Home 5 Chemistry & Biochemistry 5 Department printers (poster printer)

Department printers (poster printer)

Note: The Physics Department requires pre-approval from our department for all requests related to poster printing. If you are a physics undergraduate or graduate student, you will not be able to use the poster printer unless you have pre-approvals.

Graduate students should contact Ben Miller, Graduate Coordinator for pre-approval.
Undergraduate students should contact Cathy Murphy, Department Manager, for pre-approval.

This machine is a self-service printer, that is available for use by PBSci departments only. Departments are recharged once a year for all posters printed. The Chemistry department does not invoice individual labs, nor accept cash payments. For those associated with the Engineering Department – please visit the Baskin Engineering Lab Support page. If the machine is out of order – which can happen from time-to-time: please review this list of Poster Printing Alternatives.

THIS IS A SELF SERVICE PRINTER. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK (in other words, don’t wait till the last minute). There is very limited staff support. If you are in a crunch for time, we suggest you look into Poster Printing Alternatives.

Schedule an appointment

  1. Due to staffing limitations, the printer is available on Mondays. If you are not able to make a Monday appointment, please contact kcramton@ucsc.edu to schedule an alternate time. You must contact her at least two days ahead of time to allow for adequate time to schedule.
  2. Fill out the request form using the link below.
  3. Look for a confirmation email. You will receive a confirmation email within 1-3 business days. If you do not receive confirmation, please contact the Department Assistant.

Prior to your appointment

Read the helpful tips on preparing your file for printing and instructions on how to print once you arrive at your appointment.

Day of appointment

  • Come to the Chemistry Department office – PSB 230, to check out the key from the Department Assistant
  • Arrive five minutes before your appointment
  • For 9:00am appointments — the Department office will open promptly at 9:00am
  • For 12:00pm appointments — please arrive 10 minutes before your appointment, as the Department office closes promptly at 12:00pm.
  • For 1:00pm appointments — the Department office will open promptly at 1:00pm.

Printer reservation calendar

Printer reservation form

Poster design guidelines

Failure to follow recommended guidelines may result in poor quality posters or delays in printing.

Software for designing posters

  • File should be saved as a PDF file, the printer will not print from Powerpoint.
  • We recommend creating your poster in Powerpoint, some other types of software have caused issues with not creating files that can be printed, even after saving to PDF.
  • Standard Poster Size 36 inches by 48 inches.
  • Image resolution should be 300dpi or a little higher at the final size of the image.
  • Ensure your file size is not too large or it will take a long time to process. 5-10MB is on the higher end for your file size. Most files are around 2MB.

Powerpoint setup instructions & tips

  1. In Powerpoint, create a new blank presentation. Because Microsoft often keeps extra information on a file, we recommend to starting with a *new* blank presentation & copy elements to it from existing slides. Creating a poster on a template has caused issues for previous users.
  2. Re-size the slide to match your desired poster size. File -> Page Setup;. Select slide size for: Custom and change the measurements to the size of your poster (example 48in x 36in). Once you have set these sizes, you can put images right up to the edge on your document.
  3. When printing to a local laser printer and you want the entire slide, select the auto scale feature on your print driver dialog box. If printing on the poster printer machine, make sure to save your slide as a PDF.

Poster dimensions

The Standard Poster Size is 48in x 36in (either vertical or horizontal) One dimension must NOT be any larger than 42in. Our standard paper rolls are 42in wide and will automatically adjust to print your poster so that it will fit on our paper.


Poster resolution

Resolution refers to the number of colored dots or pixels that make up an image. It is commonly expressed in dpi or dots per inch.

Resolution Rules-Of-Thumb: 300 Dpi At Final Image Size

  • When creating a new document, first, before beginning to add images, text, etc., set the overall dimensions.
  • The higher the dpi, the greater the resolution, the better the image quality. But don’t go overboard. Higher resolution images create larger file size.
  • Image resolution is directly and inversely proportional to an image’s physical size. When you increase the resolution of an image, reduce its size. When you enlarge an image, lower the resolution. Otherwise, the image will print poorly.
  • For printed images, the ideal resolution is 300 dpi for images and 400 dpi for text at the final printed size.

Fonts and symbols

Recommend use of standard fonts and/or symbols.


Warning on background colors and watermarks

Use a white background for your poster when possible. Avoid using background colors for the entire poster, small areas to highlight certain details are ok. If using a watermark, ensure it is very light and will not interfere with the information on your poster.


Other tutorials and references

Designing Conference Posters
Pragmatic, useful advice written in an entertaining style from a former biology professor at Swarthmore College. Don’t let the easy prose style fool you, there are many great suggestions here.

And now for something completely different, check this design out: How to create a better research poster in less time (including templates) Template here: https://osf.io/ef53g/ | Examples on Twitter: https://twitter.com/mikemorrison

Every field in science uses the same, old, wall-of-text poster design. If we can improve the knowledge transfer efficiency of that design even by a little bit, it could have massive ripple effects on all of science. Also, poster sessions tend to suck, so here’s my pitch to make them more efficient AND more fun with a new approach to designing scientific posters/academic posters that is both more usable, and easier to create! Mike Morrison

Common Copyright Questions Answered

Printing instructions

We have a new poster printer!

