Making a PDF Page Larger Than Germany

A few weeks ago, I shared on Mastodon one of my favourite Wikipedia graphics: an image on the PDF article which purportedly shows the maximum size of a page in Acrobat. I would like to correct the record.

Alex Chan (via Andy Baio):

Some version of this has been floating around the Internet since 2007, probably earlier. This tweet is pretty emblematic of posts about this claim: it’s stated as pure fact, with no supporting evidence or explanation. We’re meant to just accept that a single PDF can only cover about half the area of Germany, and we’re not given any reason why 381 kilometres is the magic limit.

I started wondering: has anybody made a PDF this big? How hard would it be? Can you make a PDF that’s even bigger?

Without spoiling things, it turns out pages can be considerably larger if you use Preview, and I do mean considerably.

Preview — now there is another piece of software that ought to have been on my list of favourite MacOS applications.