Poster Printing Guidelines


The library has a poster printing service with a large-format printer.   The Epson plotter-printer can create posters for academic purposes in color or black and white.

How Do I Use This Service?:

To use the poster printer, please use our large-format printing form.  This service is currently limited to group projects of Perkins students for course purposes only, and must be authorized by a member of the faculty.  You will need to include the course, name and email of the instructor who authorized the large-format printing on the form.  Select a day and time from the available options and come to the library at that date with your file for printing.  Templates for printing posters are available for download on the large-format printing form.  A signed note from a faculty member authorizing the poster is needed to print your file.

Who Can Use This Service?:

The large-format printer can only be used by students for course-related assignments.  Faculty of the course must approve the use of the printer. 

How Large Can The Plotter Print?

The maximum width of the plotter paper is 36 inches (size of the paper roll) but if orders are formatted in landscape mode, we can accommodate a variety of lengths, up to 56 inches.

Tips For Printing:

  • Best Quality Images: Your final file image should be 150-300dpi for the desired print dimensions.  This will keep your image from looking pixelated (i.e., blurred).  Any graphics/photos within your file image also should be 150-300dpi for the print dimensions.  DPI means ‘dots per inch’, indicating the number of pixels in one inch.  Please do not use DPI higher than 300 as it will not increase quality and will increase the time it takes to print the image.  See the ‘addendum on image size’ below for more information.
  • Fonts: All fonts that come with your operating system will embed in your images.  However, if you are using a special font downloaded from the internet, you need to ensure that it will embed in your file.  If you are not sure if your font has embedded, open the file on a computer that does not have the special font installed.  If the image viewer has replaced the font with something else, it means the special font was not embedded in your file and the Library’s large format printer will not be able to print the font.
  • Making a full-size poster with PowerPoint: Download and open one of our premade poster templates. [Two Column, Three Column, Four Column].  Remember to delete any unused textboxes or their outline will show up in the poster.

Tips you will never read but really should:

  • Keep it simple!
  • Arrange your material in a logical progression
  • Arrange materials in columns
  • Don’t try to cram too much onto the poster, sacrificing legibility and visual flow

Selecting colors and fonts

  • Use only two or three colors in the poster: Too many colors can be distracting
  • Select font colors and background colors to maximize contrast
  • Choose a font size and style that can be read easily from several feet away
  • To emphasize a point, use bold or italics rather than underlining

Text for the poster (template?)

  • Click on “insert” on the menu bar
  • Click where you want the text box to be
  • Start typing
    • Text boxes can be resized by clicking on a corner and dragging
    • Avoid large blocks of text and limit or eliminate jargon and technical terms
    • Organize and reduce text by using subheadings, key words, bullet points
    • A figure or graph often conveys information more efficiently than paragraphs of text


  • Graphs can be added with copy and paste commands or by importing (same as pictures)
  • Keep graphs simple
    • Avoid “chart junk”: 3-D, shadowing, multiple grid lines, labeling every tick mark, etc
    • With multiple graphs, combine information (e.g. share axis labels, titles, legends)

Pictures and photos

  • Pictures and photos can be added with copy and paste commands or by importing
  • To import: select Insert on the menu bar, then choose “Picture” or “Photo (depending on your version of PowerPoint). Select the option that includes the phrase “from file” and then select the file from wherever it is stored on your computer.
  • Images should be at least 300 dots per inch (see “Addendum on image size” below for more information).
  • Save the image as a JPG as this format is easier to insert into PowerPoint

** Addendum on image size**

The resolution of each image in your poster should be 150-300 dpi (or pixels per inch) at the final printing size. Resolution below 150 dpi will result in a pixelated image. Note that an image that looks good on the computer screen will not necessarily print well. The steps below will ensure that your images will look good when printed. (Elements drawn with PowerPoint’s drawing tools will retain their sharpness at any size. Most Microsoft clipart will as well.)

Determine the maximum size at which your image can be printed.

Many image editing programs can help you determine this. One example is GNU Image Manipulation Program (Gimp), a free program for Macs and PCs (available at

  1. Open the image in Gimp
  2. From the menu, choose Image > Print size
  3. Change the X and Y resolution to 300 pixels/inch
  4. The resulting print size is the maximum size that will print well

Insert your image in your PowerPoint slide and set it to the maximum print size or smaller.

Insert your image in the slide and select your image:

  • PC users: Go to the Format menu and the print size of image will display.
  • Mac users: Go to the View menu, select “formatting palette” and the print size of the image will display under the “size, rotation and ordering” tab.

If necessary, change the image size. As long as the print size within PowerPoint is the same or smaller than the maximum print size (step 4 above), you are good to go!