I have a printer that can normally print up to A4 (8.27 x 11.69 inches) or US letter size (8.5 x 11 inches).

I'm thinking of keeping the width the same (8.5 inches) but increasing the height, based on an aspect ratio of my choice such as 21:9, 17:9 or 16:9 [1]. That way, I can get larger prints without having to buy a new printer, and I would anyway like a wider aspect ratio than A4. In other words, A4 is too squarish for my taste.

The printer driver lets me define a custom paper size:

enter image description here

But I haven't seen any documentation saying that the printer can print larger than US letter or A4. Does anyone know if it can? Do printers normally let you increase the paper height beyond the documented number while keeping the width the same?

I checked the PDF manual, and it tells me to refer to the software for the supported paper sizes, and the software seems happy with letting me print larger sizes. On the other hand, the aforelinked spec page doesn't say so.

Since I can't get paper in these custom sizes, I'm thinking of buying A3-sized glossy 240 GSM paper and cutting it down to this size using scissors. Do the edges of the paper need to be perfectly straight for it to not get stuck in the printer?

I'm assuming that if the printer can print borderless on 8.5-inch wide paper, it can do so no matter the height.

Is there anything else I need to keep in mind before I try this out?

[1] Or, accurately, 9:21, 9:17 and 9:16.

  • 1
    Interesting idea. It seems to me it is much easier to try this out (and post back with results) then to wait and see if someone had a similar experience and is willing to post here... Maybe glue 2 A4 sheets together and try to print a coarse b&w pattern on it with a custom set paper size to see if this works out (while conserving ink). – Saaru Lindestøkke Aug 16 '15 at 10:22
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    You can buy rolls of photo paper in A4 width. So you could cut that to the length you need. – vclaw Aug 16 '15 at 11:35
  • I love messing about with printers, sort of hardware hacking. I managed to get my epson to print on sheet metal once :-) I cant answer your question but will say that feeding it the wrong settings may well work, so long as it can grab the leading edge ok. However I personally dislike HP printers as they almost exclusively front-feed, and struggle with photo papers. – Digital Lightcraft Aug 16 '15 at 21:43
up vote 1 down vote accepted

It works:

enter image description here

This is an A3 sheet cut on the shorter side to match the shorter side of an A4 sheet. In other words, A4 is 8.27 x 11.69 inches, and A3 is 11.69 x 16.53 inches, and this sheet is 8.27 x 16.53 inches.

Not only does it print, but it prints borderless.

(Ignore the vertical lines; the printer is low on ink.)

  • Do not print borderless! Depending on the printer you will have an ink mess. Trim AFTER you print it. – Rafael Aug 17 '15 at 15:16
  • Mess inside the printer? That should be the case only if the size of the paper I fed in is smaller than the one configured in the print dialog box, right? – Vaddadi Kartick Aug 17 '15 at 16:08

This looks like a novel idea but I doubt it will work. Certainly that has been my experience in the past. But... there are a huge number of specifics and you may be lucky.

All inkjets are physically/mechanically capable of printing indefinitely so long as there's ink and the paper goes through the pathway correctly. Unfortunately it does not follow that the electronics and firmware in the printer or the software (drivers) on your machine are similarly capable.

If they try to load the whole image/page into memory for example then it's not going to work if the image is too big.

My experience (with an Epson) was that they deliberately hobbled their driver/software to stop you inputting long custom page sizes so they could sell you a large format printer instead (with a large profit margin to go with it.)

I would expect that you won't be able to get much beyond A4 just because of arbitrary limitations put there by HP but the only way to find out for sure is to try - cut an A3 sheet down to 220mm on the short edge and try some custom page sizes.

Good luck - let us know how you get on.

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