I'm not totally sure whether this is the right spot to ask this question, but here it comes.

When creating scientific posters, you often have to place text, figures, and formulas on a large (A0) paper. There are programs that are commonly used (e.g. PowerPoint), which neither make good text layout nor support formulas. Other programs are great with text and pictures but don't make it easy to have complex formulas - especially formulas inline with the text. And while you can create the complete poster in Latex, which this question is about, I'd really like to use the mouse to do the layout.

So, what solutions have you come across that more or less do the job of creating a scientific poster which includes Latex-formulas?

I'm mainly interested in free software, but please also give commercial solutions as answer. Also the operating system doesn't matter that much. I'm using Ubuntu but can go to Windows, too. If it's Mac, well maybe it helps someone else.

  • Operating system? Commented Dec 17, 2010 at 11:05
  • Added a line about OS.
    – ziggystar
    Commented Dec 17, 2010 at 11:28
  • 2
    It's not an answer to the question, but maybe you should just take the plunge and let LaTeX take care of setting out the page as well. There's plenty of poster classes, and you can make adjustments manually with a little trial and error...
    – Seamus
    Commented Dec 17, 2010 at 12:59

4 Answers 4


You could use Inkscape. It's a free (GPL) vector drawing application. You can embed pdf directly and eps using the pstoedit library. But there is also an extension called textext that allows you to include TeX directly. (it also relies on pstoedit)

  • Yes, I've discovered this some days ago. Unfortunately Inkscape is particularly bad at setting text. Though it manages to remove the background from the Latex output, so you can use this freely.
    – ziggystar
    Commented Dec 17, 2010 at 10:23

I myself have tried to use the free desktop publishing program ScribusNG.

It is nice for text (even has baseline grid to align baselines across text blocks/columns) and images. It now features rudimentary Latex support, where you can render Latex-Code into your document. Though when you want inline formulas, you'll need to let Latex render whole paragraphs or text blocks. And then you aren't able to sustain the register.

Also I didn't manage to remove the white background from the Latex output in order to place it above other elements.

  • At least with the version included in Ubuntu 10.10, transparency works fine.
    – Caramdir
    Commented Dec 17, 2010 at 13:16

I'd suggest IPE. It's a vector drawing tool that uses Latex for all its text objects, allows to include raster based images and uses pdf as its default output format. It takes a while to get the hang of the interface, but it's well worth it.

  • This program doesn't look bad. Import of vector images would be nice, though.
    – ziggystar
    Commented Dec 17, 2010 at 15:02

The preview package is afaik able to extract equations as pictures from a LaTeX document. I think the biggest problem is that of a matching text and equation font. I have seen people working with the free vector program inkscape to produce their posters (but this more as a side-note)

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