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How do I print a poster proof?

1. What software do I use to generate a poster and how do I design a poster?
2. How do I generate a poster proof?
3. How do I print the poster?

1. How do I generate a poster and how do I design a poster?

The easiest way to generate a large-format poster at Pitt CS is through Powerpoint. Make sure you customize the 'slide' size to be as close as possible to the conference specs (e.g., 33in by 46in), and that your graphic elements are high resolution (!!); scaling up .5in^2 graphics to cover 10in^2 printed areas does not work well at all.

Do mind the margins! Allow about 1/2 inch to 1 inch. If you get too close to the edge with text or graphics the content may get truncated.

In terms of design, check out the VRL publication repository, you'll find several example posters there -- not that all the examples are great :-). On your poster, don't foget to include the Pitt logo at the top of the poster (the official logo is available for download here). Don't forget to include the conference logo at the bottom of the poster -- when we bring the poster back to Pitt, we want the folks back home to know what place it went.

In terms of the poster content, we like these sources on effective poster presentations:
Dina Mandoli's How to make a great poster (what is a great poster, how do you make a poster, how to plan poster organization etc.) and
Kathryn Tosney's How to create a poster that graphically communicates your message, with many positive and negative graphical examples.

The most sensible thing to do is print a real-size draft of your poster (A4 sheets taped together, see below further instructions), put it up on a lobby wall with a stack of post-it-notes and pencils next to it, and ask your friends to mark their comments directly on the poster draft.


2. How do I generate a poster proof?

A poster-proof is how we critique a poster and check that it will print correctly, before sending the final version to the poster printer; remember that printing a poster can be costly. This is how it works:

1. Save the poster as a .pdf. Make sure you save it at its correct size, and not letter size (i.e., not 8.5in x 11in); you might have to go to File -> Page Setup to set the correct page size.

2. Open the pdf poster in Adobe Acrobat Professional (not the free Adobe Reader!), any version higher than 5.x. Go to PRINT SETUP and choose paper size: 8.5 x 11; landscape or portrait. Go to PRINT, at PAGE SCALING choose TILE LARGE PAGES. The preview window will show the number of target sheets the large-scale original would be split up.
At TILE SCALE choose the scale you want. In your case it'll be 100%. However, you can set it at a different scale, e.g. 50%, and the preview window will show the number of sheets accordingly.

3. Tape the pages together; it's easier to do this operation on the floor -- make sure you have plenty of space. Tape the resulting proof on a hallway wall. Gather your friends and colleagues, critique, then iterate.


2. How do I print the poster?

The CS department owns a color poster printer. The tech staff (mainly Bob and Terry) do the poster printing. "This is because the poster printer is a fairly delicate piece of equipment."
When all's ready, save the poster at a public location somewhere on /afs/ or on the web, preferably as a .ppt (.pdf will work, as well). Send an email to tech AT cs.pitt.edu with the following information:
* the location of the poster file
* the size of the poster
* whether the poster needs to be mounted (usually it does not)
* how soon you need the poster

Do not attach the poster file to the tech ticket, it may not go through.

Tech staff suggest "having the poster available well before the deadline as it may need to be reprinted or otherwise adjusted. If you want the poster mounted by the workstudy students, allow a few days once the poster is printed by tech for the students to mount it". Depending on how busy tech staff are, printing may take as little as one hour. Don't count on that, though! If you're running a tight deadline, make sure you talk to Tech first.

In a pinch, Kinko's will do as well for printing posters, though it's slightly more expensive.