I recently made a poster in LaTeX using the beamerposter package, it was 48x36 inches, and came out great. I now need to re-print the poster in a smaller size. (36x24 inches)

I realize that this changes the aspect ratio, and I'll have to finagle the layout a bit - but before i can do that i need all of the columns and the spaces between them to be the right size. There are a number of \setlength commands at the top of the file, which I assumed would take care of this:


When I make the \paperwidth anything other than 48, the paper size (in preview) does change, but the \sepwid width doesn't scale appropriately. Specifically, when I reduce the paper width to 36 inches, the columns end up being the correct size, but the space between them is closer to 0.1\paperwidth instead of 0.24\paperwidth, which results in huge spaces between columns.

What is LaTeX doing? How do I fix this?

...I also use the following packages in the poster: exscale, caption, subcaption, wrapfig, natbib

For a working example, download the zip file here: http://www.njohnston.ca/2009/08/latex-poster-template/, and change the dimensions in that example from 48x36 to 36x24.

  • do you use the geometry package? It will allow you to set the margins as you wish... Apr 12, 2013 at 22:18
  • I tried a few things with the geometry package and always got this error: LaTeX Error: Option clash for package geometry Apr 12, 2013 at 23:14
  • Could you please try adjusting all the parameters you mentioned by just using the geometry package? (geometry documentation here ) It's to avoid conflicts... Apr 12, 2013 at 23:27
  • I will re-iterate. I have tried using the geometry package, and failed because doing so leads to an error (stated above) which I do not know how to fix or work around. If you could provide a working example solution which uses the geometry package, I'd be happy to try it. Just advising me to look at a package that I've already spent some time with doesn't really help much. Apr 13, 2013 at 15:52

1 Answer 1


It looks like \paperwidth and \paperheight are being redefined, but \textwidth and \textheight are not. You can get the columns to fit on the page if you use something like this.


However, the headline is defined in beamerthemeconfposter.sty with a fixed width of 47in, so whereas the title text is centered the line underneath the header is not the correct length. (This can be more clearly seen if you try something like \setlength{\paperwidth}{60in}) Although not a very nice solution, you can get the correct 0.5in margins for the headline box if you redefine the headline as \hspace{0.5in}\begin{beamercolorbox}[wd=35in,colsep=0.15cm]{cboxb}.

  • Thanks erik, this works. How did you figure this out? Also...A colleague of mine noted that this appears in the logfile: beamerposter: checking size input, please wait. beamerposter: the input a0\ 1\ was correct, we proceed., and another solution is to add this to the beginning of the file: \documentclass[final]{beamer} \usepackage[size=a1,scale=0.75]{beamerposter} which overrides the size a0 (which is conveniently close to 48x36), and changes it to a1 (which is close to 36x24) Apr 16, 2013 at 22:57
  • Glad I could help! I noticed that in the template, \usetheme{confposter} came after the length definitions, so I suspected this was redefining the page dimensions. Moving \usetheme to the beginning didn't change anything, so I thought to look inside the style file and see exactly what was going on in there. Trying to increase the paper size instead of shrink it made me realize the page was being correctly defined but the text and header seemed fixed.
    – erik
    Apr 17, 2013 at 2:25
  • Great, thanks for the followup. It's good to learn how others debug these issues, in addition to getting the solution. Apr 18, 2013 at 3:43

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