HP Designjet Z6200 printer in MGCF
175 Tan Hall

The MGCF is a computational chemistry facility with a small staff (2 scientists). Poster printing is our side business. At least one of us is usually in 175 Tan Hall on Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm but we are often busy with other facility demands, working with a class, at seminar, etc. Please read the next few paragraphs to see how to submit a poster.

The MGCF shares 175 Tan Hall with the Chevron Undergraduate Computing Facility and the door hours are determined by their needs. During the fall/spring/summer sessions, 175 Tan Hall is open Mon-Thur 9am-8pm, Fri 9am-5pm, Sunday 1pm-8pm. Poster pickup can occur anytime the door is open but poster printing is available only when staff is present.

Scheduling: We don't reserve time slots. Email a poster sized PDF with the charging information (details below). Include "poster" in the Subject line of your email (this is important!). Files sent to us during regular University workdays are usually printed within a few hours but this is not always possible. We strongly encourage you to allow 1 or 2 full business days. These are not hard deadlines nor guarantees, just recommendations.

More time is required before major conferences, new student recruiting and orientation. If you know of a large event, we'll be busy. Please check this page in the days/weeks before you plan to print. We indicate major delays or shutdowns (holidays, part failure on printer, staffing shortages, etc) at the top of the page. Prints are made on a first come, first serve basis with adjustments made to minimize the number of times we need to load paper. You get in the printer queue when we receive your file. We wont hold a timeslot but we will do our best to get your poster printed to meet your schedule.

What causes delays? We print for the entire campus and we often don't know when we'll get a large number of poster requests from MCB, Physics, etc. Also, we are a small staff (2 people) and may be busy with other facility business (classes, seminars, meetings with researchers). Staffing unavailabilty for 3 to 4 hours is common and are not listed here. Staffing outages of 1 business day or longer are rare and will be in red at the top of the page (if we are both at the same conference for example).
We normally have 42 inch wide paper (on 100 foot roll loaded). If both dimensions of your poster exceed 42 inches (48x48 for example), then we usually need an extra day to group your poster with like sized submissions for a run on our 60 inch wide (on 100 foot roll) paper. 36x48 posters however do fit on the 42 inch wide paper and we normally print these and similar sized ones right away.

Each print takes about 15 minutes to process on the printer and then 15 minutes to dry. There may be a queue of many posters ahead of yours and we may not be immediately available. Files sent early in the day usually result in posters ready for pickup later in the afternoon. You will usually hear from us within a few hours.

We strongly prefer to receive/discuss poster files via email or google drive share. This is more efficient than people coming to 175 Tan. It helps us manage our workload, keep track of who has submitted a poster, which are queued, how to contact you if something goes wrong, etc. Include the word "poster" in the Subject line of your email (this is important!). [Note, bmail filters are literal in terms of word recognition. "poster for my lab" is okay as a subject but "poster_for_my_lab" will not be recognized".]

We use semi gloss, 42 or 60 inch wide paper (on 100 foot long roll). Please see the bottom of this page for a discussion about margins since the printable region is a little under 42 or 60 inches. We are experimenting with satin cloth media. If you are interested in this, we need at least one extra business day and you should ask us in advance. The material costs are roughly triple that of the paper.

We are normally closed on University Academic and Administrative holidays and between Christmas and New Year's Day. Otherwise we usually have at least one staff member present including summer and other breaks. The door may be locked when classes are not in session but we are still usually here on most days that are not specifically weekends or holidays.

How to submit a file for printing (or ask poster related questions): Email Kathy Durkin at

Include "poster" in the Subject line of your email. Our email filters automatically notify other staff members (no need to cc) and the first one to see it will act on it. If you don't include "poster" in the subject, there may be delays in our response. [Bmail filters are literal in terms of word recognition. "poster for my lab" is okay as a subject but "poster_for_my_lab" will not be recognized".] To submit a file, just attach your poster PDF to the email or include a google drive, dropbox, etc link to it.

