• Keep your poster simple.
  • Use common fonts.
  • Use clean, simple backgrounds. Avoid using pictures, gradients and fades. These can create problems with text and imports and can make too large a file, which often makes them take longer to process.



File types that we accept for printing are: PDF, EPS, AI, PSD, JPG, PNG, and TIF.

When saving a final poster file, saving as PDF is best.

JPG, TIF, and PNG files must be full final poster size because they do not otherwise enlarge well.




  • Start with a fresh template or layout every time.
  • Do not reuse an old template or use someone else’s template. Deleting information from old templates can leave artifacts from any previous poster that cause problems that show up when printing, even if you do not see them on your screen.
  • Try to work on the same computer for the entire poster, if possible.
  • Do not cross platforms. Work on only one operating system: Mac or PC.

If collaborating, you should keep the original file and circulate a copy. Then make any changes on your original file.
Just opening and closing a file on a different computer can create possible problems.


Graphs and Photos

  • Color Mode: Should be RGB. If they are CMYK, open in a design software like Photoshop and save as RGB before inserting.
  • Insert objects, charts or photos. Don’t cut and paste, or copy and paste.
  • Image Resolution: Recommended: No less than 150 dpi at 100%.
    More is unnecessary, less is inadequate for good results. 300 d.p.i. at final size is optimal. To check, view import at it’s final size. Generally, double clicking on the import will open it in Preview, then check at final size. The original picture or import must be sharp or it will deteriorate when enlarged. Many screen shots or grabs can be low res and will pixelate when enlarged.

Page set-up

  • Set up your poster at the desired final size. If you want a size larger than PowerPoint supports, make it at half size and we can double the size at final printing.
    If final size is to be 4 feet by 6 feet (48×72 inches), make the page set-up 2 feet by 3 feet
    (24×36 inches), and ask for the print at 200% for final printing.
  • Leave at least 1 inch margin around the edges of the poster to prevent cropping and to increase readability. To display the ruler go to the View tab and select Ruler.

Text and Fonts-

  • We support all fonts that comes with Microsoft Office or Adobe Creative Suite.
  • Don’t use any more fonts than necessary. One or two is generally all you need. To emphasize change, use varying sizes or attributes of one font.
  • Make the font size large enough to read from 3 to 6 feet away at final size.


  • Semi-gloss: gives the best color and detail, especially for photographs and detailed images.
  • Matte: has a beautiful matte finish that works best for displaying simple graphics, graphs, charts, and tables.
  • Travel Fabric: Great for travel—can be packed in your suitcase. No tube needed!


It is recommended that you save your file as PDF. This does not a guarantee what the final poster will print like, but it can help reveal any problems or issues that may occur when the file is processed by our printer.

File check

  1. Go to file, Save As.
  2. When selecting the file type, select pdf and click on Save As. This will save your file at the same size on page setup.
  3. Open your pdf file and review.
  4. Order your poster at posters.hsa.washington.edu
  5. Proof is highly recommended if you have time.