Creating Posters and Signs in OpenOffice.org
Creating large posters, signs, and banners can be a challenge if you do not have professional tools such as Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, or QuarkXpress. Many people are on a budget and cannot afford these software packages, especially if they will only get occasional use. There are alternatives, however, which work very well, and cost you nothing. One such alternative is OpenOffice.org. For the Macintosh, you should look at NeoOffice, which is a Mac version of OpenOffice.org.
OpenOffice.org, at first glance, seem only to offer things like a word processor and spreadsheet. Word processors are wonderful tools, but they are not designed to make signs and posters. OpenOffice.org also includes a program called Draw. The advantage of this program is that it can create very large page sizes (even bigger than Microsoft Word). If you have a JPEG and simply wish to make it big and get it printed, then OpenOffice.org Draw is a very easy tool.
Another advantage of OpenOffice.org, is that it can export PDF files without installing any extra tools. This is important, because Smartpress.com only accepts PDF files. OpenOffice.org Drow makes it very easy for you to create the right sized document, and then size and position your pictures on the page. You can also draw simple objects, and create and position lines and blocks of text.
For this example, we will assume you want to create a 22x28" poster, and thet all you have for artwork is a JPEG taken with a digital camera. These are the steps you should follow:
- Launch OpenOffice.org. A Writer document will display. You can ignore or close it.
- Click File, New, Drawing.
- Click Format, Page...
- Set your Width and Height to the size of poster you wish to order. In this case, 22 x 28.
- Place your picture by choose Insert, Picture, From File...
- Locate your picture and click Open.Your picture will appear on your page.
- You can now move your picture by dragging it, and resize it by dragging the box handles on the sides and corners. You probably want to bleed your picture to the edge of your poster, so you should resize and position your picture so that it is slightly larger than your page size, and overlaps your page on all four sides. You can also crop your picture, by choosing the "Crop Picture" tool on the toolbar, or by choosing Format, Crop Picture...
- You can, if you wish, add blocks of text or other graphics objects.
- When you are satisfied with your artwork, click File, Export as PDF...
- The Default settings will generally work good for most print processes. Click Export.
- Give the PDF a file name and location, and save it. You can preview your PDF in Acrobat Reader to make sure you like the result.