How do I design an A4 PDF so it displays properly on a mobile screen?

Anonymous February 3, 2014
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I am developing a mobile app. It will be used to view an actual magazine whose page size is A4. The magazine will be converted to either PDF or ePub or any other good file format. How do i fit an a4 size page to a mobile screen?

  1. Oron J
    February 3, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    PDF is really less than ideal for portable devices. By default, it will be resized so that each page fits the screen. The option can be changed either in the reader or in the PDF using a suitable driver or editor but by the sound of it, this is what you want anyway.

    However, since PDF preserves the layout of the page, the text will probably be too small to be readable. This is the reason why most publishers use reflowable formats such as ePub and Mobi, which are essentially repackaged HTML pages. Of course, the price you pay for that is that you have to design the magazine with reflow in mind - the layout cannot (or rather, should not) be fixed.

    • Smith
      February 4, 2014 at 12:25 pm

      Thanks for your suggestions,
      Actually, i need to create a mobile library, where each book will have flip effect, i saw and andriod app that does this, but i dont know the programming language or can i remember the name.
      I have looked at some javascript api which seems to work well on pc and tablet, but not on smaller mobile device
      Now the magazine is designed in coreldraw, I dont know if it s possible to use reflow there, and if i use reflow, then the page numbering / order would not be as in the hard copy of the magazine.
      Any suggestion on this?

    • Oron J
      February 4, 2014 at 10:24 pm

      I think you understand the issues. As you point out, if you use CorelDraw to design your document then you're going to get a fixed layout, and if you go for reflow (with other software, obviously), then you'll not get fixed layout and page numbers will change from device to device.

      Unfortunately, that's just where we're at with the technology. There are different screen sizes and the reflow formats, which are basically HTML, are very primitive (try doing a reflowable dual-column layout this way!) so for just now, and probably for at least a few more years, this is the stark choice you have.