By Steve Bain
Tile printing is perhaps the singlemost useful print-related feature for people like me who don’t keep a large format printer next to their desk. If you fall into this category, you may be interested in knowing that there is an alternate way you can print your oversized pictures or drawings at their actual size.
Tile printing involves printing documents in sections, or tiles. Both CorelDRAW and PHOTO-PAINT feature tile-printing functions that enable you to print any sized document to any sized print material. Using this technique, you can print a postage stamp design onto playing-field size material (or vice versa). These functions have changed little across past and recent versions. In this instance, we’ll be using the version 12 interface.
As a typical scenario, let’s suppose that we have a drawing—the map shown below—that needs to be dramatically enlarged and printed onto letter-sized sheets. In this case, the map has been prepared on a page size of 9 inches by 8 inches, but final print reproduction size needs to fit a space 63 inches by 57 inches.
Step 1: Set the Print Material Size
Accessed by choosing File > Print Preview, tile-printing is controlled using the Print Preview command. Since we’re scaling up the document (enlarging a small document), we’ll need to first select our printer and specify the print material size (in this case, Letter). To do this, choose Settings > General, and click the General tab of the Print Options dialog. To access print driver options, choose a printer and click the Properties button (shown below). Then choose your paper size, and click OK.
Step 2: Determine the Final Printed Size
With the material size selected, click the Layout tab, locate the specific page (if you’re using CorelDRAW), and click the Print Tiled Pages option (as shown below). Type a corresponding print size in one of the Size boxes, and press Enter. To avoid distorting your output, ensure the Maintain Aspect Ratio option is enabled. Notice that the # of Tiles boxes now show the number of sheets your output will need—for our example, enter a 63-inch width by 57 inch depth, which will require 56 tiles in total (7 horizontally x 8 vertically).
Step 3: Use Tile Overlap and Tile Marks
If your printer can’t print to the edges of the sheet, there’s something else you’ll need to do. Most composite printers leave a 5 percent blank strip at the edge of each printed page. To compensate for this, specifying a Tile Overlap amount (shown below) lets you add a uniform image portion to each tile section. If you’re unsure of the amount to use, print a full-page test sheet set with a background color.
If the blank margins around the edges are uneven, enter the largest value in the Tile Overlap box. To add trim marks to which to align the printed sheets when assembling the final product after printing, enable the Tiling Marks option. When the document prints, the tile marks will indicate both the edges of the tiles, and the overlap margins. After setting any other required options for printing, close the Print Options dialog box to return to the Print Preview window.
Step 4: Preview the Tiles and Options
In the Print Preview window, you’ll see your tile seams indicated as dotted lines, black tile marks matching your printing material size and orientation, as well as the overlap portion you’ve specified (as shown below). At this point, confirm your settings and you’re ready to print the tiles. Choosing File > Print starts the printing process immediately. If you’d like to print a specific tile without reprinting the entire collection, right-click any of the tile sections in the Print Preview window, and choose Print This Sheet Now from the pop-up menu. Only the tile you right-clicked will be printed at the current Print Options settings.
Steve Bain is an award-winning illustrator and designer, and author of nearly a dozen books including CorelDRAW The Official Guide.