We have two HP DesignJet Z6 color poster printers in the Allen School; one in the Allen Center (room 415) named "psclarge" and one in the Gates Center (room 241) named "pgclarge." This document provides information on the proper use of the printers, including the installation and setup of the printer(s) on your computer, and the steps needed to print.
Before getting into the details of how this all works, it's important to make a few things clear:
- Printing a PDF is a little simpler than printing a PowerPoint file. PDFs can also be printed from Linux.
- You want to know the width and height, in inches, of your file BEFORE you print it, because part of the setup process is entering the dimensions of the file you wish to print. In Acrobat Pro or Adobe Reader, hovering over the lower left corner of the file will show the dimensions. In PowerPoint, it's a little more involved: the Design > Slide Size > Custom Slide Size... dialog allows one to view and set the page size.
- Don't wait until the last minute to print your poster. It's not as simple as printing to other printers, it takes longer to print a poster, and chances are, if YOU are printing a poster, other people are printing posters as well.
- The paper rolls are 36 inches wide. You may need to take this into account when orienting your poster for printing.
Note: The poster printers are only available for use by Allen School (CSE) staff, faculty, graduate students and other sponsored researchers, and is not accessible/available for use by CSE undergraduate students. The printers typically see heavy load just prior to our Industrial Affiliates meetings, near the end of each quarter, and prior to conferences/sessions where posters are presented, so please plan accordingly.
An application-specific template can serve as a good starting point: it's the right size and orientation for your particular need.
- Microsoft PowerPoint (portrait orientation - recommended for Affiliates)
- Microsoft PowerPoint (landscape orientation)
- Adobe Illustrator (portrait orientation - recommended for Affiliates)
- Adobe Illustrator (landscape orientation)
If you choose, you can start from scratch, without a pre-defined template. Setting the paper size in your application to 36 inches wide by 60 inches tall is reasonable for a portrait-orientation poster, and 60 inches wide by 36 inches tall for a landscape-orientation poster.If you are mounting your poster on foamcore, you should set the paper size to 32 inches by 40 inches (portrait) or 40 inches by 32 inches (landscape).
Installing the Printer...
An important note: If you have used the poster printer in the past from a Windows or Macintosh host, and have "psclarge" set up, you will need to uninstall and reinstall the printer drivers before you can use either of the new poster printers. The printer hardware is newer and slightly different, and the printer drivers are different.
The printer needs to be "installed" on your computer before you can use it.
Instructions for installing printers are found here for Windows, here for Macintosh, and here for user-managed Linux hosts. If you're on a lab-managed Linux host, no user installation is necessary; they're already available to you.
Macintosh users will need to download and install the printer drivers, and reference the installed driver during the printer installation phase. To do this, visit HP's software and driver download site, and enter "DesignJet Z6 PostScript Printer Series" in the "Enter your product name" text box. Set the selected operating system to "Mac OS" and the OS version to the version you are using on your Macintosh, and download and run the installer. (As of 07 June 2019, it is called "HP DesignJet Z6/Z9+ PostScript Printer series Mac Integrated Installer," version 52.) When adding this printer, the last step before selecting the "Add" button is setting a parameter for the "Use:" field. For the poster printer, please select the "Select Software..." option, and from the list that appears next, select "HP DesignJet Z6 44in - PS." (If you see a dialog box that says "Unable to communicate with the printer at this time." please select the "Continue" button and the printer will be set up.)
Figure 1: The HP driver download page for Macintosh users.
Figure 2: The "Add Printer..." and "Printer Software" dialogs for Macintosh users.
Using the Printer...
Now that the printer is installed on your computer, you can send a file to the printer.
If you're curious, you can look at the printer queue for psclarge or pgclarge, or look at a live view of the Allen Center poster printer room (sorry, no camera in the Gates Center poster printer room).
Printing from Linux
Printing a PDF to one of the poster printers is easy:
lpr -P<printername> filename.pdf. If this does not work, you may need to specify the dimensions of your poster within the minimum and maximum width and height:
lpr -P<printername> -o media=Custom.36x60in filename.pdf.
Printing from Windows
- Open the document in your preferred application.
- Select "File -> Print."
- Select the printer - "\\rps\pgclarge" or "\\rps\psclarge".
- Select "Properties," then "Advanced."
- Under "Paper Size" select "PostScript Custom Page Size" and enter the width and height of the file (in inches).
- The print quality can be adjusted here, as well: if the "standard" print is not acceptable, setting the "Print Quality" value to its highest value will likely resolve the issue.
- Select "OK" several times to get back to the print dialog box. At this point, the scale and size of the preview image should be correct.
- Select "Print."
Figure 3: The "Print" dialog box before selecting the printer and setting the print size.
Figure 4: (left) Selecting "PostScript Custom Page Size." (right) Setting the print size.
Figure 5: The "Print" dialog box after selecting the printer and setting the print size.
Printing from Macintosh
These instructions are almost the same as the Windows instructions.
- Open the document in your preferred application.
- Select File -> Print.
- Select Page Setup (and "Yes").
- In "Paper Size" select "Manage Custom Sizes."
- Make a new profile (name it "poster - 20x30" for example)
- Set the paper size equal to the size of the file you are printing.
- Select "OK" to go back to the print dialog box. At this point, the scale and size of the preview image should be correct.
- The print quality can be adjusted here, as well: if the "standard" print is not acceptable, setting to "Best" will likely resolve the issue. To access this option, select "Printer" (and "Yes") from this dialog, then change "Layout" to "Paper/Quality" and select one of the "Quality Options" choices.
- Select "Print."
Figure 6: The "Print" dialog box after selecting the printer and setting the print size.
Figure 7: After setting up a new printer profile named "poster - 20x30" and setting the print size.
Figure 8: The "Print" dialog box after selecting the printer and setting the print size.
After You Print...
Please clean up after yourself. The room can get pretty messy during times of high demand, and it's easier to work in a clean workspace.
If the printer is out of paper, or it's in need of a new toner cartridge, or it just isn't printing, please contact support@cs and we'll come up and have a look at it.