Paged Media

In CSS terms, a paged medium is any medium where a document’s presentation is handled as a series of discrete “pages.” This is different than the screen, which is a continuous medium: documents are presented as a single, scrollable “page.” An analog example of a continuous medium is a papyrus scroll. Printed material, such as books, magazines, and laser printouts, are all paged media. So too are slideshows, where a series of slides are shown one at a time. Each slide is a “page” in CSS terms.

Print Styles

Even in the “paperless future,” the most commonly encountered paged medium is a printout of some document—a web page, a word-processing document, a spreadsheet, or something else that has been committed to the thin wafers of a dead tree. Authors can do a number of things to make printouts of their documents more pleasing for the user, from affecting page-breaking to creating styles meant specifically for print.

Note that print styles would also be applied to document display in a “print preview” mode. Thus, it’s possible in some circumstances to see print styles on a monitor.

Differences between screen and print

Beyond the obvious physical differences, there are a number of stylistic differences between screen and print design. The most basic involves font choices. Most designers will tell you that sans-serif fonts are best suited for screen design, but serif fonts are more readable in print. Thus, you might set up a print style sheet that uses Times instead of Verdana ...

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