PRINTING NOTICE: Starting on 8/3/22, we will only offer the foldable, poster material. If you need a paper poster, refer to the last question on our FAQ page for a list of other WU & online printers.

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 Twitter (@adrcposters) for the most current printing availability information. 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 details and other locations you can print posters.

Our Twitter will be updated throughout the business hours of 7:30am-4pm (Mon-Fri). Any available slots listed on our Twitter feed past 4pm on a Tuesday may not be indicative of available slots for Wednesday printing as posters may have been submitted after hours. 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

  • Microsoft PowerPoint: PPTX format files ONLY (as of 11/10/21). See PowerPoint section below.
  • *Adobe PDF (High or Press Quality preferred if possible)
  • InDesign & Illustrator: Please export these to a PDF (High or Press Quality)
  • Apple Keynote: Export a PDF at the highest quality setting (Instructions)
  • 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!

PowerPoint Files

As of 11/10/21, we can no longer support the printing of the old file .PPT format. This deprecated file format has been replaced by the .PPTX format in Office 2007 (Windows) and Office 2008 (MacOS). We print from a Windows PC or a Mac running PowerPoint for Office 365. While we have been able to support the older format that was replaced 13+ years ago, recent updates to PowerPoint have made compatibility with the .PPT format extremely unreliable. We do not always see what you see in your slide when you submit a poster in the old format.

All poster submissions that submit PowerPoint files must be submitted in the updated .PPTX file format or they will be rejected. You run the risk of your poster not being printed at all if you submit a poster file in the old .PPT format (see Print-Ready Files section below). As a student/staff/faculty with Washington University, you receive multiple licenses for Office 365 for multiple devices (work and personal). To install your free and always-current version of Office 365, refer to these instructions:

Print-Ready Files

All files submitted to the Knight ADRC are 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 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.

Reading Distance and Font Size:

Reading DistanceMinimum Comfortable
Font Size
1.2 feet (0.35m)8 pointsThis is the typical reading distance for a book. Most people prefer text to be 10, 11, or 12 points at this distance.
2.4 feet
16 pointsThis is the closest comfortable distance for reading a large poster.
5.0 feet
32 pointsIn many settings this is as close as one can get to a poster. Sometimes this is because the poster is roped off, or in other cases, large crowds simply make close approach difficult.
25 feet
160 pointsFor almost any setting, you want a title that can be read from at least this far away.
Table information provided by

Maximum Printable Dimensions:

We carry 36″ and 42″ rolls of media. Therefore, for landscape posters, your poster cannot be more than 42″ tall. For portrait posters, the width cannot be more than 42″. 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: If you submit a poster file that exceeds our 42″ roll size limit (such as a poster 44″ x 44″) 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″ 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.

Maximum size dimensions for landscape and portrait posters.

Sizing Tips

  • Always keep in mind that one dimension of your poster cannot exceed 42″ (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″ x 56″. Therefore, the largest size slide we could print at 100% designed in PowerPoint would be a slide size of 42″ x 56″ since our large roll media is 42″.
  • 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″ or 42″ roll media.
  • If your poster does not completely fit either the 36″ or 42″ 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 .5″ margin around your poster. Do not place text, logos, images or graphs/charts inside this margin in order to avoid problems.

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

  • Don’t copy and paste images, graphs, etc. into the poster file if you can possibly avoid this.
  • Screenshots (print screens) and web logos will look horrible when blown up 200%.
  • 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
  • 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