Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Whenever I want to print a PDF file from Preview, the print dialog defaults to shrink the page to fit the bounds of the page. I have to manually select scale: and enter 100 into the text field. Is there a hidden default or other way, to tell Preview to always default to 100% print size?

Using a saved print setting as suggested below does not work in this case. I'm using Preview 5.0.2 (504) and Mac OS X 10.6.4, perhaps a bug?

When I save the setting I want to have, open another PDF file, select print, and select my saved settings, the scale: setting jumps to some arbitrary value around 100% (90%-105%) and the radio box stays at "scale to Fit:".

share|improve this question
up vote 6 down vote accepted

quit the Preview App, enter the following into your Terminal application and then start Preview again. Problem solved!

defaults write PVImagePrintingScaleMode 0

to revert this setting, you can use the following command:

defaults delete PVImagePrintingScaleMode
share|improve this answer
Great, this is what I was looking for, thanks – tonklon Jun 10 '11 at 20:57
What value would you write to turn scaling on by default? – duozmo Oct 3 '12 at 18:56

The Print dialog window allows the saving of presets. Set things how you want them to be and save the settings. You can apply the settings to all printers or just one printer. You can also change your settings and then select "Use last settings" as well.

share|improve this answer
Great idea, I haven't thought of this, but in this case it does not work. See edit above. – tonklon Oct 6 '10 at 13:50
In what way? It works for me in Mac OS 10.6 just fine. – Philip Regan Oct 6 '10 at 13:51
You're too fast. See my editied question above. – tonklon Oct 6 '10 at 13:59
I don't think this works because saved presets only cover application-neutral settings. Scaling factor is specific to Preview. – duozmo Oct 3 '12 at 18:58

I would use Terminal commands slightly different from @Bart's above, although those work just fine.

To disable Preview's default print scaling:

defaults write PVImagePrintingScaleMode -bool false

To restore Preview's default print scaling:

defaults write PVImagePrintingScaleMode -bool true 

That way, the default stays in Preview's plist, so I don't need some external reminder about that default if I'm poking into it next year when I've forgotten I did this.

Incidentally, the first time I started up Preview after disabling its print scaling, it seemed to hang on launch, so I force-quit and then tried again and it was fine.

Hmm. Tried to edit to make the code lines show...

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.