Print Operations Overview

Poster submissions via our online order form must be received no later than 6am (Central) on a Wednesday. All poster printing takes place on Wednesdays unless there is an emergency which prevents us from being able to print as planned. Check our Poster Printing Queue page for the current number of poster slots available as well as our Twitter (@adrcposters) for other important printing-related info (such as holidays or when printing is unavailable). Please note that we have a limit of 64 posters that can be printed. Printing is first-submitted first-printed. The last poster submitted will be available by 4pm Wednesday (at the latest). You should always aim to submit your files earlier than the night/early-morning before the 6am Wednesday deadline to avoid situations where we run out of slots overnight. Waiting until the last minute may result in your poster not being able to be printed. Refer to our FAQ for more important details on how we operate including information on other locations where you can print posters.

WUSM observed holidays and other emergencies may impact our ability to print; however, any outages will be communicated via our Twitter feed as far in advance as possible.

Accepted File Formats

  • Adobe PDF (High or Press Quality preferred if possible)
  • All Other Formats: Export to a PDF (at High or Press Quality if possible)

*Once you create a PDF, open it and verify the file’s actual dimensions. If you submit an 8.5″ x 11″ PDF for printing and mark the order form to scale it to 36″ or 42″, we will print that file exactly as requested and you will be charged for it!

Properly Create a PDF from PowerPoint

As of 1/1/2023 we no longer accept PowerPoint files. You will need to export a PDF of your slide. Follow the instructions below to create the correct type of PDF so we can print your poster.

  • Mac Computers: To properly create a PDF from PowerPoint, select File > Export within PowerPoint. Verify the file type is set to PDF.
  • Windows Computers: Select File > Export. Select the Create PDF/XPS Document and then click the Create PDF/XPS button.
  • DO NOT print the PowerPoint slide to a PDF or use Save As to create a PDF.
  • If you do not see the option to do File > Export, your version of PowerPoint is out of date. Follow the instructions HERE to update your version of Office.
  • IMPORTANT STEP: Once your PDF has been created, open it and verify the page sizing matches your PowerPoint’s slide dimensions. In Adobe Acrobat Reader click File > Properties (Document Properties) > Description tab. Within the Advanced Information section, you’ll find Page Size.

Print-Ready Files

All files submitted to the Knight ADRC are to be considered “print-ready.” This means that we assume you have read all of the information provided regarding poster printing on this website; have properly proofed your file and that you understand how to determine what your poster will look like when printed by using a program’s zoom/magnification function.

We are not responsible for typos or for graphics that appear pixelated when you insert images that are of insufficient resolution for the printed size you request on the order form. Any reprints due to designer error are charged at full cost. Refer to our FAQ regarding submitting revised files for printing. Check over your work carefully before submitting it for printing!

We DO NOT have time to verify every detail of your poster or to wait for replies/new files for problems that could have been avoided by reviewing the information provided on this site. We provide all of the tools/instructions so you can determine what your poster will look like when printed. Review the information provided and email posters@abraxas.wustl.edu with any questions BEFORE the day of printing or submission.

Important Design Guidelines

Thoroughly review all of the information below as it key to understanding how to design a poster that we can print. It also contains information on how to design an effective poster in addition to info on how to predict what your printed poster will look like.

Setting Up a Poster Correctly (PowerPoint)

When designing a poster, you should never just open up PowerPoint and start creating a poster on the default slide. The default’s slide size in inches is not appropriate for large posters in 99% of situations. Either use a template or, if you need a custom size, then set your slide’s size to a Custom Slide Size which is in inches.

You need to know:

