How to Print Mac Scientific Posters onto Multiple Sheets of Paper

August 7, 2018 § Leave a comment

There are many ways to create scientific or other large-format posters on the Mac, but printing them out on similar-sized paper at FedEx can cost $100.  If you’re not going for tenure or selling expensive jewelry, here is a low-cost alternative using an ordinary home printer, a few dollars of posterboard.  and the $5 Mindcad Tiler from the Mac App Store.

  1. Decide on the physical size of your final poster.  For example,  I am using four 14″x22″ sub-posters for a final size of 28″x44″.
  2. Determine the all-important tile size of your poster, which needs to be less than Letter size (e.g., 8 1/2″x11″ in the US).  I plan to use four sheets of letter paper per poster, which nominally would be 7″x11″ each.  However, to avoid losing interior content to the borders I set my tile size to  7″x10.5″ instead
  3. Using these tiles, calculate the logical size of the final poster, which in my case comes to 28″x 42″ (since the poster is four tiles across in each dimension).
  4. Use these values to create two custom Paper Sizes from a standard macOS Print Menu, e.g.:
    1. Logical Poster (under Any Printer)
      1. Non-Printable Area: User Defined
      2. Paper Size:  28″ width by 42″ height
      3. Margins: 0″ left/right, 0.5″ top/bottom
    2. Poster Tile
      1. Non-Printable Area: your actual printer
      2. Paper Size:  8.5″ width x 11″ height
      3. Margins: 0.75″ left/right, 0.25″ top/bottom
  5. In Pages (the simplest Mac app for large posters), select “Any Printer” and “Logical Poster” under “Printer and Paper Size” in the “Document” inspector.
    1. Note you should use the full width of the resulting canvas (since there is already a built-in 1″ margin on the left and right sides), but may want to leave a top and bottom margin to avoid looking too crowded.
    2. I also like to match the Text -> Layout -> Columns to the tile width (e.g., 4) where possible, to minimize the text across page boundaries.
  6. When finished (or just to check), Print to PDF (or Preview) from your Pages document using that same Page Size.
  7. Open Mindcad Tiler
    1. Set Page Setup to Format For your printer and Page Size “Poster Tile”
    2. Drag the Preview document icon or file into the Tiler window
    3. Click “Actual Size” to auto-generate the necessary Rows and Columns
    4. Preview first to ensure everything lines up correctly
    5. Print!
  8. Physically construct your poster
    1. Trim the tiles to just the printed area
    2. Paste the tiles onto your sub-posters
    3. Tape or string the sub-posters into your final poster
  9. Get out there and show them what you’ve got!
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