Our facility postdoc is Yinka Olatunji-Ojo. If you email Kathy with "poster" in the subject then Yinka will automatically get a copy of your email.

If you have last minute questions, you can call the lab at 3-0616. We generally answer that phone 9-5, M-F, except around lunch time, although we may be briefly out at other times. Please don't leave voicemail. If there is no answer, you are advised to send an email to Kathy (include "poster" in the Subject line) or call back later.

See below for instructions on how to create a full scale (not 8.5x11) PDF for the poster printer.

We are not a commercial facility and we cannot take credit cards or cash. Under special circumstances, we can take checks made out to the University of California, Regents. Arrangements for this must be made in advance. Contact Kathy Durkin to do so. Note, we only print University related documents (visiting scholars may need to print posters from work at other Universities and that is okay - just no vacation photos, commercial signs, etc).

If you need a cash/credit card solution, try Moffitt Copy Center (in Moffitt Library, they do posters even if that is hard to find on their web site) or Inkstone at Bowditch and Bancroft, or PosterPresentations.com (they ship posters, we don't). The Geospatial Innovation Facility in Mulford Hall can print posters but they also cannot take credit cards or cash.

Our base handling charge is $40 per poster plus a paper cost of $4.00 per square foot. Excess labor (very rare) is charged at $20 per quarter hour. If you prepare your document in advance most prints should not incur excess labor charges. For last minute rush jobs where we have to interrupt other projects to deal with a poster, we reserve the right to charge an extra labor increment.

A reasonable total cost estimate is $80 depending on how big your poster is and how much time we spend getting it to print and managing the administrative details. You are charged for ALL paper used in the printing process, regardless of how big your poster is. We will try to use the sized roll that is most efficient for your poster but in high demand, short lead time situations, we might use the 60 inch roll for all prints, even if that is a little less efficient for an individual poster in the queue. Near the bottom of this page, there is an example of how to minimize costs by taking into account our paper size.

For billing - please send:
1. Your name
2. Your PI's name
3. Speedtype - This is a ten digit code that your group administrator can provide. If you are from the College of Chemistry and have a speedtype, that is all we need. If you are from outside of Chemistry, we additionally need your group administrator (or PI or Fund Manager, etc) to email Kathy okaying poster printing charges. If your group is a repeat customer using a speedtype known to us, you can skip this approval step. Speedtypes are shortened versions of UC Chartstrings. If you don't have a speedtype, then a UC Chartstring is also okay.
4. Dimensions (length x width or width x length) of your poster. We use this as a rough guide to determine what paper to load. We will however print whatever sized PDF you send, so check your PDF and state clearly if you want us to scale up/down. The exception is 8.5x11. If your PDF is 8.5x11, we assume you have made an error and we will notify you.
5. Day and Time when you need your poster. This helps us set priority and decide if we can group prints based on paper size. "By Wednesday" is ambiguous since we can't tell if you mean by Wednesday at 9am or by Wednesday at 5pm. These are very different time requirements so please be specific. Also, we appreciate if you distinguish hard deadlines from desired deadlines. You might like your poster in 2 hours but do we really need to drop everything and put your request first? Please add a sentence or two to tell us what your real time constraints are.

We usually have 42" wide (up to 100 feet long) glossy paper loaded on the printer. We also have 60" paper. Changing the roll wastes paper and takes time so we group prints to minimize paper changes. We will trim excess blank paper after the print is made to about 1 inch margins. Please state clearly and explicitly if you want the trimming done differently.

FAQ - What is the latest I can send a file and get it printed? I wish I knew the answer! Files sent to us during regular University workdays are usually printed within 1 business day. This is not something we guarantee but is typical. If you have a file ready and are hoping for a last minute print, go ahead and email us the file ["poster" in the Subject line of email; indicate it is a rush; include your deadline and cell phone number]. If we're free, we'll print it right away and respond as fast as we can. Honestly, if we are in the lab and available, it is rare for more than a few minutes to go by without our noticing an incoming poster file. If you are just finishing a poster today and hoping to print in a few hours - let us know. If we know a poster file is expected, we *might* be able to adjust our schedule to accomodate.

