I needed a poster for the Maker's Faire, but had my text and graphics laid out in Microsoft Word. These are the techniques I used to make a large poster using my plain old printer and freely available software.
Before you begin, check your printer driver to see if printing in poster format is an option. It will save you a lot of time and effort. Big thanks to the aware Karel Jansens for the printer driver tip.
Step 1: Save Your Word Document As a TIFF File
Let's hear how Microsoft would instruct you how to do this (from Office "Help"):
1. On the File menu, click Print.
2. In the Name list in the Print dialog box, click Microsoft Office Document Image Writer.
3. Click Properties.
4. In the Microsoft Office Document Image Writer Properties dialog box, click the Advanced tab.
5. Under Output format, select the TIFF - Monochrome Fax option, Superfine 300 DPI and then click OK.
6. In the Print dialog box, click OK.
7. In the Save as dialog box, select the View Document Image check box, and any additional options you want, and then click OK.
Step 2: Download and Install Picture Window Pro
Download and install the trial version of Picture Window Pro.
A 30-day evaluation version of Picture Window Pro 4.0. The evaluation version can be converted to a full working version by purchasing a serial number.
For Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Vista
The evaluation verion is not disabled in any way, but if you need this function often, please consider buying a license. They make a pretty handy piece of software.
Step 3: Open the TIFF File in Picture Window Pro and Print Your Heart Out
Open the TIFF file you saved in step 1. Select File > Print, then hit the "Print" button.
You will see the following page. Select how many pages you want to tile horizontally and vertically (how big) you want the poster, what size paper (letter or legal), and the orientation (portrait or landscape).
Set the "Print pages" numbers to the total pages of yoru poster, in my case it should be 1 to 16.
Step 4: Trim the Boarders
Your printer can not print all the way to the edge of your paper.
This leaves white borders around the edge of each sheet.
You only need to trim two edges of each sheet, since you can overlap your pages as you glue them down.
I like to start with the lower right most sheet, so I need to trim the bottom and the right hand side of each sheet.
Step 5: Dry Fit Your Pages
As a backerboard, I used a large remnant of old drywall, you can use any large flat surface. For a more professional look, choose foamcore, for the economy appearance use cardboard.
Lay your pages out without any glue to properly size and center your backerboard. This is caled a dry fit and will let you see any problems you may have beore you have to fix things with a page dripping with wet glue.
Fix any problems you can find.
Step 6: Glue Down Your Pages
I used rubber cement for my pages, but most adheasives should work fine. You can test your glue with a blank sheet of paper on the back of your board. If it wrinkles up, your glue has too much moisture.
Apply the glue to the backboard and carefully lay the page down watching your alignment to the backerboard and the other pages.
Using rubber cement, I was able to slide the paper around a little to get it alligned properly. Spray adheasives may not be so kind.
I painted a brushfull on the backboard where each corner of the page would be and spread it inward with the brush.
Step 7: Admire Your Fine Work
Once your last page is glued down and dry, you may need to go back and re-glue down some of the seams.
Once you're finished you can display your poster on an easel for all to enjoy.