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Old Feb 26, 2007, 11:10 AM   #1
MACDRIVE
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How do you write a letter?

How would I write a letter on a blank page for sending to the printer for printing, similar to writing an e-mail?
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Old Feb 26, 2007, 11:11 AM   #2
LeeTom
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You could use the TextEdit program, located in the Applications folder.
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Old Feb 26, 2007, 11:15 AM   #3
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Um ... I'm gonna assume you want to print to letterhead?

I usually do it "old school" -- I write the letter, print it to good ole' white paper, hold the letterhead behind it against the light and then figure out what I need to do to make it look ok on the letterhead. Couple of tries and it works ok.

I'm sure there are better ways, though -- I'm not very good with physical space.

But ... you might want to clarify your question. For all I know you're asking what the proper format is for a business letter?
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Old Feb 26, 2007, 11:16 AM   #4
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Quote:
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You could use the TextEdit program, located in the Applications folder.
Ok I saw that, but how do I enlarge the fonts so I can see what I'm writing?
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Old Feb 26, 2007, 11:19 AM   #5
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In TextEdit:

Format>Fonts>Bigger or Smaller

Select the text first, though.
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Old Feb 26, 2007, 11:23 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MACDRIVE View Post
Ok I saw that, but how do I enlarge the fonts so I can see what I'm writing?
The default font size in TextEdit is 12pt. Which is too large for a letter so infact you will need to reduce it to no less than 8pt. 9pt is standard. Once you reduce it you can then zoom in using the little tab thingy at the bottom that will say something like 50% or something. Set it to 150% or even 200% to zoom in.
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Old Feb 26, 2007, 11:23 AM   #7
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If you need something a little less basic, you will need to buy a word processing software program like Pages which is one of the two programs in iWork 06. There is of course Microsoft Word for Mac.

If cash is tight check out this site http://www.opensourcemac.org

There you will find a list of open scource software for Mac's including "Neo Office" and "Abi Word" which are free word processing software programs.


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Old Feb 26, 2007, 11:34 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacboobsPro View Post
The default font size in TextEdit is 12pt. Which is too large for a letter so infact you will need to reduce it to no less than 8pt. 9pt is standard. Once you reduce it you can then zoom in using the little tab thingy at the bottom that will say something like 50% or something. Set it to 150% or even 200% to zoom in.
Actually, we use 12pt for letters here at work, sometimes 11pt if it's just barely too big for one page. That said, it's Times New Roman 12pt which could be a completely different size that whatever TextEdit's 12pt is.

Oh, and as for making it so you can read, I would look for some kind of zoom option, that way you're not messing with actual formatting.
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Old Feb 26, 2007, 11:55 AM   #9
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Wow! Thank you to everyone for the responses.

Ok I figured out how to how to make the fonts bigger when I write, but when I send the page to the printer, the font size on paper is smaller than on the Text Edit screen. How do I get them to be the same size?
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Old Feb 26, 2007, 01:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MACDRIVE View Post
but when I send the page to the printer, the font size on paper is smaller than on the Text Edit screen. How do I get them to be the same size?
i was about to write a "how the hell can you be Macrumors 65816 and not know how to use textedit" post, until i realized i have this exact same problem and i have yet to find a good answer for it. after upping the point size it eventually prints bigger but the correlation between point size on screen and point size printed seems arbitrary at best to me.
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Old Feb 26, 2007, 01:45 PM   #11
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When you are in the print setup sheet, click the "Preview" button.
That should show you exactly what it will print to scale with the paper.
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Old Feb 26, 2007, 01:47 PM   #12
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Although solving the print problem will be useful for all sorts of other things, presumably you're going to send this letter to someone else, and unless they have some kind of sight disability, they might not appreciate a letter that's set in size 30pt text with three words per page.

As long as it prints out at say, 12pt, I think the recipient of the letter will thank you for not adjusting the print size, even if you need it much larger to view on screen for yourself.
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Old Feb 26, 2007, 01:51 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by MACDRIVE View Post
Ok I figured out how to how to make the fonts bigger when I write, but when I send the page to the printer, the font size on paper is smaller than on the Text Edit screen. How do I get them to be the same size?
You are using TextEdit in Rich Text mode, aren't you?

Format > Make Rich Text

Then you can set font size using the font panel CMD-T. Er, just like a word processor.

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Old Feb 26, 2007, 01:53 PM   #14
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except that doing that does not work with any consistency - the screen size and the print size do not change in the way you would expect. you can up the screen size and the print size remains the same.
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Old Feb 26, 2007, 01:59 PM   #15
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This is roughly 12pt on paper

This is roughly 9pt.

Obviously I am aware the size will change a little depending on your screen res. But im sure you will agree its a bit big for a letter.

As a designer, for me, 12pt is fecking HUGE.

ready2switch the percentage thingy i mentioned earlier IS the zoom feature. It doesnt mess with thr formatting.

