Skip to Main Content

Plotter (Poster Printer) Guide

A step-by-step guide to wide-format printing at the Main and Mudd Library.


Want to print a poster? Come try our Plotter! This plotter is located in the Information Commons, just down the steps from the main entrance. - see map (below)

Map of University Library with the Plotter location in the Information Commons highlighted.


We also have a Plotter in the Mudd Library (2nd floor, Mudd Hall) on the north end of Northwestern's Evanston campus.

Size & Cost

Paper: 28lb bond paper only
Minimum 3mm margins
24", 36", and 42" paper available.

At least one edge of print must be less than or equal to maximum available roll size.
Other edge can be any size, min. 10" max. 150"

Please see staff for information, including assistance with setting up your file to print on the Plotter!

Plotter printing costs $2.50 per square foot.
Payment is made through NUPrint. We cannot accept a chartstring for printing.

Calculate Printing Cost

Length (in) ="
Width (in) ="
Cost: $

Library Staff Plotter Use

This guide is for staff of Northwestern University Libraries to print using the Plotter printer for work-related purposes only.

Please contact Anne Marie Sticksel,, with any questions.

Adobe PDF

This page focuses on printing files with Adobe Reader. We recommend using this method as you can easily save PowerPoint slides, web pages, text documents, and photographs as PDF files without losing your original formatting!


Step 1 : Getting Started

  1. Check the actual size of your document by choosing "File > Properties."
  2. Select "File > Print"
  3. In "page size & handling" choose "FIT"
  4. For Printer, choose "IC_PLOTTER" or "MUDD_PLOTTER"
  5. Click "Properties."

Note: If you need to see a larger version of the images, right click and select "open image in new tab."

Step 2 : Printer Properties

Step 2 : Paper Size!

Note: In this step, you are telling the printer the dimensions of your paper. You will need to adjust your file in the software so it can fit the paper, either by manually entering dimensions that reflect your desired size, or by automatically by scaling to fit paper.

1, Click the icon that says "Page as in Application"

A: Select the page size you want from the list.

B: choose "Create a custom page size"
Under "custom page size" choose width and length (inches) of your poster.
Name the custom page size (TIP: name it "WxL" where W and L are the width and length you entered.)
Click "Save." Your size will be automatically selected. 

2. On the lower half of the window, click the large paper roll (Media icon) and select "any loaded roll" as your paper source. This will select a roll size based on the dimensions of your print. If you need to select a specific roll, use the bottom "media source" as your option to choose the paper style/size based on what is currently loaded in the Plotter.

3. Click the large layout icon, select "1 to 1." This will ensure that your document will print to the size you selected in step 1.

4. Click "OK"
5. In your program, click "Print"

Step 3 : Print Preview

Step 3 : Print Preview!

Note: In this step, you have the opportunity to see what your poster will look like before it prints. You can make small changes, such as choosing a different type of paper, changing the way the document scales, or defining the position of the document on the page.

Before your document actually prints, there is one more step: the final preview!

  1. Make sure the Media is set to "Any Loaded Roll" and Layout is set to "1 to 1"
  2. Look closely at the dimensions & positioning of your file!
  • You can't change the dimensions of the page, but you can change the roll size/type or the layout of your document (including scaling, which may adjust the paper size). In this step, if you have more than one page, you will have to make changes for each page using the arrow icons under the preview image.
  • If you need to make changes to the paper size, or if you have a lot of pages and want to edit the scaling for everything at once, press "cancel" and edit the properties outlined in step 2 (everything you set so far will remain the same).
  1. If it looks OK, click "OK." Your file will send to the printer.

If your print is too big:
Make sure you have selected 1:1 as the layout. If you chose "Maximally scale to media" your file will rotate and scale to its biggest possible size.

If your print is too small:
Make sure that the dimensions of your file are correct.
Make sure to scale your image in the software you used.
e.g., "Fit" in Adobe Reader or "Scale to Fit Paper" in PowerPoint.