Mobileread
PDF Aspect Ratio
#1  Bookchin 07-30-2019, 08:00 PM
I am trying to choose a tablet to buy to use as a PDF reader.

Some tablets (e.g. Samsung Galaxy Book 12) have a 3:2 aspect ratio screen, while the iPad Pro 12.9" has a 4:3 aspect ratio screen.

I notice that among my own collection of academic PDF papers, some are 3:2 though most seem to be 4:3.

My question is: Does the aspect ratio of the tablet screen matter? And do PDF files adjust themselves in any way to fit a given screen's aspect ratio?
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#2  dwig 07-30-2019, 08:24 PM
Quote Bookchin
...do PDF files adjust themselves in any way to fit a given screen's aspect ratio?
PDF files do not "adjust themselves" to fit the screen, nor to any document or ebook files.

That said, some reading software can adjust files in some formats to fit the display. PDF files, though, are almost always fixed in their layout and no application can make them fit the display without distortion of the document's appearance, possibly compromising readability. On somewhat rare occasions you will encounter a PDF file that was built with support for reflowing the text and some applications can use this to reflow the text to fit the display shape and possibly allow font size changes. Reflowing is not something that the display application can "add" to the file, it has to be done by the application that originally generated the PDF.
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#3  Bookchin 07-30-2019, 08:26 PM
Quote dwig
PDF files do not "adjust themselves" to fit the screen, nor to any document or ebook files.

That said, some reading software can adjust files in some formats to fit the display. PDF files, though, are almost always fixed in their layout and no application can make them fit the display without distortion of the document's appearance, possibly compromising readability. On somewhat rare occasions you will encounter a PDF file that was built with support for reflowing the text and some applications can use this to reflow the text to fit the display shape and possibly allow font size changes. Reflowing is not something that the display application can "add" to the file, it has to be done by the application that originally generated the PDF.
Thanks. So would it be best to go with a 4:3 screen for PDFs?
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#4  dwig 07-30-2019, 09:24 PM
Quote Bookchin
Thanks. So would it be best to go with a 4:3 screen for PDFs?
No matter what you get you will encounter a good number of PDFs that "don't fit". Your choice of reading software is more important than the shape of the device's screen. You need to find an application that pads the margins or the overall app UI in a pleasant manner when the document isn't a good fit for the screen. This is a mix of personal taste and trial-and-terror.

If you are reading PDFs that were produced from either the original design layout programs used for the print versions or from scans of print versions you will likely find that a squarer 3:4 fits PDFs of books designed for large academic textbook and US magazine formats. A 2:3 display will fit files designed for, or scanned from, paperback books and European or Asian magazines. Also, American (North and South) business documents are closer to the 3:4 aspect ratio which other areas use A4 documents which fit 2:3 a bit better.
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#5  Bookchin 07-30-2019, 09:50 PM
Quote dwig
No matter what you get you will encounter a good number of PDFs that "don't fit". Your choice of reading software is more important than the shape of the device's screen. You need to find an application that pads the margins or the overall app UI in a pleasant manner when the document isn't a good fit for the screen. This is a mix of personal taste and trial-and-terror.

If you are reading PDFs that were produced from either the original design layout programs used for the print versions or from scans of print versions you will likely find that a squarer 3:4 fits PDFs of books designed for large academic textbook and US magazine formats. A 2:3 display will fit files designed for, or scanned from, paperback books and European or Asian magazines. Also, American (North and South) business documents are closer to the 3:4 aspect ratio which other areas use A4 documents which fit 2:3 a bit better.
By reading software, do you mean apps like Goodreader, Calibre, etc?
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#6  lumpynose 07-30-2019, 09:51 PM
I'm perhaps stating the obvious but depending on what you're reading, if you need more width you can turn the tablet sideways and then scroll down and up on the page.
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#7  dwig 07-30-2019, 10:59 PM
Quote Bookchin
By reading software, do you mean apps like Goodreader, Calibre, etc?
Yes.

I use several. For pure reading of literature (books, journals, plug magazines, ...) I generally use BookBazaarReader on Windows 10 on my MS Surface Go (3:2). I will also use Acrobat Reader, Foxit, or Nitro when appropriate, generally reading and/or printing "documents" and various instruction manuals, etc. on either the Go or my Windows 10 desktop. On my iMac at work I generally use Acrobat Reader as I only read documents there. I only rarely read PDFs on my aging Kindle K3/Keyboard.
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#8  Marinolino 08-01-2019, 10:33 AM
Quote Bookchin
I am trying to choose a tablet to buy to use as a PDF reader.

Some tablets (e.g. Samsung Galaxy Book 12) have a 3:2 aspect ratio screen, while the iPad Pro 12.9" has a 4:3 aspect ratio screen.

I notice that among my own collection of academic PDF papers, some are 3:2 though most seem to be 4:3.

My question is: Does the aspect ratio of the tablet screen matter? And do PDF files adjust themselves in any way to fit a given screen's aspect ratio?
You might find the screen portraite width to be as important to you.

e.g. A4 and US-letter sized documents are 210 cm and 216 cm wide respectively, and the text column width (without empty margins) is usually about 17-18 cm wide.

Samsung Galaxy Book 12; 2160 x 1440 @ 216 ppi = 16.9 cm width in portraite

iPad Pro 12.9; 2732 x 2048 @ 265 ppi = 19.6 cm

So, on iPad we could read some of them in portraite mode even with intact margins thereon or get a considerable magnification by reading without margins (zoomed in without margins or with margins cropped by 50-60 %).

Similar is the case with 10"/11" readers in the landscape mode, where we might find those with wider screens in landscape (i.e. with longer screen in portraite), better suited for reading wider pdfs and comics.
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