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Why is only the left hand part of my page printed?


My question concerns a problem I have had since day one, Printing! When I print a page words on the right hand side are cut off all the way down the page. My Printer is a HP Business Inkjet2250 an nobody seems to understand why it does this.

Very frustrating, I know. It’s quite common.

The good news is that it’s not necessarily your printer. It’s more likely to be the program that you’re printing from.

And I’ll bet that program is Internet Explorer.

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Printing only the left hand side of a page

The issue of words getting cut off when printing is likely not your HP Business Inkjet 2250 printer’s fault but the program you’re using to print. Internet Explorer is notorious for this. Check the “Page Setup” in the File menu to adjust margins and scaling. If the program allows, use “Fit to Page” or “Shrink to Fit.” For more flexibility, consider using Firefox, which has a “Shrink To Fit Page Width” option.

So before I place all the blame on Internet Explorer, if you’re using some other program, for example Microsoft Word, then you need to play with your application’s printer settings. Typically that would be in the File menu, Page Setup… item. Different applications put it in different places, or give it different names, bit that’s the most common.

In there you should experiment with things like page margins, and if the applications supports it, something called “scaling”. Scaling, often called “Fit to page”, is a way to tell the application to shrink what’s being printed so that it actually fits between the margins you’ve defined.

And there’s the rub. Not all applications have the ability to “shrink to fit”.

Most notably Internet Explorer. If you print from within the Internet Explorer browser, you pretty much get what you get. You can play with margins somewhat in the Page Setup… menu item, or perhaps try printing in “landscape” (sideways) instead or “portrait”. But those are about your only options.

One solution is to use FireFox as a browser. Click on its File menu, and then Page Setup… menu item,
and right there on the Format & Options tab is the setting we want to see: Shrink To Fit Page Width. Make sure that’s selected, and you should get the results you’re looking for.

I continue to run FireFox as my primary browser and am quite happy with it. Flexibility in printing is just another nifty feature that’s frosting on the cake for me.

But I’m hopeful that IE 7, when it is finally released, will have a similar feature.

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13 comments on “Why is only the left hand part of my page printed?”

  1. Hi Leo,
    Greetings from Australia.
    The printing of web pages has had me thinking for a long time, what I stumbled over recently was that if I saved the web page from explorer and then opened it again while off line I found the option on the tool bar of “edit with front page” when you click on that icon and get the page up it prints out ok,I reckon that’s easier than playing with printer settings.
    One snag though, I can’t remember how the front page icon got to the tool bar, did I tell explorer to make front page my default editor?
    Over to you.
    Chris Faulkner.

  2. Hi Leo! I really enjoy getting your “ask Leo” newsletters. They are so informative. It is irritating to print a receipt or article online to see the right margin cut off. I have found something the seems to solve that problem. Before clicking “print”, I hold the CTRL on my keyboard then use the middle wheel on my mouse ~ scrolling either front or back, which decreases or increases the font size. It doesn’t work for everything, but most of the time it does. Decreasing the size gives you a complete printed page.

  3. Thank you. Yes, that’s another approach, but as you see, it doesn’t work for all sites.

    A friend of mine confirmed that IE7 does, in fact, include scaling or “fit to page”. Good news.

  4. I’ve just purchased a Canon(fairly basic)printer and it came with a nifty piece of software that addresses precisely this issue. It’s called “Web Easy-print” and it’s a tool bar thar sits under the main IE tool bar. Simply click on the “print” button and it fits the entire web page onto the sheet. I’m surprised that other printer manufacturers don’t follow suit..

  5. Thanks Leo. I always used CANON “easy web print”when I was using Internet Explorer without any problem but could not do this with Firefox,and have been frustrated for several weeks until I found your site Problem solved! its a simple solution but not in the Firefox forums? THANK YOU VERY MUCH.Regards Chippy

  6. Hi Leo. Read your article but am still having trouble with resizing web pages with Firefox. I’ve used the Shrink to Fit from File and Tools. Everything is fine in Print Preview, but that’s all that works. When I save it, I still have only the left side. Any hints?

  7. My problem was losing the right side copy. Your information was perfect and I am able to print the full page to scale BUT now I cannot get web page type enlarged so they could be easier to read.How do I rvert back to the settings I had before. I have trie but nothing works. Hope you can help. Thanks

  8. I have found that the “fit to page” setting sometimes results in text that is too small to read. This is really frustrating when what you want is in the center of the page, but you don’t really want the Ad Words, etc that are often down the right side. I have found that sometimes, right clicking in the area I want to print, and selecting print will just print the main article. I usually try the print preview option first, just to be sure.

  9. hi from ireland and thanks so much for your help, i just couldnt remember how to change from landscape to portrait and you solved it in secounds. thanks again for your help

  10. A few months ago the same printing problem happened. Thousands emailed hotmail/msn and complained. They were flooded. After about 6 weeks they fixed it. Unfortunately, I lost the email address where I wrote 16 nasty complaints. All were answered by tech support in either India/ Indonesia. Also, as I pay for storage I threatened to stop my hotmail & change my email. (But after 7 years of having hotmail, it will be difficult to change.) I suggest that everyone again flood them with complaints until they fix it. ( One of their suggestions which was unacceptable was to copy & paste.)

  11. In IE7 & IE8 you can size most websites for printing very easily. Click the little down arrow next to the printer icon on the toolbar and select Print Preview. If what you see is not what you want, click the down arrow next to the box which probably says “Shrink to fit.” Choose “custom” where you’ll see the actual percent IE has selected. Just by entering different percentages, either enlarging or shrinking what you just saw in the preview, you can audition for what you want printed. There are few websites you cannot do this with, but most work fine.


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