How to Make a Conference Poster Using xfig and Print it at UCSD.


Making the Poster

  1. Run xfig with zoom scale set to about 0.2.  Define an appropriately sized poster region.  (Xfig displays the dimensions of standard sizes such as AO and ANSI E in the print function.)  Insert background image, using the Figure function or shade background as desired. Note that background image colors may need to be faded using an image manipulation package such as xv.
  2. Put in basic headings and background regions.  For background areas, set Depth to be a big number (greater than 100, for example) to prevent the background from overprinting figures and captions.
  3. Generate eps figures with white backgrounds, compact color forms.
  4. Generate text in latex and write to correct form (convertible to pdf) e.g.
  5. Load each figure/caption into poster using Figure function.
  6. Save:

Printing the File


As of about 2000, Kinko's charged $12/square foot to print plus a $10 send file fee.  Call for the dimensions that they can process.  At the time, I was told that the largest size poster they could handle was 33 x 40 inches.  If total costs are likely to exceed $100, then a purchase order should be completed.

Kinko's requires pdf files, rather than postscript.  Since they charge by the square foot, you may wish to use a nonstandard paper size, to exactly capture the relevant image, without paying excess charges.  To do this, convert full-sized eps to pdf using ps2pdf.

 ps2pdf -sPAPERSIZE=dummy poster_full.eps poster_full.pdf
Note that the relevant PAPERSIZE should be defined in which can be copied from /usr/share/ghostscript/?.??/lib to the working directory.  Paper dimensions are measured in points (72/inch).

IGPP (SIO: available only to those with active IGPP printing accounts)

To print in IGPP, save as postscript in A0 or ANSI E papersize.  For maximum width, the file must be in portrait mode (even if it is to be displayed in landscape mode).  There are two ways to convert landscape images to portrait mode In recent years, printers have included goya ($14/page) and pollock ($10/page), and files are sent using standard commands:
lpr -Pgoya

UCSD Facilities

There are two large-format printers available from sdcc12. However, they are picky about page sizes. For example, postscript from xfig will not print out directly. To fix this, edit the postscript and find the line

%%BoundingBox: 0 0 number1 number2

where number1 and number2 are two numbers. Now add the following

<< /PageSize [number1 number2] /ImagingBBox null >> setpagedevice
<< /Orientation 0 >> setpagedevice

before the line %%EndSetup. The poster should now print.

UCSD Imprints

UCSD Imprints reports that they have a large-format poster printer that can print posters as large as 5' by 10'. They can also mount and laminate. Orders can be submitted on-line via PrintConnection, and costs can be recharged to a UCSD index. (updated 25 June 2009)

Other resources

Cookbook for xfig matlab latex poster making (Delft University of Technology)
Making a Poster Using LaTeX and Xfig (University of Oxford, Mathematical Institute)

Sarah Gille, 2002

Stefan Llewellyn Smith, revised, 2003.