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The best way to print a large poster is on a poster printer. For various reasons (cost, convenience, etc.) you may want to print out a poster on Letter/A4 size sheets.

On Linux/Unix (Mac?)

The *poster* program available on unix/linux based operating systems is really great for printing large posters on separate sheets. It provides alignment marks for assembling the poster and will properly scale your poster to fit the specified space (or you can scale and it will print out the right number of sheets).

1. Install necessary programs

Access/install a linux based operating system and install poster (and gv if you want to view the .ps files directly). In Ubuntu:

sudo apt-get install poster gv

2. Output your poster in .ps format

If it is in .svg format (recommended), use inkscape (command line) to convert it:

inkscape -f myfile.svg -P

If it is in pdf, use pdf2ps:

pdf2ps myfile.pdf # creates

3. Convert it to multiple pages

This command converts to 2x2 grid, but you can use other sizes, of course:

poster -mLet -p2x2Let > # U.S./Canada etc.
poster -mA4 -p2x2A4 > # Everywhere else

The -p option to grid thinks about the specified layout in terms of portrait oriented paper. Your document is automatically oriented for best fit.

4. Convert back to pdf

ps2pdf # creates myfile.paged.pdf

5. Print it

Can use the evince or acroread command to open and then print, but one can always print with lp:

lp -d NameofColorPrinter myfile.paged.pdf -o sides=one-sided

6. Assemble the poster

This is taken directly from the poster man page (man poster):

  1. Arrange the sheets in the proper order on a large table or on the floor.
  2. Remove from all sheets, except from those in the leftmost column or bottom row, their left and bottom cutmargin.
  3. In left-to-right and bottom-to-top order, glue the right (and top) cutmargin and stick the right (and upper) neighbouring page on top of that.
  4. Turn the glued-together poster face bottom, and put adhesive tape on the sheet edges (on the backside of the poster) for more strength.
  5. Remove the remaining cutmargin around the poster.

Cheap and beautiful!