A Quick Guide to Large Format Printing

Large format printers are extremely popular due to the praiseworthy versatility that they bring to the table. Regular documents along with high-resolution banners, billboards, digital art pieces, wallpapers, architectural plans, etc. that have immense sizes can all be printed with the device! 

Such printers consist of a paper roll that is fixated inside, and the technology also holds a cutter that slices through it whenever necessary. As a result, outputs with huge dimensions can be printed in high-quality, but the process can be rather puzzling. So, most people are asked how to carry out large format printing?

Today, we are here to erase any confusion regarding this process. Once you are done reading, you will be able to print out large files for décor or work whenever necessary!

How To Carry Out Large Format Printing

How To Operate Large Format Printing Machine

Large format printers operate using a printing technology that is identical to the way digital printers do. So, you need not spend too much time fretting out about the process. Instead, be patient as printers are known to smell fear and go through each of the steps calmly.

1. Get Your Files Ready

While printing out big documents, a lot of your attention needs to be directed towards prepping your file. First, you need to make sure the image or document you wish to print is not stretched out as pixelation occurs. Instead, use high-resolution images that offer superior quality even after being expanded. A pdf or jpeg format is the most ideal for storing but make sure to never trust a ppt.

Here are most commonly used file format with their advantages and disadvantages:

File FormatProsCons
JpegSmall file size.
Can be opened from any device.
support 24-bit color with up to 16 million colors.
Compression discards data
TIFFcan resize TIFF images without any loss of quality.
High image quality.
Not compatible with all browser
Required more disk space
EPSResizing the design is possible without loss of image quality
Work in both Mac & PC
Page layout limitation
PDFHigh resolution print ready file format
Design always remain the same after transferring
The file is not editable
GIFLow file size
Animation support
Supported by all major browser
Do not support more than 8 bit color images
PNGVery low compression loss
Small file size but supports a large number of colors
Support transparency and ideal for editing
Not ideal for printing
Does not support non-RGB color spaces such as CMYK

2. Altering Settings

Once your soft copy is edited and saved for printing, you should start thinking about the print settings. First, visit your device’s control panel and press on the ‘Devices’ option to be presented with the list of hardware connected to your device. Next, select your printer’s name and then proceed to right-click on the ‘Manage’ button to come across ‘Printing Preferences.’ You should now pick the orientation, paper size, media type, and color options accordingly.

3. Inserting Paper

Open your printer’s feed tray and slide in the right type and size of paper within. Use the paper guides to make sure they are aligned and push them until they touch the back. That way, they can be easily rolled in by the printer. If your large-format printer uses a roll of sheets, check to ensure it has enough paper to finish your printing job.

Architectural Paper Sizes

SizeArch AArch BArch CArch DArch EArch E1
Width x Height (mm)229 x 305 mm305 x 457 mm457 x 610 mm610 x 914 mm914 x 1219 mm762 x 1067 mm
Width x Height (in)9.0 x 12.0 in12.0 x 18.0 in18.0 x 24.0 in24.0 x 36.0 in36.0 x 48.0 in30.0 x 42.0 in
Aspect Ratio4:33:24:33:24:37:5

ANSI Standard Paper Sizes

SizeA4A3A2A1A0
Width x Height (mm)216 x 279 mm279 x 432 mm432 x 559 mm559 x 864 mm864 x 1118 mm
Width x Height (in)8.5 x 11.0 in11.0 x 17.0 in17.0 x 22.0 in22.0 x 34.0 in34.0 x 44.0 in
Aspect Ratio1:1.29411:1.54551:1.29411:1.54551:1.2941

4. Send The Command

As everything is ready, you can now go ahead and press the ‘Print’ button present at the bottom right corner of your print dialogue box. The printer will slowly roll the page in, and then, all you have to do is wait for the hard copy to come out. Do not immediately grab onto the outcome, as the ink on your prints might require some time to dry.

That’s it; following this tutorial will help you receive your desired large format printing output!

5 Things to Know About Large Format Printing

We always love providing our readers with extra assistance. So, here are some additional tips that you should read up on to increase your understanding of large format printing!

1. Large Format Printing Process

The large format printing process often uses up a lot of ink. So, while shopping for one such printer, make sure to spend extra time looking into the ink management system. Efficient ink bottles that are inexpensive and last for a long time are the appreciable choices, whereas ink cartridges that bleed out after a few prints will only cause you trouble.

The process also demands for an extremely high resolution. This is because more dots need to be placed per inch to provide a clear image that is not pixelated. Besides this, as the output mostly contains images, you also need high quality to be able to view them from afar.

2. Printer Types Compatible With Large Format Printing

Flatbed printers are often deemed to be the right fit for large format printing. The bed’s surface is lined with a substrate that is heated using UV rays to fuse the ink onto the page and form prints. Other than this, you can also seek the help of roll-to-roll printers which remove the hassle of loading large papers constantly.

What is the best option though is a mix between both – flatbed and roll-to-roll printers. They will let you access all the advantages of both worlds!

TypeSpecialty
Solvent Inkjet PrintersIdeal for producing exterior graphics
long-life and offers durability without a hitch
Aqueous Inkjet Printerswater is the carrier component of ink
ideal for printing both outdoor and indoor materials
UV–Based Flatbed Printersuse ultra-violet rays to heat ink
Durable outdoor images
Dye Sublimation PrintersDry instantly
Can print into wide range of material
Latex PrintersIt use resin-based and latex inks
Environment friendly and print into almost all material
Plotter or Pen PrintingMainly used for CAD drawing printing

3. How Should Files Be Prepared To Create The Best Finished Product?

To draw out the best possible result, people will have to keep the sizes of their prints into consideration while creating the image. A similar ratio needs to be built to make sure nothing is stretched out or squeezed in. You can also create a blank page of the same length to properly understand where each of the details will fit in.

Aside from this, color is yet another factor that affects the outcome. As different ink reacts differently with varying pages and textures, you should also do a test run on a small piece of paper. Observe how certain shades look once they have been printed to get a rough view of what your output will look like.

Lastly, a resolution of at least 300 pixels per inch must be maintained to ensure that nothing gets blurred throughout the printing process. Every detail in your image or text will be preserved, letting everyone notice the hard work that was dedicated to your large format print.

4. Which Products Are Ideal For The Large Format Printing Process?

Wide-format prints can be made on a variety of surfaces like fabrics, plastics, canvas cloth, wood, vinyl, coated paper, uncoated paper, metal, PVC, etc. This is why they are ideal for making many products.

Business signage, decals for stores, billboard banners, and posters are some of the most commonly seen examples. Printing companies usually take care of these tasks as they are large-scale tasks and require professional knowledge to complete successfully.

Besides this, common examples are window stickers, graphics, advertising stickers, point of sale displays, etc. Photo printing needs can also be met for exhibitions as long as you are using a high-resolution printer.

5. How Much Does Large Format Printing Cost?

How much a large format print will cost depends on the media used, sheet length, and type of print. Most shops will charge you around $ 1.99 per square foot, which can hike up to $9 or $18 based on the material you use. The expense will also deviate according to the quality and resolution provided. Large-format prints that include photographs are always costlier than those that mostly consist of texts.

Standard Sizes22″ x 28″24″ x 36″30″ x 40″36″ x 48″
Paper Only$37$47$60$81
Gloss Laminate$48$60$78$105
Matte Laminate$53$67$87$117
Crystal Laminate$71$87$108$142