Poster Printing Facility

Location: Hensill Hall 509

  • Create your poster in the intended print size
  • Supported file types include Powerpoint, Adobe Illustrator, InDesign and Acrobat (.pdf) files
  • Downsize high-resolution photos before adding to your poster, to keep file size low and speed up printing
  • PowerPoint: create a .pdf on the computer used to create your poster in order to avoid formatting, font substitution and re-sizing issues and speed up printing
  • use Adobe Acrobat to print .pdf files, even those created with Illustrator

Consult your conference guidelines for allowed sizes before starting to make your poster, then it will not be necessary to enlarge later, which can be difficult. For example, in PowerPoint you would create a new document ("File," "New Presentation"), then use Page Setup to create an empty template ("File," "Page Setup") and enter the desired size, then click "OK" twice to accept size as entered (the second "OK" is needed because the page size will be so large that you cannot print it on your usual printer).

See a sample poster illustrating the format guidelines: Poster Printing Facility Format Guidelines (PowerPoint). Be sure to include the Biology Department logo and the logo of any funding agencies; the SF State logo would look nice too! 

Bring your poster to the facility on a USB drive, then drag the file to the desktop so you are printing from a "local" copy. Step-by-step instructions for printing a poster from all of the above formats are provided next to the computer attached to the printer and are also available here: Poster Printer Instructions (Word)

DO NOT try to use a template downloaded from the internet. Such files almost always cause trouble when printing, e.g., ONLY the background will print instead of the poster you see on the screen. For detailed instructions, see How to Convert a PowerPoint File to a .PDF to Correct Background Printing/Sizing Issues (PDF).

If you would like to insert a background image (photograph, gradient, texture, etc.) after creating a blank template, that takes just a few more steps. You will need a background image available as a jpeg, tiff, gif, etc. file. For example, in PowerPoint click "Format," then "Slide Background," then "Picture," then "Choose a Picture." Navigate to and select your background image, then click on "Insert" and then "Apply" and the image will be placed "behind" the rest of your poster. A similar procedure is used in Illustrator to insert a photograph or other image "behind" the poster contents. Photographs are usually made partially transparent so they do not obscure the poster contents.

The poster printer is in room HH509. You can borrow a key from the Biology Stockroom. A variety of "paper" types are available in 36" and 42" wide rolls: matte paper, glossy paper, clear and translucent plastic and "durable banner" (paper with a Tyvek backing, perfect for banners although not rain-resistant). 

The price for all media types and all poster sizes is $35. Please fill out the printing log next to the computer so we know who to bill. Be sure to check the "SEO student" box if you receive SEO support. Printing charges can be paid via transfer from a university account (i.e., grant funds) or by personal check.

Many websites provide suggestions about how to structure a clear, eye-catching poster. Try a search for "Poster Design Tips." Colin Purrington has provided both a mainly good example (which also illustrates some bad approaches) and a heinously bad example of how to structure your poster.

Download Adobe Reader to view the PDF files on this page.