Poster Printer in MGCF in 175 Tan Hall

The MGCF is a computational chemistry facility with a small staff (2 scientists). Poster printing is our side business. We are often busy with other facility tasks, working with a class, at seminar, etc. We fit poster printing in between these tasks. Poster files and billing information (instructions below) should be sent by email to

Normally we print posters Mon-Fri on most University business days roughly 10am-3pm. This usually includes most semester breaks and summer. We do not print posters on weekends and University holidays. Please do not "drop in" to print. Please email us a PDF as described below.

175 Tan Door Hours:
Poster printing hours ≠ 175 Tan Door hours ≠ Staff hours. In the Fall and Spring semester, the door is unlocked Mon-Fri 8am-5pm during most University business days. The door is locked during semester breaks but we still print posters on most University business days. But if the door is locked, we will have to arrange pickup times when staff is present.

Normal Schedule: We don't make appointments and we strongly discourage "drop ins". Email a poster sized PDF (instructions below) 1 or 2 full business days before you need your poster. This is not a hard deadline, just a recommendation.

We can print posters most weekdays but our default paper is 42 inches wide on 100 ft roll. If your poster has 1 side = 42 inches, then one edge fits the paper exactly. The printer will make one cut to release the poster from the roll and no other cuts are required. Thus a poster like this can be printed and wrapped by a single staff person and we can process them quickly. Examples posters of this type are 42x36 or 48x42 inches, etc.

Posters of any other size, such as 36x48 or 30x40 inches, etc, require manual trimming and that requires 2 staff people. We are now often operating with 1 staff person for much of the day and only have 2 staff people for short time periods each day. PDFs sent before 11am usually result in posters ready for pickup later in the afternoon. However, sometimes the turnaround is ~24 hours till the next time we have 2 staff for trimming. This is more common in afternoons. Example, you send a file at 1pm, and it will be fully trimmed and wrapped the next day by 1pm. We are often faster but we cannot guarantee it.

More time is required before major conferences, new student recruiting and orientation. Check this page in the days/weeks before you plan to print. Major delays or shutdowns (holidays, staffing outages part failure on printer, etc) are in red near the top of the page.

There may be a queue of many posters ahead of yours and we may not be immediately available. You will usually hear from us within a few hours. You get in the queue when we receive your file.

Possible delays? We often suddenly get a large number of poster requests from MCB, Physics, etc. Also, staff has other facility business (classes, seminars, meetings with researchers). Staff unavailabilty for 3 to 4 hours is common and not listed here. Staffing outages of 1 business day or longer are rare and will be in red at the top of the page.

Paper Size: (Sorry but printing units in the US are in inches/feet.) The paper comes on rolls that are 42 inches wide and 100 feet long. Some example poster sizes that fit on this include 36x48 (requires manual trimming), 42x32 (no manual trimming required), 60x40 (requires manual trimming). If both dimensions exceed 42 inches (48x48 for example), then we can scale down to fit if the scaling is not too extreme.

Paper Details: We use semi gloss paper and the printer cannot put ink all the way to the edge of the paper on the 42 inch axis. It requires about 0.25 inches of space along the edges or it will cutoff (for example, ink can print 41.5 inches on the 42 inch paper axis). We have a small supply of satin cloth media. That requires at least one extra business day and you should ask us in advance. The material costs are 3X that of the paper.

Costs: We are not a commercial facility and cannot take credit cards or cash. All posters must be charged to a UC Berkeley speedtype or chartstring. We only print University affiliated documents. We don't print obviously personal or commercial posters.

If you need a cash/credit card solution, try Moffitt Copy Center (in Moffitt Library. Call them. They do posters but it is hard to find on their web site) or Inkstone at 2424 Telegraph.

See the College of Chemistry Recharge Rates.

Our base labor charge is $55.00 per poster plus a paper cost of $5.00 per square foot. Excess labor (very, very rare) is charged at $27.50 per quarter hour. This may occur for posters that use a lot of our time dealing with format or administrative issues, or for last minute, urgent prints where we have to interrupt other projects.

