Michigan State University

We are excited to announce that we have moved to a new catalog. The old catalog will no longer be available beginning October 1st.

Please report any problems you may experience to Discovery Services by calling (517) 353-8700 or by filling out our feedback form.

Note: Borrowing from other Michigan libraries through MeLCat continues to be suspended until further notice.

To learn more information, please see our FAQ page  and our policy on Personal Data Collection and Usage for Library Accounts.

Poster Printing FAQ (Plotting)

Here are frequently asked questions on how to print a poster which gets printed on the plotter.

What is a Plotter?

Image of HP Page Wide Poster PrinterA plotter is a large format printer that produces both high quality poster prints in full color or black and white.

Hollander MakeCentral has one PageWide XL 4000, two HP Designjet T2300 Large Format Printers and one Designjet T795 LargeFormat printer/large format scanner combination unit.

Who may use this service?

The poster printing service is only available to MSU Students and Faculty/Staff. You must have a valid MSU NetID to log into computers that support the software needed to send a poster.

How much does it cost for a poster?

  • Full Ink Coverage (Color or Black): $6.00 per linear foot
  • 25% Ink Coverage (Color or Black): $3.60 per linear foot
  • Line drawing (Black or Color) : $1.80 per linear foot
  • Premium Paper is available for an additional $2.40 per linear foot.

What are the payment options?

Payment is made to the MakeCentral cashier at the time of service.

  • Cash – Bills up to $50 accepted
  • Personal Check – ID required
  • Visa/Mastercard/American Express – ID required
  • University Departmental Account – Customer must fill out an account charge form which includes the departmental account number to be charged, department’s name, address and phone number.

NOTE: We do not accept Sparty Cash or MSU Print Credit. Plot service is only available to people with a valid MSU NetID. Guest use is not supported.

How do MSU faculty or staff print posters for class projects using account forms

Two weeks before the class poster due date, please prepare the following items:

  • A list of students, listed by group, that are allowed to print a poster using the account.
  • The account number to charge. (sub-account and sub-object code if you are using those as well)
  • The name of the authorized university personnel for that account number and their:
    • Department
    • Campus Address
    • Campus Phone Number
    • Email
  • The size of the posters or highest amount they are able to charge to the account and if they are on premium or regular paper.
  • Are the students able to put a tube to carry the poster(s) on the account.
  • A timeframe for when these posters will be printed.

Please email the requested items to our Hollander MakeCentral Coordinator Kristina Jones: jonesk89@msu.edu

The students would come to our desk for poster printing instructions and let us know they will be charging to the account. We check their id to verify they are on the list of students allowed to print and fill out the departmental accounting billing form. 

If Hollander MakeCentral staff do not receive the above information at least two weeks before the project due date, we may not be able to accommodate your class.

Will I be required to pay for a poster that I send incorrectly?

Due to the high cost of ink, you will be required to pay for any large format print you ask MakeCentral staff to release from the print queue. You should use Print Preview in every application to be sure everything looks right before you send the Large Format Print to the print queue. You may watch the Large Format Print as it prints and if something is not as you had planned, have staff cancel it immediately. That will save some linear feet in your bad print payment.

What hours is the Plotter available?

The Main Library Poster Printing is available only when Hollander MakeCentral is open (which is an abundant number of hours).  Hollander MakeCentral: Service Desk Hours

PLEASE NOTE: Due to the length of printing time, MakeCentral staff are unable to release posters from the print queue within 30 minutes prior to closing time.

May I reserve time to use the plotter?

Even during the busiest times of the day and semester, our customers typically don't have to wait (and if they do have to wait, the time is minimal). For this reason, it is no longer necessary to reserve poster print times.

What is the largest size I can print (plot)?

The plotter in the Library has 36 inch wide roll feed paper. Therefore your poster can be 36 inches by many feet longer or shorter.

