Print Whole Layout in 1:1 Scale (Updated)

SCARM 1.0 supports fully automatic printing of the track plan in real scale (1:1), but that feature is enabled only in the licensed version of the program. If you are using the freeware version, you should do the printout manually, page by page.

A. SCARM Licensed version

If you have SCARM 1.0 with license key, use “File” > “Print” menu command and then in the “Range”, select “All” and place a check mark on the “Full size (1:1)” option.

You can then print the track plan immediately or click on “Full-size preview” button in the bottom left corner of the Print dialog box and see how the track plan will be printed. In the preview window, you can select the pages orientation or click over a given page in order to include or exclude it from the printout.

When ready with the preview, select “File” > “Print” menu command to start the full-size printing. The pages will be automatically numbered like i.e. “5-2″ which means Column 5, Row 2.

You must not cut the white fields (printer margins) of the pages nor overlap them – just align the page borders side by side over the table for exact match.

B. SCARM Freeware version

Before you begin, you need to check the following:

1. Make sure that you have defined a baseboard for your layout with “Edit” > “Create Baseboard” command. It is needed to visually set the boundaries of the track plan and to help in orientation from where to where to print. See How to create baseboard FAQ topic for more info.

To quickly create rectangular baseboard around existing track plan, hold Shift while selecting Create Baseboard command.

2. Check the position of the layout on the drawing plot. Move it to the beginning of the coordinate system so the upper left corner of the layout to be as close as possible to the coordinates center (0,0). Zoom in for more precise matching.

The rulers and the grid can help you with the orientation.
To show the rulers (if they are turned off), press ‘R’ key.
To toggle the grid between dots, lines and off, press ‘G’ key.
To select all items on the drawing plot, hold Ctrl and press ‘A’ key.
To move the selection, right-click over selected item (i.e. track or figure) and use “Move” command from context menu.

Press “1:1″ button from the toolbar – this will enable Print Preview mode and will adjust zoom factor to 1:1 according to your printer’s default page size (probably Letter or A4). Then press Home key from the keyboard – this will move the view in the default position so (0,0) will be in the upper left corner of the screen. Now you are ready to print the first page.

A new option in the “View” > “Scale” menu is available, starting from SCARM v. 0.9.19. It is called “Lock Zoom” and is intended to preserve the zoom factor (to 1:1 in this case), disabling zooming by mistake with mouse wheel or by the ‘+’ and ‘-’ keys. It is useful “Lock Zoom” option to be checked during full-size printout procedure – a small yellow padlock will be displayed in the right corner of the status bar, showing that zoom is locked.

You need to write a number to the page i.e. “R1/ C1″ for 1st row and 1st column or “A1″ where A, B C,… will stands for rows and 1, 2, 3,… will stands for columns. You can put the number inside SCARM drawing, using text entering feature (“Edit” > “Place Text”) or you can write the number by hand after printing of each page.

Numbering is important – otherwise you will have a printed puzzle to solve.

Select “File” > “Print…” command and Print dialog box will appear. In “Range” field, select “Current page”. Pressing of “OK” button will send current page to the printer. If necessary, adjust printer properties such as color and quality, but do not change page orientation or page size.

If you need to change the page size, do it from the printer driver dialog, which is called by pressing of “Properties” button. When ready, close the printer driver and then press “Cancel” button in Print dialog box. Then start over with pressing of “1:1″ button and Home key. The page orientation is always selected automatically by SCARM.

When the first page is ready (printed), hold Ctrl and press right arrow key from the keyboard – this will move the view exactly one page to the right – this will be the second page. Print it and don’t forget to number it. Do it again and again until you reach the blue line of the baseboard border. Print the last page of the first row and then press Home key – SCARM will return the view to the initial position (the first page in top left corner).

Now hold Ctrl and press down arrow key from the keyboard – this will move the view with one page down to the second row. Print that page (don’t forget the numbering) and then print all other pages in the row, by moving with Ctrl + right arrow key. Do this for each row and pages in it until you print all of the pages in your layout.

