When it comes to printing documents, there are multiple page layout strategies to choose from. The most common are 2-up, 3-up, or more generally N-up. The goal of N-up printing is to reduce the number of pages that a document or book would otherwise require without making any changes to the paper, and according to a commit description, an upcoming version of Google Chrome will support it.
We recently discovered a merged commit in the Chromium Gerrit that suggests N-up printing is being added in a flag. It’ll likely make its way into version 68 of Chrome, and when it does, you’ll be able to manually enable it by accessing the page chrome://flags#enable-nup-printing. Since the feature will be hidden in Chrome’s flag page initially, it’s considered to be in active development until it makes its way to the stable version of Chrome.
N-up printing works by compositing multiple pre-rendered pages onto a single page, employing a variety of strategies including reductions in size, possible rotations, and subsequent arrangement in a grid pattern. It was popularized by file formats like PDG and page layout languages such as PostScript, and by publications like the Compact Oxford English Dictionary.
N-up printing is particularly useful in business environments where people are printing out hundreds or thousands of papers per day. However, fitting everything onto a single page has also been an issue for me in the past — sometimes, the printer ends up putting a line or two on a second page. To fix this, I’ve had to go back and make the text smaller and try again, but native support for N-up printing in Chrome would afford me — and everyone else who uses Chrome — a lot more flexibility in page layout.
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