Document Preparation

We want a PDF (not a Powerpoint, Illustrator, or any other type document). The PDF must be the desired poster print size (not 8.5x11 inches). Once you make a PDF, open it with Acrobat Reader. Go to File/Properties and check the document size. Is it 8.5x11 or is it poster size? If it is poster size, we recommend you view it at 100% and then again at a "Fit to Page" size and look for errors.

Conversion to PDF mimics the print process and sometimes layout shifts can occur when converting from Powerpoint (or other non WYSISYG software). The only way to see this is to carefully proofread the PDF. Adjust accordingly in the original and try again. It can take a few tries to get the PDF the way you want it.

If your PDF is poster sized and is otherwise okay, go ahead and email it. If your PDF is 8.5x11 or other small size, try the steps outlined below:

Windows: "Save As" PDF from older versions of Powerpoint often results in an 8.5x11 PDF. This is not acceptible for a poster print. "Save As" PDF from current versions of Powerpoint typically gives a PDF at the same size as the PPT slide.

If your PDF is not at poster size, you might need to "print" your document to a PDF where the PDF "paper size should be set the desired size your poster. You can try the built in print manager in Windows or use a PDF writer if your version of Windows/Powerpoint can't do it. We recommend (free) CutePDF Writer. You will need 2 executables: CuteWriter and a ps2pdf converter such as GNU Ghostscript. Download both, install Ghostscript first, then install the CuteWriter.

1. Print to PDF.
In Powerpoint, select File/Print (not Save As) and then select CutePDF writer from the printer list. Select Properties from the Print Dialog Box. Then select Advanced. At this point, you are setting the "paper size" for your PDF. Find the Paper Size option and choose "Postscript Custom Page Size". Then specify the width and height to be the same or 2 inches larger than your Powerpoint slide dimensions (add 2 inches if you want a white space around the edges). Usually you must specify the smaller number first at this step. For example, if your poster is either 36x48 or 48x36, set the "Postscript Custom Page Size" to be 36x48.

To clarify the treatment of landscape Powerpoint files, our experience has shown that the width must always be smaller than the height in the "Postscript Custom Page Size" step even if your actual Powerpoint slide is landscape. It is not usually necessary to make any further landscape/portrait adjustments. The software normally does that for you. 300dpi is the recommended resolution. For "True Type Font" select "Download as Softfont".

If you are using "gradient transparent fills" in your Powerpoint document, please read this page to make sure your PDF handles this correctly. Click OK in each dialog to get you back to the main Print dialog, and click OK. After a little while the PDF writer will prompt you for a filename.

Note: in certain cases the above method results in horizontal lines in the PDF document. If this happens to you, try following the steps listed above (set the paper size in the PPT print dialog) but instead of clicking OK to print it, click "Print Preview" then close the preview. This saves the paper size setting but does not print it. Now you can select "Save As" and and save it in the PDF format and a poster of the correct size will result.

2. Inspect the PDF.
Once the PDF is ready, use a PDF reader to verify it is okay. From Adobe Reader, select File/Properties to see the PDF size. Is it 8.5x11 or poster sized?

Then view the file using "Fit to Page". Check for cropping near the edges, for example the height or width is cut off. In that case you could try to remake the PDF after swapping the width and height settings in the "Postscript Custom Page Size".

Other problems can be resolved by adding 1 or 2 more inches to each dimension. For example, your Powerpoint document is 36 x 43. When you print to PDF, you could set the custom page size to 38x45. If you add margins at the PDF step, make sure you do not "Scale to Fit Page" since this will scale your poster up and mess up the margins.

