Optimum page width for printing

What is the optimum width of a web page for printing? I have had a look around and there are a few figures tossed about: 750px, 705px, 650px etc.

If you look at http://www.alistapart.com/articles/goingtoprint/ you will see that an absolute width isn’t specified. Instead, the print stylesheet adjusts things so that the web browser is able to print the page at full printable width, whatever that is depending on the operating system and printer.

Personally I stick to a width of 750px (minimum width for screen media).

Since you will remove most of the non-contents blocks (menus, advertisements, footers, etc.) from the printed page, you should specify width: 100%. This will allow the contents to match the width of the paper, regardless of printer and paper type. After all, how wide is a piece of paper? 841 mm? 594 mm? 420 mm? 297 mm? 210 mm? 148 mm? 105 mm? 74 mm? 52 mm? Answer if all of the above, and even these numbers only covers ISO 216 paper sizes.

Also, how wide is a pixel in mm? If you’re going to specify a fixed width, at least do it in a real-world measurement.

In this matter, use the print CSS StyleSheet, that media type is there for a reason, when printing the full page width should be available, you do not want unnecessary images, navigation or other elements appearing within the printed page as they offer no value to a print copy. Not only this, you don’t want to waste paper… so do the end user a favour and use the natural 100% wide full page spread.