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Guidelines for Large Format Printing

At various times each semester, many students and faculty need to produce posters on the large format printers located in the Copy Center. In order to meet your needs please follow the guidelines below:

Please make an appointment for printing your poster by calling 725-3533. Appointments are made in one-hour blocks between 9am and 3pm. Each hour time slot will only be reserved for a specific individual. No large blocks of time will be held for a class.

At busy times of the semester, such as the lead up to finals, time slots fill quickly, so make your reservation early. Without a reservation, we cannot guarantee that the poster will be printed within your time frame. Individuals should plan to be present during the printing of your poster.

There is a charge of $ 6.00 per foot (length) and charges may apply for partial prints that are caused by incorrect formatting. Bowdoin project numbers may be charged if a valid department code is provided in advance. Cash and check are also acceptable forms of payment.

Printing Guidelines:

  • The maximum dimension for posters is 42” x 85”. However, at least a 1-inch margin must be left on each edge of the poster.
  • Finished poster file size must not exceed 175MB.
  • Accepted file types are psd (Adobe Photoshop), ai (Adobe Illustrator), ppt (PowerPoint), pdf, jpg, and tif.
  • Submit computer files on CD, USB storage device or place it on the scratch drive. Remember that files placed on the scratch dive are not secure. Do not place anything there that is in anyway confidential.
  • Poster less than 56” in length should be created in PowerPoint (See special note below). This application works well for documents 44” x 56.”
  • Posters greater than 56” in length can be created in Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator.

PowerPoint users please note: While PowerPoint is widely available and easy to use, it is not designed for large print output. Using this program can cause unexpected results.  You should check your work to ensure that pictures, text frames, lines or other items are not hanging over the edge of the poster. If there are any of these items or any stray marks outside the poster, it will not print successfully and may result in a charge for a partial print.

Because the ability of the printer to print your poster is directly related to how the file has been created, there is no guarantee that your document will print in a timely fashion, or even at all. Do not try to print your poster at the last minute.

Please be aware that the printer will print the contents of your file, even if it is incorrect. If you have low-resolution pictures, or have fonts that are not imbedded, there may be unexpected results. See the following tips for additional information.

Poster Tips

  • Use a WHITE background whenever possible. Depending on the type, many backgrounds (gradient, textures, etc.) do not translate well onto paper. In addition, these types of backgrounds use a lot of ink, are taxing on the printer and take much longer to print, and may do nothing to enhance your creation.
  • Set the page size first! Resizing the poster later will almost always cause problems. This is especially important in PowerPoint.
  • Use only one page for the entire poster.
  • As a general rule you should not PASTE text, images, charts, tables, etc. These items should be inserted or manually typed. Pasted items are generally linked, not imbedded. When printing linked items, you will get low resolution or possibly none at all.
  • When saving the poster as a jpg, use the highest quality setting.
  • What you see on your screen is not always what you will get out of a printer. This is especially true with pictures and colors. The colors that you see on your monitor will not reproduce exactly the same on the printed poster. Unless resolution settings are correct, images that look great on your computer screen may look pixilated or grainy when printed.
  • Pictures imported from web sites are almost always low-resolution images. These images are for on-screen presentations and web page use only. If used for posters they will appear fuzzy looking. Images for use on a poster should be 150 ppi at 100% scale.
  • Fonts: Be sure to embed all of the non-standard fonts that you are legally entitled to use. This is especially important when using symbols. Fonts are computer specific. If you create a poster that uses fonts not loaded on the Copy Center computer, you will get unexpected results. As we did not create your poster, there is no way for us to know exactly how it is supposed to look. If you stick to common cross-platform system fonts such as Arial or Times New Roman, many font problems can be eliminated. If you are using Adobe Illustrator, when your poster is completed, convert your fonts to Outline.

If you have any questions about your file, please call the Help Desk at ext. 3030.

Document author:
Last modified:
Aug 25, 2009