Then view the PDF at 100% size and check it carefully. Sometimes layout shifts when converting to PDF. These shifts can occur when text and object boxes are too large or small for the text or objects they contain. Images scale with fixed aspect ratio whereas fonts typically do not so the relative positions of fonts/images can shift. Adjust accordingly in the original document and try again. It can take a few tries to get the PDF the way you want it.

For Mac OS: "Save As" PDF from older versions of Powerpoint (and similar programs) usually results in 8.5x11 regardless of the Powerpoint document size. You probably must "print" your document to a PDF where the PDF "paper size" is the actual size your poster (not 8.5x11 inches).

1. Print to PDF.
To prepare a PDF from Powerpoint on a Mac, select File/Page Setup. Your Powerpoint slide is probably sized as Custom and reflects the desired poster size. Now you need to define the "paper size" for your PDF. To do this, Click Options on the Page Setup window. A new window (confusingly also labelled Page Setup) will open. On this new window, use the Paper Size pulldown to look for a paper size that matches your desired poster size AND has the smaller dimension defined first. You probably wont find one and instead will have to choose "Manage Custom Page Sizes" at the bottom of the Paper Size pulldown. Then in the Custom Page Sizes window, define a new paper size where you specify the width and height to match your desired poster size but always specify the smaller number first.

For example, if your poster is either 36x48 or 48x36, set the Custom Page Size to be 36x48. To clarify the treatment of landscape Powerpoint files, our experience has shown that the width must always be smaller than the height in the Custom Page Size step even if your actual Powerpoint slide is landscape. It is not usually necessary to make any further landscape/portrait adjustments. The software normally does that for you in the PDF preparation.

Once you have defined your Custom Page Size, Click OK to go back one step. Now make sure your newly defined Custom Page Size is actually selected in the Paper Size pulldown! We find it is usually not selected even though it was just defined. Usually you have to actively select it. Once you have the Paper Size pulldown set to the desired Custom Page Size, click OK, then click OK again to exit the original Page Setup.

Now select File/Print. ***Note, the preview at this step is not always accurate.**** Don't worry. This PDF is usually going to be okay. Select the PDF pulldown near the lower left of the Print window and choose "Save as PDF".

2. Inspect the PDF. See the instructions under Windows.


MARGINS: The printer required margins of 0.7 inches along the short axis of the paper roll (but 1 inch is safer). See the image. The real printable dimensions on that axis are 40 inches on 42 inch paper and 58 inches on 60 inch paper. Parts of your poster may be cut off if your margins exceed the printable area. You can let us know if you prefer us to scale to fit or crop.

In the example below, the poster is 48x42 and you might think it would fit on the 42" paper resulting in a paper usage of 42x48 total. But this fails to account for print margins. Note that the text and images go right to the edge on the 42" dimension and would be cropped if printed on the 42" paper. We would probably scale this down a few percent at the print step to prevent cropping.

The paper sizes below are the paper sizes we stock. Plan your poster accordingly.

If your poster is 44x50, it would have to be turned and printed on larger paper as in the diagram below. This would use about 44x60 inches worth of paper and is more expensive.

IMAGES: These should be of at least 300dpi. For instance, if you wish to print an image 4 inches wide, the pixel (picture element or dot) width should be at least 4x300 or 1200 pixels.

BERKELEY LOGOS AND CAMPUS IMAGES: Can be found here. Follow the Downloads link.

FONTS: Make sure you embed all fonts. Usually this is an option in the Page Setup or Print menu as you create your PDF. It is often a box labelled "Always Download needed fonts". Make sure this is checked.

POWERPOINT TIPS AND TEMPLATES: It is easy to find poster templates.

Here are some useful tips about color and poster organization: http://www.ncsu.edu/project/posters/

and there is also a Better Posters Blog with many fine tips.

The ACS has has guidelines for ACS poster sessions. The display board in the convention center is 4-foot-high by 8-foot-wide, in hotels it is 4-foot-high by 6-foot-wide.