Another tip is turn 'wrap to page' on it gives you a better view for where the text will sit in relation to the edge of the paper once printed.
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Old Feb 26, 2007, 02:02 PM   #16
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except that doing that does not work with any consistency - the screen size and the print size do not change in the way you would expect. you can up the screen size and the print size remains the same.
Well it works fine for me.

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Old Feb 26, 2007, 02:08 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacboobsPro View Post
This is roughly 12pt on paper

This is roughly 9pt.

Obviously I am aware the size will change a little depending on your screen res. But im sure you will agree its a bit big for a letter.

As a designer, for me, 12pt is fecking HUGE.
Does it look quite as big now?
Too small for me.

Most people will use a more compact font (like Times New Roman/Garamond/...) for letters, where 12 pt. is far from inappropriate.

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Old Feb 26, 2007, 02:10 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by balamw View Post
Does it look quite as big now?

Most people will use a more compact font (like Times New Roman/Garamond/...) for letters, where 12 pt. is far from inappropriate.

B
No but you have used a smaller type size in your post.

Times may look smaller than say Frutiger or Arial but 12pt is still too big for a letter in my opinion. I'm not arguing here I'm just saying I think its too big. FYI Gill Sans looks almost a point size smaller than most other fonts at the same size. So I would up it one size for a letter but I probably would still only hit 10pt or 11 at a real push.
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Old Feb 26, 2007, 02:13 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by MacboobsPro View Post
No but you have used a smaller font in your post.
My point is that the appropriate font height will depend of the font you choose. I made the fonts in my post size 3 and no size as you did, just changing the font.

12 point Times New Roman is nicely readable and compact. 12 point Arial is just hideous.

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Old Feb 26, 2007, 02:16 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by balamw View Post
My point is that the appropriate font height will depend of the font you choose. I made the fonts in my post size 3 and no size as you did, just changing the font.

12 point Times New Roman is nicely readable and compact. 12 point Arial is just hideous.

B
Fair dos!

Like I said im not arguing just stating my opinion/preference. Design is all about opinion anyway.
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Old Feb 26, 2007, 08:56 PM   #21
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Old Feb 26, 2007, 09:46 PM   #22
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No but you have used a smaller type size in your post.

Times may look smaller than say Frutiger or Arial but 12pt is still too big for a letter in my opinion. I'm not arguing here I'm just saying I think its too big. FYI Gill Sans looks almost a point size smaller than most other fonts at the same size. So I would up it one size for a letter but I probably would still only hit 10pt or 11 at a real push.
Be that as it may, the standard font size for letters comes from typewriters, which generally outputted Courier or Pica in 10-pitch or 12-pitch. Translated to point sizes, that works out to being about 12 point or 10 point. 9 point is just too small for a standard letter. 11 is just about perfect, unless you're using an especially wide font.
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Old Feb 28, 2007, 03:26 AM   #23
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Fair dos!

Like I said im not arguing just stating my opinion/preference. Design is all about opinion anyway.
Right, but letterwriting isn't a free-for-all. Standard business forms (and official government correspondence) are printed in Times New Roman, 12 point. If using an Arial-class typeface, 10 point is the standard. All of these details (along with page margins, spacing lines, and other formatting) should have been instructed in a business class, computer applications class, or professional training program and references are available online as a refresher. For what it's worth, the forum default text on both Macs and Windows is set to the standard size and prints out exactly correct for letters on all of my machines. Linux is inconsistent.

There are rules to traditional correspondence (such as the four space signature block between closure and printed name; standardized dictation notation at the bottom of the letter [ABC:yz]; a specifically designated starting line for business letters (somewhere around the 14th, though I haven't set it manually in ages); and so on.

Paper, envelopes, and document forms are all designed around these standards, as are legal pleadings (which use their own set of additional rules). For formal correspondence, it is extremely poor form to deviate from the norm. You wouldn't submit your CV on plain copier paper, right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackstone View Post
Be that as it may, the standard font size for letters comes from typewriters, which generally outputted Courier or Pica in 10-pitch or 12-pitch. Translated to point sizes, that works out to being about 12 point or 10 point. 9 point is just too small for a standard letter. 11 is just about perfect, unless you're using an especially wide font.
Right.
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Old Feb 6, 2012, 06:00 AM   #24
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If you want a very simple app for word processing, take a look at Bean, which you can find in the App Store. I find using it very easy to use (and very intuitive) - even I can figure out how to change fonts, sizing, etc.

I'm sure it will be even easier for you...I'm as unsophisticated as it gets.

It's a wonderful little app for things that don't need all kinds of goodies.

And it's FREE!!

Good luck with your work - whatever program you use.
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Old Feb 6, 2012, 10:14 AM   #25
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You could do it all online with a browser for free.

Google Docs is a free alternative to Microsoft Word.

docs.google.com
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