the highest and lowest parts of the letters.
posted by drlith at 11:22 AM on December 18, 2009

13 point seems to work. Thanks all! (Meanwhile, still installing Inkscape. Why does it take so long to install?)
posted by Obscure Reference at 11:32 AM on December 18, 2009


A point is defined as 1/72 of 1 inch. So 6.126 inches = (6.126)*(1/72) = 441 points

441 is not divisible by 34. It comes to just under 13.
So 13pt*34 is the closest you're going to get (442)

You can do 12*34 = 408 and adjust a few of the lines manually to get the extra 33 points.
posted by jckll at 11:37 AM on December 18, 2009

Ack, 6.125 inches
posted by jckll at 11:38 AM on December 18, 2009

Ack2, beaten on preview :(
posted by jckll at 11:39 AM on December 18, 2009

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