Do not turn the mouse wheel and do not move the view (by mouse or by arrow keys). If you accidentally change the zoom or move the drawing plot, press again “1:1″ button and press Home key – this will bring you to the first (top left) page again. See your last printed page number and move to the next page in the printing sequence by holding Ctrl and moving with the arrow keys.

Note that SCARM automatically takes into account the printer margins (the white spaces at page borders where the printer is unable to print). You do not need to cut or overlap the white spaces – just align the page borders side by side and the printout will be exact.

This is the whole procedure for the freeware version. It is not very convenient and can be quite difficult for large sized track plans or layouts with custom shaped baseboards, so if you have a complex design that you intend to build, you can always get a SCARM License Key and leave that job to the program.

See also
How to create baseboard
How to print designed layout

29 thoughts on “Print Whole Layout in 1:1 Scale (Updated)

  1. I have purchased a license key. But when I print the track plan in 1: 1, the page is empty. If I print everything on 1 page, it’s fine. What is wrong?


    Bjørn in Norway

  2. Hello Bjorn,

    There is a bug in the automatic 1:1 printout routine in v. 1.0.0. It expects the track plan to be aligned to the beginning of the coordinate system (0,0) like in the manual procedure. I will fix that and will release updated version 1.0.1 in the beginning of the next month. Sorry for the inconvenience.

  3. Is there any way to only print the center line of a layout ?

    Great job with SCARM love it.

  4. Yes, If you mean the center lines of the tracks. Just select “Centers” in the track drawing options (“Tools” > “Settings” > “2D View” > “Tracks”) and deselect all other that you don’t need.

  5. After using the measuring tape it indicates the size layout I would like. When I print 1:1 using the steps in the free version. After laying out the paperwork on my bench work. The track sizes seemed small. I tested a simple n scale code 80 atlas 5” track its about an inch longer than the printout. I also tested a 9.75 and 11 both were not accurate. Is there something I’m doing wrong?

  6. Perhaps your printer is not printing 1:1, (i.e. it fits the whole page into its printable area) or the page size is wrong (i.e. it is set to print in A4, but the paper is Letter). Note also that Atlas N scale C80 tracks are little bit shorter than what is written on the label. I.e. the 5″ straight is actually 4.88″ when the real track is measured. However the difference is just 3mm and not whole inch.

  7. Hi. I have an HP Officejet 7500A Wide Format printer which prints on A3 size paper. The advanced print menu only shows A4 A5 or A6. Is there a way to print the 1:1 track plan using this size of paper as it would save a lot of joining?

  8. Hello Steve,

    Yes, if this size of paper is supported by the printer driver, you should be able to select it in the driver’s dialog and SCARM will then be able to make the 1:1 printout on it. If you cannot see this paper type in the printer driver’s dialog, look in the printer’s manual what can be the cause (i.e. wrong tray selected, no paper, etc).

  9. Hello. I have been attempting to print my track plan at 1:1 to no avail. I’ve bought the licensed version of SCARM and followed the instructions, yet when I try to print, I’ve gotten several dozen wasted pages with nothing but the filename and “Printed by SCARM” on them.

  10. Hello K.V.

    What version of SCARM do you use? There is a bug in v.1.0.0 that may give such results, but it was already fixed in v.1.0.1.

    If you have the most recent version (1.2.0), send me your project file for reviewing and I will check where is the problem.

  11. I am currently using the newest Atlas free version. Printing 1:1 works correctly if I use my Samsung Laser printer with 8 1/2 x 11 paper. However the scale changes if I use my large format Epson Pro 3800 large format printer with 17×22″ paper. Each track just gets much bigger including the track spacing. It appears that the program only recognizes 8 1/2 x 11 paper…or I’m doing something wrong. How do I work around it, or what might I be doing wrong? Otherwise this is an awesome program… Vance

  12. Hello Vance,
    The program prints in the same way on any paper size. However, there may be some settings in the different printer drivers that alter the printing i.e., some drivers automatically fits or enlarges the content on the page by default. Check your driver to be sure that it prints everything “as is” and always ensure that you print in the correct scale within the program.