This width limitation only limits how wide your plot can be, the length is infinitely variable up to about 100 feet. Let the MakeCentral staff know if you plot will be longer than 5 feet as they may need to add more paper to the machine.

Is there more than one type of paper to print a poster?

Yes, there is a basic bright-white, flat finish paper and a premium paper with a semi-gloss coating to choose from. Please let the MakeCentral staff know which you would like to use.

Is it possible to laminate my poster?

Yes it is possible to laminate your poster at the Hollander Service desk. The cost to do so is $6.00 per linear foot. The maximum size that you are able to laminate is 38"x 56". Large format Lamination is a staff mediated service with a 24 hour turnaround period Mon-Fri.

How can I print something that is that much larger than the image on my monitor?

As part of Page Set Up, the file will be proportionally enlarged. Print Preview will be small enough for you to see (and you can use tools in the software to enlarge portions as needed for viewing), but it will print larger.

What are the most common uses for the plotter?

Many people use the plotter for printing large posters. (The largest you can print from PowerPoint is 36x56). It can also be used to enlarge a favorite photo (from electronic format) to poster size. It can also be used to print large AutoCad Drawings.

Where can I get help creating my poster?

Library MakeCentral staff can help you with sending your poster to print, but staff members are not trained in the technology for the software packages. Software guides and manuals are available for checkout in the Gerald M Kline Digital and Multimedia Center (4 West). Technical assistance may be available in your department or from consultants at off campus local printers. Also see sample templates under: What software do I use to make a poster?

What software do I use to make a poster?

PowerPoint is one of the most common options for making posters. We have added some samples to this FAQ for your convenience.

Created in PowerPoint, these templates are an easy way to make a poster. Each template is a single slide enlarged to poster size, either left blank for your content or with sample text boxes and charts into which you can insert information. Feel free to alter as desired.

To open a template in Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox, right-click your mouse button on the appropriate link below, select "Save Target As" or "Save Link As," and choose where you would like to save the PowerPoint presentation. Then, open PowerPoint and open the file you just saved. Information on saving files from library computers.

Can I make a large poster of a jpg picture?

You can send jpg files via applications such as Adobe Photoshop. Remember to conform to copyright guidelines when sending photos.

Can I plot a Word Document?

Microsoft Word maximum print size is 11x17. You could convert the Word Document into a PDF format and enlarge it to send to the Plotter in a PDF Reader. (Adobe Acrobat is currently the preferred reader for Plotter files). We suggest using PowerPoint to plot a file larger than 11 x17 inches.

How do I convert a file from Word to PDF for sending to the Plotter?

Go to File/Print and choose the PDF "printer" in the printer drop down menu. Send the document just as you would a print and save it. After you save it as a PDF file you may use the instructions for sending a plot from Adobe Reader to send the plot. This may sometimes cause a color variation. If this occurs, try the "Save As PDF..." function in Microsoft products to alleviate the issue.

Where may I Plot from?

Posters may be sent to the Main Library Large Format Printer from all Public Computers on the 2nd Floor West Wing.

I have my file set up, but how do I send it from a computer?

For step by step information by application about printing set up, see:

Is it possible to send a poster from my wireless laptop?

No, Large Format Printing is not a print option through wireless and MSUPrint. You may save your print file to a USB drive, log into a Public computer on 2 West send the Large Format Print. Or you may e-mail the print file to yourself and access it from your e-mail at a Public computer on 2 West.

Do you have something I can use to carry my poster in after printing?

MakeCentral at the Main Library sells cardboard plot tubes for a minimal cost. MakeCentral at the Main Library sells cardboard plot tubes for a minimal cost.

I have a question that is not addressed here, who may I contact?

Monday – Friday, 7:00am-4:00pm, you may contact:

  • Jessica Wagner, Unit Head, Hollander MakeCentral, (517) 884-0843 or e-mail: vasque25@msu.edu.

During other hours, you may contact:

  • The Hollander MakeCentral Supervisor at (517) 884-6386