pdfposter man page

pdfposter — Scale and tile PDF images/pages to print on multiple pages.


pdfposter <options> infile outfile


Pdfposter can be used to create a large poster by building it from multple pages and/or printing it on large media. It expects as input a PDF file, normally printing on a single page. The output is again a PDF file, maybe containing multiple pages together building the poster. The input page will be scaled to obtain the desired size.

The program uses a simple but efficient method which is possible with PDF: All new pages share the same data stream of the scaled page. Thus resulting file grows moderatly.

To control its operation, you need to specify either the size of the desired poster or a scale factor for the image:

  • Given the poster size, it calculates the required number of sheets to print on, and from that a scale factor to fill these sheets optimally with the input image.
  • Given a scale factor, it derives the required number of pages from the input image size, and positions the scaled image centered on this area.


General Options


Show program's version number and exit

-h, --help

Show help message and exit


List available media and distance names and exit

-v, --verbose

Be verbose. Tell about scaling, rotation and number of pages. Can be used more than once to increase the verbosity.

-n, --dry-run

Show what would have been done, but do not generate files.

-A, --art-box

Use the content area defined by the ArtBox (default: use the area defined by the TrimBox)

Defining Output

-m BOX, --media-size=BOX

Specify the desired media size to print on. See below for BOX. The default is A4 in the standard package.

-p BOX, --poster-size=BOX

Specify the poster size. See below for BOX. pdfposter will autonomously choose scaling and rotation to best fit the input onto the poster (see Examples below).

If you give neither the -s nor the -p option, the default poster size is identical to the media size.


Specify a linear scaling factor to produce the poster. Together with the input image size and optional margins, this induces an output poster size. So don't specify both -s and -p.

Default is deriving the scale factor to fit a given poster size.

Box Definition

The BOX mentioned above is a specification of horizontal and vertical size. The syntax is as follows (with multipier being specified optionally):

box = [ multiplier ] unit

multiplier = number "x" number

unit = medianame or distancename

Many international media names are recognised by the program, in upper and lower case, and can be shortened to their first few characters, as long as unique. For instance 'A0', 'Let'. Distance names are like 'cm', 'inch', 'ft'.

Medias are typically not quadratic but rectangular, which means width and hight differ. Thus using medianames is a bit tricky:


obviuos: 10 cm x 20 cm (portrait)


same as 10x20cm, since all boxes are rotated to portrait format

Now when using medianames it gets tricky:


same as approx. 21x29cm (21 cm x 29 cm, portrait)


same as approx. 21x58cm (21 cm x 58 cm, portrait)

This are two a4 pages put together at the small side: One portrait page wide and two portrait pages high.


same as approx. 42x29cm, which is rotated to portrait and is the same a 29x42cm (29 cm x 42 cm)

This are two a4 pages put together at the long side: Two portrait pages wide and one portrait page high.


pdfposter -mA3 -pA0 a4.pdf out.pdf

Prints an A4 input file on 8 A3 pages, forming an A0 poster.

pdfposter -p3x3Let a4.pdf out.pdf

Prints an inputfile on a poster of 3x3 Letter pages.

pdfposter -mA0 input.pdf out.pdf

Enlarges an inputfile to print on a large-media A0 capable device.

pdfposter -s4 input.pdf out.pdf

Enlarge an inputfile exactly 4 times, print on the default A4 media, and let pdfposter determine the number of pages required.

pdfposter -m10x10cm -pa0 a4.pdf out.pdf

Just to show how efficient pdfposter is: This will create a file containing 192 pages, but only 15 times as big as the single page. With a4.pdf being a quite empty page, this ratio should be even better for filled pages.

More examples including sample pictures can be found at http://pythonhosted.org/pdftools.pdfposter/examples

Examples for automatic scaling

  • For printing 2 portrait A4 pages high (approx. 58cm) and let pdfposter determine how many portrait pages wide, specify a lage number of vertical pages. eg:

    pdfposter -p999x2a4 testpage-wide.pdf out.pdf

  • For printing 2 landscape A4 pages high (approx. 20cm) and let pdfposter determine how many landscape pages wide, specify a lage number of horizontal pages. eg:

    pdfposter -p2x999a4 testpage-wide.pdf out.pdf

See Also

poster(1), pdfnup(1) http://pypi.python.org/pypi/pdfnup/, pdfsplit(1) http://pypi.python.org/pypi/pdfsplit/, pdfgrid(1) http://pypi.python.org/pypi/pdfgrid/

Project Homepage http://pythonhosted.org/pdftools.pdfposter/


Hartmut Goebel <h.goebel@crazy-compilers.com>

Licence: GNU Public Licence v3 (GPLv3)


Version 0.6.0