I'm using Zathura (using the MuPDF plugin) to review various layouts for printing. It's important to me that I'm looking at things approximately the same size as they will come out on paper. I realize the difference between screen pixels and how things look in print will still affect perception, but to save test prints while I rough out margins and trim sizes I want to be able to hold up a paper to the screen and have it match the canvas in my PDF viewer.

Zathura's default zoom level (100%) is anything but actual size. In fact it's off by almost ⅓. If I set the zoom to 133% I get something very close to actual size. How do I make this the default zoom level? I would like everything else to scale against that so that 50% is actually half size, etc. Is there a way to calibrate the settings to my monitors—some sort of scale factor setting perhaps?

Interestingly, Evince seems to know something about my monitor size because it scales things exactly right out of the box. 100% turns up on my monitor as exactly the right paper size (actually it's off by a smidgen, 100.5% is more like it but it would be close enough). On the other hand Acroread is off by a mile, but in the opposite direction as Zathura. There, a value of 87% works out about right—actual-size is actually jumbo scale.

How does Zathura decide what size to show at all? Is there a way to fix this so 100% is actually actual-size? Is there a system DPI value that can be set that will calibrate this?


2 Answers 2


maybe a bit late, but checkout the zathura configuration file (man zathurarc) for me the option set adjust-open "best-fit" was enough :) have a nice day

  • This does not do what the question is asking. The best-fit setting sizes the content to fit the dimensions of the window. I don't want to do that, I want to size it based of the physical properties of my monitor so that if I hold up an actual-size print to the screen it is the same size.
    – Caleb
    Aug 11, 2017 at 7:13
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    well, converting the measurements of a piece of paper from cm/inch to pixel and set the params: window-height, window-width in the zathurarc is not advanced mathematics. i also pointed you to the manpage for that config. for me does not indicate it's the right parameter for your specific problem.
    – znarf
    Aug 11, 2017 at 16:59
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    I know the math already. And I don't use a window manager that has height and with properties to even set. You're missing the point of the question, I want to know if there is a way to zero out the scale factor so 100% is actual size. I already know how to simulate this using math, and already turned the man pages inside out.
    – Caleb
    Aug 11, 2017 at 17:10
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    Caleb, I think @hnzjo might be expecting you to write a script of some sort to perform the arithmetic and to pass the relevant parameters to Zathura. hnzjo, if that is indeed your expectation, please could you clarify your answer to say so, and perhaps provide Caleb with an example with which to get started?
    – user6860
    Dec 18, 2017 at 1:55

I'm not sure if this solution will work for your use case, but I believe it technically answers the question (edit- specifically the question about a starting zoom level not everything asked):

Zathura does allow a zoom-min and zoom-max setting in the config file. You can use this to enforce a specific zoom level at launch. You will probably need to also use window-width and window-height to get the behavior you described, but it is possible.

For convenient use, I would create a separate config file for this specific scenario, and then assign an alias to use Zathura with that config as needed.

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