Making a PDF that’s larger than Germany

A few times a year, a claim will make the rounds that the largest PDF you can make is a square covering about the middle section of Germany – 381 km × 381 km. Turns out, this is only the maximum size Acrobat Reader can display, and not the limit of the format itself at all. So, how big can you go? Very big:

If you’re curious, that width is approximately the distance between the Earth and the Moon. I’d have to get my ruler to check, but I’m pretty sure that’s larger than Germany.

I could keep going. And I did. Eventually I ended up with a PDF that Preview claimed is larger than the entire universe – approximately 37 trillion light years square. Admittedly it’s mostly empty space, but so is the universe. If you’d like to play with that PDF, you can get it here.

Please don’t try to print it.

↫ Alex Chan

Don’t worry, I’m out of magenta anyway.


  1. 2024-02-02 3:39 pm
  2. 2024-02-02 5:20 pm