If you want to design and print your own posters, Apache OpenOffice 4.1 has the tools you need. OpenOffice's Drawing option gives you the ability to add a background, import graphics and add text in whatever position or angle you wish. If you're using your own artwork in a poster, use high-resolution photos to ensure they stay crisp when you print them.
Setting the Poster Size and Background
Select "New" from the OpenOffice File menu and then "Drawing."
Specify a page size if you want your poster to be a size other than the default letter size. Select "Page" from the Format menu and click a pre-defined size. Alternatively, specify your own page size by setting the width, height and orientation manually. You can also set the margins here. If you reduce the margins to zero, keep in mind that the edges may be cropped when printing, depending on the printer you use.
Click the "Background" tab. Clicking the "Fill" menu, you can select from a variety of colors and gradients, bitmap images and textured hatchings. When you click one, a thumbnail preview displays. If you select a bitmap, you can turn off the "Tile" option; however, this will make the background blurry on most posters since the small image is expanded to fill the entire document. Click "OK" to save your selection and close the Page Setup window.
Select "Picture" from the Insert menu. Click "From File" and then select an image. Of course, if the picture is on your desktop, you can simply drag it onto the slide.
Add shapes, such as an oval or rectangle, by selecting one from the menu in the right pane. Alternatively, select shapes from the toolbar at the bottom of the OpenOffice Window. Drag the cursor across the screen. You can change the fill color, line weight and transparency of a shape using the menu options on the right.
Drag a shape or image onto the poster. When you insert a new object or click it, a border displays around the image with eight anchor points. Drag any anchor point to resize the object. Hold down the "Shift" key to retain the object's aspect ratio while resizing it.
Click an image or shape, wait a moment and then click it a second time if you want to rotate it. The eight anchor points around the object turn red, indicating that you can now rotate it by dragging an anchor point. If you hold down the Shift key, you can restrict the rotation to 30-degree increments.
Click the T-shaped "Text" icon at the bottom of the OpenOffice window, or press "F2," and then drag the cursor over the slide to add a text box. Formatting options appear in the right pane. If your poster's design is particularly busy with shapes and images, enlarge the text size -- 48 points might be effective for a heading, for instance -- before typing, so you can easily spot the text on your poster. Although the maximum font size is 96 points, you can enter any size you wish by typing it in the font size "Text" field rather than selecting a size from the menu.
Type a title for your poster in the text box. To edit the text, click and drag across the words to highlight them. To select the text box itself, click the words, then click the text box border. You can move, resize or rotate the text box just as you would with a shape or image.
Add additional text boxes to include details for your poster as needed. Print your poster or export it to a PDF file for sharing digitally using the options from the File menu.
The Apache OpenOffice website offers a half-dozen templates for posters which you can download for free.