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Although Photoshop is an advanced photo manipulation application, it doesn’t come with a tile printing feature like Adobe InDesign or Illustrator, as it is mainly designed as a pre-press editor. Knowing how to tile print in Photoshop can help you bypass this problem and use Photoshop for home publishing.
How to Tile Print in Photoshop
Sometimes you might shoot high-resolution images specifically for large format printing. Like any other image, you might still want to edit the image in Photoshop to improve its looks and add some effects before printing.
However, if you print without a large printer like the commercial presses, the printed image might be compressed, and the details become almost invisible. The resulting printed image will also be smaller than your banner or poster requirements.
The best solution is to divide the photo and print it on several smaller pages, commonly referred to as tile printing. You can then join the pages like a jigsaw puzzle to form the intended image size. Although Photoshop doesn’t feature tile printing tools, you can use the following tactics to tile print in Photoshop.
Using Adobe Acrobat Reader
The Adobe Acrobat Reader is free software from Adobe that allows you to view, share, sign, print, and annotate PDFs. This application is versatile and compatible with many platforms such as Android, Mac OS, and Windows. After editing the document in Photoshop, use the following steps to create a PDF for tile printing.
- With the document opened in the Photoshop Workspace, navigate to File, and then choose Save A Copy. Usually, a dialog box will pop up
- Click on the drop-down menu beside Format and then choose Photoshop PDF. Typically, this will make Photoshop save the exported document as a PDF that can be opened with the Adobe Acrobat Reader
- Enter the document’s name, note the hard drive location where the document will be saved, and then click on Save. Usually, this will open the Save Adobe PDF dialogue box, which contains options for the various PDF settings
- If you’re unfamiliar with the PDF settings, it’s advisable to the Adobe PDF Preset to High-Quality Print, use the other default settings, and then click on Save PDF
Install the Adobe Acrobat Reader
If you don’t have the Adobe Acrobat Reader app, you can download it from the Adobe website and install it. You should, however, note that the Acrobat DC is a paid version, so go for the free Acrobat Reader version.
Once the installer download finishes, run the file and follow the prompts to download and install the actual Acrobat Reader app. Keep in mind that this is a two-step process where you download the installer, and after running it, it automatically downloads the Reader.
Print With the Acrobat Reader App
Open the Acrobat Reader app. Usually, you will need to skip or follow an introductory tour if it is a new installation. Once the application opens, navigate to File and then select Open. Usually, a Mac finder will open if you’re using a Mac or a Windows Explorer if you’re using a Windows PC.
Locate the saved PDF file on your hard drive and then select Open. Go to File and choose Print to open the print dialog box. To divide the document into multiple pages, hit the Poster button under the page sizing & handling option.
Although the tiling is automatic, you can check the image preview to view the number of pages and image size per page and then use the Tile Size option to adjust the sizes. You can also adjust other print settings depending on your preferences and type of printer. Once done, click the Print button to start printing.
Dividing the Document Manually
If you are not connected to the internet, or you have run out of hard drive space, and you can’t install the Adobe Acrobat Reader for automatic tiled printing, you can use the following tips to divide the image into tiles manually using Photoshop Slice Tool.
Determine Your Printer’s Maximum Printable Area
Printers come in different sizes, with some being physically larger than others, making them have larger printable areas. That means you need to know the maximum printable region of your printer and the size of your printing papers to determine the size and number of image sections you need to slice.
You can determine the maximum printable area by opening a Word document, setting the printer as the default printer, and changing the margins to zero in the Page Setup options. Usually, a dialog box will pop up indicating the margins are set outside the printable area, with an option for fixing or ignoring.
Click on Fix, and the editor will automatically populate the right maximum margins. You can then subtract the indicated margins from your paper size to get the maximum printable area of your printer. Alternatively, you can check the information from your printer manufacturer’s website.
Divide the Image
With the image open in Photoshop, navigate to the Crop tool on the toolbar, right-click and then choose Slice Tool. However, if you opened the Slice tool earlier, it will be shown on the toolbar in place of the Crop tool.
Right-click on the document you want to divide and select the Divide Slice option to open the dividing dialog box. Depending on how you want the tiles and the printable area of your printer, you can check both the Divide Vertically Into and Divide Horizontally Into boxes and then enter the number for horizontal and vertical slices.
Typically, this tool will divide the image horizontally and vertically into equal sections of the entered number. You can also slice the image using pixels per slice instead of the number of slices. It’s advisable to keep the Preview checkbox enabled so you can keep track of the slices.
Save and Print the Slices
Usually, you will need to save the slices as separate images so you can print them separately. Go to File, click Export, and then choose Save for Web (Legacy). You can also use the Option + Shift + Command + S shortcut keys if you use a Mac or Alt + Shift + Ctrl + S if it’s a Windows PC.
Set the Preset to JPEG, choose Maximum from the dropdown menu below the JPEG option, and then hit on Save. Photoshop will create a folder and save the images, and you only need to locate it from your hard drive using the above mac finder or Windows Explorer tips.
Usually, the slicing method allows you to print the slices individually like an independent document and then assemble the images to form a poster or banner. Depending on the complexity of the image, you can keep track of how you are printing the different parts to avoid confusion when assembling.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Divide an Image Into Tiles Using the Marquee Tool?
You can divide the image into tiles using the Marquee tool by making a selection using the Rectangular Marquee tool, copying the selection, and pasting it on a new Photoshop document. Typically, this might be the alternative solution on older Photoshop versions that don’t have a Slice tool.
Can I Add Several Images on a Tile in Photoshop?
You can add several images on a tile in Photoshop by opening the first image, holding the Shift key on your keyboard, and dragging the image to resize it without losing details. Once done, hit Return or Enter and then drag and drop more images into the document.
Knowing how to tile print in Photoshop will help you print posters and large banners, even with a small printer. Simply export the document as PDF, open it with the Adobe Acrobat Reader and tile print it, or slice it into multiple images using the Slice tool.