Have you ever wanted to print a high-resolution image at a very large size—say, the size of a poster—but you don’t have a
wide-format printer (or don’t want to pay for the use of one at your local print shop)? One solution is to print the image in smaller sections, each taking up a sheet of standard paper, and then put those sections together to create the full image. Doing exactly this is the purpose of Alessandro Portale’s PosteRazor 1.5 (; free).
PosteRazor uses a clear, five-step process to produce your poster. In the first step, you use choose the image file you want to work with. PosteRazor supports a wide range of image formats: BMP, DDS, Dr. Halo, GIF, ICO, IFF, JBIG, JPEG/JIF, KOALA, LBM, Kodak PhotoCD, PCX, PBM, PGM, PNG, PPM, PhotoShop PSD, Sun RAS, TARGA, TIFF, WBMP, XBM, and XPM. Supported color types include monochrome, grayscale, 4-bit, 8-bit, 24-bit RGB, 48-bit RGB (for TIFF and PNG), and 32-bit CMYK (for TIFF). PosteRazor can also load 32-bit RGBA images, but transforms them to 24-bit RGB.
After choosing the image—either using a file-navigation dialog or by dragging the image into the Input Image field—you’ll see a small preview of the image and some basic information about it: size, resolution, and color type.
Step 2 is where you choose the size of the paper onto which you’ll be printing. Choices include A3, A4, legal, letter, and tabloid, or you can enter custom dimensions. (According to the developer, the size limit for each page is five meters [16.4 feet], which is actually a limit of the PDF format. Not that most people in PosteRazor’s target market will have a printer that can print on 16-foot paper.) You can also designate non-printable borders if your printer can’t print all the way to the edge.
In Step 3, you choose how much of each page’s portion of the image should overlap with those of the adjoining pages—in order to make aligning the pages into a single, larger image easier—and on which edges that overlap should occur. A preview shows you, in red, the area of each page that will overlap with adjoining pages.
In the next step, Step 4, you choose how large you want your poster to be. PosteRazor lets you choose an absolute size, where you designate the final width and height; a size in terms of the number of pieces of paper required to print the poster; or a size as a percentage of the original image. (Keep in mind here that the quality of your final poster is limited by the resolution of your original image; a low-res image won’t look good at very-large sizes.) If you choose either of the first two options, PosteRazor lets you designate a height or width and then automatically adjusts the width or height, respectively, to keep the original image’s proportions. If your final image—your poster—is smaller than your “grid” of paper pieces, you can also choose whether to center the poster on the pages or align it against any edge.
Finally, you save the poster; PosteRazor saves it as a multi-page PDF file and, optionally, opens it in your default PDF viewer (for example, Preview). You can print the pages immediately, or you can keep the PDF for later or even send it to someone else.
The trickiest part of the process is actually putting the separate pieces of the poster together. I recommend starting with the middle pieces—the very middle page if your poster has an odd number of pages—and then working your way out. Also, if your printer doesn’t allow printing to the very edges, you’ll need to trim the blank borders off some sheets when you join the pages together. (You should cut off the extra paper opposite the sides you previously chose for the overlap area.) This can be challenging if parts of your image are the same color as your paper—for example, white areas on white paper—but since the pages overlap, you don’t have to worry about trimming too much.
PosteRazor’s preferences window lets you choose your preferred units of dimensions: meter, millimeter, centimeter, inches, feet, or points. You can also choose the language used: English, German, French, Italian, Dutch, Spanish, or Portugese.
PosteRazor is simple to use and works well. What don’t I like about it? As a cross-platform program, PosteRazor’s interface looks very much like that of an older Unix or Windows program. I also wish PosteRazor provided an option to print a faint border around your image, so that if your image is smaller than the assembled poster—in other words, if there’s a blank area all the way around—you could neatly trim off the extra paper even if the image background is the same color as the paper. Finally, the developer notes the following missing features: Cut lines/aids; Support of Jpeg-CMYK images; Support of 16 Bit Grayscale images; Embedding an ICC profile into the PDF if there is one embedded in the input image