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  • Preparing Large (Oversize) PDFs from Illustrator Documents for Printing

     Ahmed ElShenawy updated 3 years ago 2 Members · 3 Posts
  • Ahmed ElShenawy

    February 14, 2018 at 12:15 pm

    Hello everyone,

    I’m a novice when it comes to printing and I need some advice, please.

    I’ve been asked to design a 2.5×8 metres banner. Because of Illustrator document size limits I created it half the size of the final print (1.25m x 4m), but now I ran into another issue: The print shop wants me to send them the design in PDF format, but when I print to PDF it doesn’t allow me to create a document 4 metres wide! When printing into PDF my available options are “doPDF v7” & “Adobe PDF”. Both allow maximum width/height at approximately 2.7 metres.

    I am now left with 3 options:

    1. Print to PDF in even smaller size (0.625m x 2m) and let the print shop scale it up 4 times on the printer to get the required print size (2.5×8).

    2. Split the artboard and design in 2, each 1.25×2 metres, and let the print shop scale it 2 times and attach the two parts together.

    3. Create 4 artboards, each 2.5×2 metres and split the design into 4 parts, which combine together into the final 2.5×8 banner while avoiding any scaling.

    Which is the proper workflow to achieve this? Or is there an entirely different method?


  • Tom Van Damme

    February 15, 2018 at 8:07 am

    Hi Ahmed,

    not quite sure what the correct workflow should be. I make a lot of designs for tradeshow booths but they are never larger than 4m. So I never really encountered this problem.
    I’m guessing upscaling is the best idea. The resolution for these later prints usually is lower than normal print quality so when you save your images on a high enough resolution the print quality should remain reasonable when upscaling.
    If it’s vector only, it won’t matter much ????

    Please let me know what worked for you – I have a booth of 6m long coming up in September. ????


  • Ahmed ElShenawy

    February 15, 2018 at 9:37 am

    Hey Tom,

    My design was also used for a booth, and it finally worked out ☺

    In utter frustration I sent the design both scaled down and split into 2 artboards/PDF pages for the print shop to scale up in the final print and combine. I don’t know how they put them together but the banner was printed in one piece, 2.5×8 metres. I had my doubts about how far I can scale up vector graphics in PDFs but several people, including yourself, confirmed that it’s not an issue, and I saw it myself in the final print.

    My bigger concern of course was with the raster images! Before splitting it into 2 artboards, I tried scaling down the entire design on a single artboard to the max possible PDF size to protect the images. It wasn’t a very good idea ???? The PDF was too large and a wide strip of the banner (about half a metre) wouldn’t render anything except for the logo. Hence I split it into 2.

    Anyways, I got a good answer from the Adobe forum regarding the matter:

    A PDF can always be resized, so 1. is the obvious choice.

    Just make sure that the AI document/file is made with the right/sufficient resolution for possible raster effects and raster images.

    The size (in pixels x pixels) in raster images should correspond to the desired resolution at the full/final size (2.5×8 m), and the resolution of raster effects (Effect>Raster Effects Settings) should be twice the desired value at the full/final size (2.5×8 m).

    Obviously, the desired/needed resolution depends on the intended viewing distance, you may ask the printing shop.

    Here’s the link to the full discussion:

    Good luck on your September design 🙂

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