Most posters cost $100-$120 depending on size and how much time we spend on your poster and related administrative details. We charge for ALL paper used in the print process, regardless of how big your poster is. There are instructions near the bottom of our poster file prep page about how to minimize costs by fitting our paper.

FAQ - What is the latest I can send a file and get it printed?
We wish we knew the answer! PDFs with 1 dimension under 42 inches are usually printed same day, if sent in the morning of a business day. This is not a guarantee but is typical. However, trimming is a 2 person job and we are often operating with only 1 person at a time. We have 2 people present for a few hours each day.

If you are hoping for a last minute print, email us the PDF with urgent poster in the Subject line of email; include your deadline and cell phone number in the email. If we are available, it is rare for more than 30 minutes to go by without our noticing an incoming poster file. However, sometimes we are very busy and even an urgent poster request may wait a few hours before we can respond. We are a computational facility with a small staff.

Other Questions: We prefer email. This 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!). If you have last minute questions, email us your cell phone number. Include poster in the email Subject line. We will still mainly respond via email but we will call back as needed.

How to submit a file for printing (or ask poster related questions):
Email the MGCF Staff at
Include the word poster in the Subject line of your email (this is important!). Email filters automatically notify other staff members (no need to cc). If you don't include poster in the subject, there may be delays. Bmail filtering recognizes whole words and is confused by [ ], -, :, and any other characters immediately adjacent to a word. Example: poster for my lab is okay as a subject but poster: for my lab or poster_for_my_lab will not be recognized. To submit a file, just attach your poster PDF or include a google drive or dropbox link.

Please include billing and other details in your email:
1. Your name
2. Your PI's name
3. Speedtype: This is a ten digit short version of a UC Chartstring. If you don't have a speedtype, then send a UC Chartstring. If you are new customer from outside of Chemistry, we also need your group administrator (or PI or Fund Manager, etc) to email us approving poster printing charges. If your group is a repeat customer using a speedtype/chartstring known to us, you can skip this approval step.
4. Time/Day when you need/want your poster: This helps us set priority. "By Friday" is ambiguous. Do you mean by Friday at 9am or by Friday at 5pm? Also, we appreciate if you distinguish hard deadlines (need) from desired deadlines (want). You might want your poster in 2 hours but do we really need to drop everything and put your request first? Please tell us what your real time constraints are.
5. Scaling and trimming: If you have no special instructions, just skip this. The section below describes the process and limitations.

Scaling: It is best to make and proofread the PDF at the desired print size. If you request scaling, we cannot predict or prevent layout shifts. Scaling has a fixed aspect ratio. Example: 30x40 PDF --> 36x48 print = 1.2x scaling; this is doable and probably okay in terms of quality. 30x40 PDF --> 36x36 print = impossible due to mismatched aspect ratio. If the PDF is 8.5x11, this is an error. We cannot scale this to a poster print. See our PDF preparation instructions.

Trimming: The printer makes one cut to remove the poster off of the roll but on the other axis, trimming is done manually with a ruler and a razor blade. Example, a 36x48 inch document is printed on the 42 inch wide roll and comes off the printer as a 42x48.25 inch sheet. This has 3x48.25 inch strips of excess paper on two sides of the poster and will have 1/8 inch strips of paper at the leading and trailing edge (1/8 + 1/8 is the extra 0.25 inches on the 48 inch axis). We usually trim excess paper to a small amount of white space all around the poster. If you have white space edges in the PDF, then the poster size will match the PDF. If there are no white space edges in the PDF, then we normally leave a little excess paper in the trimming process. Example: 36x48 PDF without white space edges => ~ 36.25x48.25 poster with narrow white space edges. This will vary based on best fit to the paper. Clearly describe if you want the trimming done differently. We need at least a half inch (1-2cm) between the end of your text/images and where we will cut and we need to physically be able to hold the paper as it is being trimmed. Cuts of less than a half inch (1-2cm) are very hard to do since we don't have enough paper to hold in the process. If you need an exact size, then embed cut marks in the PDF. For example, add a box around the poster area and tell us to trim just inside the box. If you have a color background and want zero white space on the poster edges, then you must leave at least a half inch (1-2cm) between the text/images and the edge of the color. We will cut just inside the color edge to make the final poster.