  13. Hello! Is there a way to set portrait mode when printing (not 1: 1).
    I try to set it through the properties of the printer, but when I open the preview window of SCARM it is reset to landscape mode.

    I’m using licensed SCARM 1.3.0

  14. Hello Andrey,

    You need to use a trick in order to outwit SCARM for that :)

    Do the following: start the program, lay some straight track and then rotate it at 90 degree, so it becomes vertical. Then select “View” > “Show as Print Preview” – the preview will show in portrait mode. Now open your plan and print it.

  15. I am new to this hobby. What does 1:1 printing?
    Does it means that I will get extact track sized printed on huge paper ?

  16. Yes, you will get exactly that – a printout that can be glued on the table and then you can lay your tracks over it with exact matching. You can do that on any paper size, even on A4 or Letter, however, you may need a lot of these small sheets depending on the size of your layout.

  17. I would like to print to PDF in 1: 1 scale on A3 so I can take it to a commercial printer later, but the program responds to me …”Cannot set printer driver properties. (DocumentProperties failed)”… and then it crashes.
    Best regards

  18. It seems that there is an incompatibility between SCARM and Windows 10 PDF printer settings after the recent Windows updates. There are two possible solutions:
    1. Open default PDF printer settings in Windows Control Panel > Printers and change the paper size there. Then print directly in SCARM to the PDF printer.
    2. Use another PDF printer such as Primo PDF or similar.

  19. Second solution works fine. Thanks a lot.

  20. I have a rectangular layout printed out and could not help but recognise that the baseboard border is printed inside the margin of the page, where 2 lines meet at point [0,0]. Now I understand you are not supposed to cut or overlap any page margins, but do you use this printed line (which is 3mm in from the edge of the page) to mark the edge of the board or do you use the edge of the page?
    I am using SCARM Version 1.7.1.

  21. If the baseboard border is printed on the pages, yes, you need to cut it from the pages in order the cut side of each page to be aligned to the edge of the real table. That should be done only to the outside pages, where the baseboard border is printed (visible) – for rectangular layouts, that usually happens to the right and bottom sides. Note also that 2-3mm offset is not a big deal, so consider if it is really necessary to cut the pages for that.

  22. Is there a way to print with the gridlines? I use custom 1″ and the free version.

  23. Yes, just enable “Grid” in “Print also” section of the “Print” dialog.
    Note that the grid must be already visible, otherwise “Grid” option in the “Print” dialog will be grayed.

  24. 1st – THANKS for this AWESOME software. Not only have I gotten HOURS of enjoyment with it, I am ready to build my railroad!

    I would like to take this to FedEx/Kinkos and get them to print my file on their large format printers so I can print it on a few rolls of paper. How do I get the file in a format that will allow them to print it full size?

  25. Hello Rob,
    You can ask the printing shop what is their preferred page size and then print the track plan file as 1:1 to PDF at that specific page size. See how to print to PDF here:
    Then copy the PDF file to USB flash drive and bring it to the printing shop.
    The most important when printing is to do that without any scaling, otherwise the printout will not match to the real tracks.

  26. Greetings: I am 75 and had HO-Gauge layout with my father 60 years ago.
    Now I am helping my grandchildren build their set. They have S-Gauge very antique track & equipment that we must use.

    I have an ELECTRICAL question Regarding track plan design #179 Compact American Flyer S-gauge Layout Design.

    Clive Ellis says: “One reversing section is arranged so it can be set to run either train route without having to repeatedly switch the electrical polarity. ”

    In my HO-Gauge days I had to manually switch the polarity. How does S-Gauge overcome that problem?

    Thanks for the reply.
    Christmas Blessings, Jim

  27. Hola, buenas tardes. Aunque hace bastante tiempo que tengo la licencia todavía no se como imprimir a menor tamaño.
    ¿Hay manera de imprimir menor que 1:1?
    Muchas gracias.

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