  1. Your poster size limit at your presentation venue.
  2. Our maximum printable dimensions:
    1. 42-inches by 59-feet on our 42-inch roll media
    2. 36-inches by 59-feet on our 36-inch roll media
  3. The maximum size of a PowerPoint slide if using PowerPoint for creating a poster (56-inches by 56-inches)
  4. The goal is to create a poster that is 100% of the poster size limit at the presentation venue; however, it must also meet requirements from numbers 2 & 3 above as well.
  5. If your size limit at the venue is 4-feet by 7-feet for example, you’re limited to 42-inches by our printer on that 4-foot dimension. The 7-foot dimension is within our 59-foot printer limit. However, a 42-inch by 7-foot poster is larger than PowerPoint’s limit (see #3). So, it would be impossible to create a 42-inch by 7-foot poster in PowerPoint. When this situation occurs, you should design a slide at half-size. You would set your PowerPoint’s custom slide size to 21-inches by 42-inches (half of 42-inches by 7-feet). Then on the order form, you select the option to scale the short side to 42-inches (effectively doubling the size of the file’s dimensions when printed).
  6. Export a PDF of the PowerPoint slide. Select File > Export within PowerPoint. If you do not see the option to do File > Export and select a PDF file type, your version of PowerPoint is out of date. Follow the instructions HERE to update your version of Office.
  7. Before submitting the poster in this example, you should look at the entire poster in a program that can read PDF files at a magnification of 200% because this is how it will look printed (because we’re doubling its size when printed). Make sure all of your embedded images are of sufficient quality so they look acceptable for viewing at 200% magnification.
  8. If your file looks fine, submit your poster via our online order form.

Note that if the dimensions of your file will be the exact same dimensions as what your printed poster will be, you should review your PDF file at 100% magnification since no scaling will be applied to your poster.

Our Maximum Printable Dimensions

We carry 36-inch and 42-inch rolls of media. Therefore, for landscape/horizontal posters, your poster cannot be more than 42-inches tall. For portrait/vertical posters, the width cannot be more than 42-inches. The remaining dimension is typically never a problem for most scientific posters; however, the printer’s limit is capped at 59-feet (or 708 inches). You will be given multiple scaling options on our Order Form.

Visual examples of different landscape posters being printed with the billable length of each illustrated.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: If you submit a poster file that exceeds our 42-inch roll size limit (such as a poster 44-inches x 44-inches) and select the Same as File’s Dimensions option on our order form, your poster will be automatically scaled down proportionally using the shortest dimension to fit our 42-inch media. This will give you the largest possible size poster based upon what we are able to print combined with your file’s submitted dimensions.

Poster Sizing Tips
  • Always keep in mind that one dimension of your poster cannot exceed 42-inches (width:portrait or height:landscape) and be printed with us.
  • If the program you are designing the poster in supports the full size of your intended poster print, you should lay your poster out at the full size.
  • The maximum slide size PowerPoint supports is 56-inches x 56-inches. Therefore, the largest size slide we could print at 100% designed in PowerPoint would be a slide size of 42-inches x 56-inches since our large roll media is 42-inches.
  • If you are creating your poster from scratch and cannot create it at full size (100% scaling), then you should create your poster at half-size. We will proportionally scale it up for you. Make sure any images/graphs/etc. are high resolution! See the Quick Tip box below.
  • If you design a poster that isn’t exactly half size or full size, we can proportionally scale whatever size your poster is to fit either the 36-inch or 42-inch roll media.
  • If your poster does not completely fit either the 36-inch or 42-inch fabric roll media when printed, you will have a margin that you need to trim. We do not have the capability to trim posters.
  • Always leave a .25-inch margin around your poster. Do not place text, logos, images or graphs/charts inside this margin in order to avoid problems. Resist to urge to place text or objects/images right up against the sides of your poster.

QUICK TIP: A quick way to get an idea of how your poster will look when printed is to zoom in on it at 200% if your poster is half-size. If images/graphs/logos look blocky and unreadable, increase the resolution of your images. If you plan on submitting a file that is 100% of the final desired printed size, view your poster at 100% zoom to get an idea of how your poster will look printed.

Working with Images
  • Screenshots (print screens) and logos taken directly from websites will generally look horrible when scaling is applied. It’s best to use the original image if it is of good resolution. WU logos can be found HERE.
  • Always attempt to export images for your poster from their program of origin, and then insert them as images.
  • Image type in terms of quality from best to worst: TIFF, BMP, PNG, JPG, GIF. Both PNG and GIF file types support transparent backgrounds.
  • Images at 200-300ppi resolution will work best if we’re scaling you poster up when printing.
Other Helpful Resources
  • NCSU has some great tips regarding poster design. Check them out!
  • Refer to Science Buddies’ page for all things font and display board to make sure your poster is designed effectively.
  • You can also check out OSD for more information and the hottest trends in laying out effective, scientific posters.

Questions? Please reach out to posters@abraxas.wustl.edu.