We have recently replaced our old machine with a much faster, much easier to use machine

Before using the printer, you must have a confirmed appointment that you have scheduled above.

Please plan on arriving at the Chemistry Department office at least 5 minutes early to your confirmed appointment to pick up the key to open the Poster Printer room.

Please Note: If you are more than 15 minutes late, you will lose your slot and your department will be billed. If you do not show up for your spot at all without contacting the Department Assistant 2 hours ahead of time to cancel, your department will still be billed. Please be courteous of others that need to use the printer.

  1. Put your file onto a thumb drive as a PDF file. Currently this is the only way to print your poster. The printer is not connected to the computer and it will not print from a Powerpoint.
  2. Follow the directions on the touch screen on the front of the printer in order to choose your file
  3. Wait for the printer to process. The printer will say ‘processing’ for 5 – 15 minutes based on your file size. It then takes about 5 – 15 minutes for a poster to print (plus drying time).
  4. Wait until you are sure your poster is dry to roll it up.
  5. After you have finished printing, please enter the information requested in our Poster Printer Log Book.
  6. Open Safari or FireFox and fill out the online logbook AFTER you finish printing. Do not do so before you are sure that your poster has printed correctly.

Even if you didn’t print successfully, please sign the online logbook by opening Safari or Firefox from the dock.


Our printer is brand new and so at this moment, we do not have much troubleshooting advice. If you experience any issues, please send that information along with any solutions you found to kcramton@ucsc.edu so that we can update this page.

  • Printer shows error 08:04: Turn printer off and on again and the error should fix itself
  • My file has a red “x” on the icon and I can’t select it to print: Make sure that your file is in PDF form. The printer cannot print from Powerpoint.
  • My file says it is processing but it has been saying that for the last 10 minutes and nothing has changed: Your file is probably too large (most files for print are around 2MB). Try compressing your file and then attempt it again. There also may be issues if you use a software other than Powerpoint to create your poster. If you used Illustrator and your file is too large, try saving it from Illustrator->PDF without being able to go back and edit. That will help majorly reduce your file size.
  • My file printed really small: Your file may have been sized incorrectly. Please go to the Chemistry Office to let them know and they can assist you in re-sizing your print on the printer.
  • Some of my images didn’t print: That is an issue with your image file. Try re-saving as a different name or file type and replacing on your poster.
  • My flashdrive didn’t work: For some reason, every once in awhile flashdrives are not compatible with the printer. Save your file onto another flashdrive and try again. If you do not have a backup flashdrive, you may be able to borrow one from the Chemistry Department Office.
  • My poster cut off before it was finished: We are not sure exactly what is causing this issue other than potentially the printer is not able to read your whole file. This seems to be more common when you have used a template to create your poster or if you have large image files in your poster. Try compressing your poster file or copy and pasting your poster onto a new slide and saving it from there.
  • The poster printer won’t recognize my PDF file: There is most likely something on your poster that isn’t working right and there is an error. Double check all of your images and follow directions similar to “some images didn’t print” and “poster cut off” and see if that helps.
  • Last resort solution to many issues is to take a screenshot of your poster and save as a PDF and print the screenshot. It will be slightly pixelated but it is better than no poster at all.

Printing alternatives

MPress Digital Printing
Address: 252 Potrero St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Phone: (831) 420-1999
Website: http://www.mpressdigital.com/

M-F 8:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Saturday Closed
Sunday Closed


Address: 712 Front St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Phone: (831) 425-1177
Website: https://www.fedex.com/en-us/printing/posters/prints.html#details

M-F 7:00 a.m.–10:00 p.m.
Saturday 8:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m.
Sunday 10:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m.


UPS Store
Address: 849 Almar Ave Ste C, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Phone: (831) 426-5762
Website: https://store1128.upsstoreprint.com/content/posters

M-F 8:30 a.m.–6:30 p.m.
Saturday 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Sunday Closed


Real Color 3D
Address: 403 Swift St Unit C, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Phone: (831) 457-0115
Website: http://www.realcolorposters.com/
Hours: unknown

Office Depot
(Order By 2pm for Same Day Pickup -Sold in stores)
Address: 470 River St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Phone: (831) 459-8910
Website: https://www.officedepot.com/a/products/818654/Custom-Full-Color-Poster/

M-F 8:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.
Saturday 9:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m.
Sunday 10:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m.


Staples Print and marketing Services
(Order by 2pm and pick up same day for selected items)
Address: 2460 17th Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95062
Phone: (831) 824-9057
Website: https://www.staples.com/services/printing/custom-posters/

M-F 8:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.
Saturday 9:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.
Sunday 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.


Blueprint Express
Address: 820 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95062
Phone: (831) 426-5299
Website: http://bpxsantacruz.com/

Friday 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Saturday Closed
Sunday Closed


UPS Store
Address: 343 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95062
Phone: (831) 426-4422
Website: https://locations.theupsstore.com/ca/santa-cruz/343-soquel-ave/all-printing-services

M-F 8:30 a.m.–6:30 p.m.
Saturday 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Sunday Closed


Community Printers
Address: 1827 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95062
Phone: (831) 426-4682
Website: http://comprinters.com/cptemp2/

M-F 9:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Saturday Closed
Sunday Closed