pdfposter can be used to create a large poster by building it from multiple 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 moderately.

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

-h, --help Show help message and exit
 List available media and distance names and exit
 Show help about specifying BOX for –media-size and –poster-size and exit
--version Show program’s version number 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.

Defining Input

-f, --first First page to convert (default: first page).
-l, --last Last page to convert (default: last page).
-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.

The scaling factor is applied to the width and height of the input image size. Thus, a scaling factor of 2 results in a poster 4 times the area compared to the original.

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 multiplier 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 height differ. Thus using media names is a bit tricky:

10x20cm:obvious: 10 cm x 20 cm (portrait)
20x10cm:same as 10x20cm, since all boxes are rotated to portrait format

Now when using media names 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 (approx.) the same as 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.