Computer Laboratory

Producing posters

The Computer Laboratory has a poster printer (gum) capable of producing colour images on paper sizes from A4 to A0. Due to the cost of consumables and because it requires some operational skills, access to gum is currently restricted.

If you wish to print a poster, please email [Javascript required] with details of the size of poster required. You should send us a URL to the poster rather than including it in the email.

If you are likely to want to print posters frequently and/or have proven that you know how to load paper then you can be added to the access control list for the printer — please e-mail [Javascript required].

Printing posters from Windows/Mac machines

There are several printer settings you can make use of when printing posters. These settings are usually available by clicking on (Printer) Properties in the print menu of the application you are using:

  • Document size: there is a large selection of possibilities, including some with "no margins", e.g. A1 no margins. Note that it is safe to print with no margins as the paper we buy is larger than A1, A0 etc so printing with "A1 no margins", for example, will not come right up to the physical edge of the paper. Some of the sizes you can select will conflict with the defaults, so you may get a popup window notifying you about these conflicting options; if this happens, you can fix the conflicts by clicking OK.
  • Printing Shortcuts: select the GIS printing shortcut.
  • Paper Type: select HP Coated Paper.
  • Print Quality: for most documents, set the slider to somewhere half way along the line (the default). However, if your document features large areas of flat colour, particularly black or dark blue, then move the slider along to the Quality end. Black or dark blue can be prone to banding - increasing the quality puts more ink on the page, which gets rid of the banding, but will take longer and can make the paper so wet that it cockles (wrinkles and creases).
  • Page Scaling: if your file is already scaled to a particular size then you should set Page Scaling to 'None', otherwise you should set Page Scaling to 'Fit to Printable Area'.

Not all of these options may be available.

If the result has incorrect colours (this happens sometimes with PDF files in particular) then add the following step to the above procedure:

  • in the gum Printer Properties window, select the Color tab
  • Select the Application managed colors button instead of the Printer managed colors button

Printing from UNIX

Printing from Unix can cause problems (e.g. banding - horizontal stripes in slightly varying shades appearing in large areas of dark colour). It is strongly recommended you use Windows instead, as you will get much better results that way.

If printing PDF, it is best to print directly from acroread. Windows application formats (.doc, .ppt, etc) can be printed directly from Open Office if you have it installed.

Postscript can be printed directly from the command line with lpr. If your document is A4 then you can pick the size you want by giving options to lpr. To scale the output to A2:

lpr -Pgum -A2 filename.ps

Likewise for -A0, -A1 and -A3. Note, however, that the Unix scaling options are severely limited, so if you want a non-standard scaling (eg. if your poster was produced at a "custom" size rather than A4, or if you start with something which is already scaled up), then it can be extremely difficult to get the scaling right. It is also difficult to access the other less common options (eg rotation, colour manipulation) directly from the command line.

Lamination

We have a large format laminator capable of laminating posters up to A0. The laminator takes some skill to use and works at a high temperature, and as such is not suitable for use by untrained lab members. If you wish to laminate a poster, please e-mail [Javascript required] and allow at least one hour for the poster to be laminated by one of the trained systems staff during usual office hours.

DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES ATTEMPT TO USE THE LAMINATOR YOURSELF!