I am preparing a poster for an in-person (finally) workshop and I know that the general guide for posters is that they should be readable from 1-2 meters away. What I don't know is how this translates to what I see on a screen.

Since we have this guideline (1-2 m viewing distance) and know that the poster has a fixed DPI and final size this made me wonder: Is it possible to work out a zoom factor that I should set in software to virtually "view" the poster from about 2m away to check if the content is readable and looks nice? Has anyone worked this out before?

I am using Inkscape, but this should apply to other programs that allow zooming, e.g. any browser or PDF viewer.

2 Answers 2


Visual angle is the same for A0 on 2 m distance and A4 on 50 cm distance.

I thus find it a good, practical rule to make sure an A0 poster printed out on A4 paper (i.e., scaled to 25 %) is easily readable.

Or, the other way round, to work on the poster as if it were an A4-size flyer.

My 24" monitor has a height of about 30 cm, so approximately A4 length. It is placed at a viewing distance of about 70 cm, and I check an upright A0 poster scaled so that it fits the monitor height. (Since I tend to put too much stuff on posters ;-) and since I have good eyes the 70 cm instead of 50 as calculated seem appropriate to me)


Set the zoom to 100%, and look at your screen from 1-2 m away.

If you want to be sure it's really 100%, you can check with a ruler to confirm that 1 cm (or 1 in if you use freedom units) on your software actually corresponds to 1 cm on the screen.

  • 2
    freedom units - that made me chuckle
    – Sursula
    May 31, 2022 at 10:45
  • 1
    Alternatively, if you don't have a ruler: open a paper/other document prepared for A4/Letter paper on your computer; hold up a sheet of A4/Letter paper, and adjust until they're the same size.
    – avid
    May 31, 2022 at 10:49
  • And if you really want to be sure, after checking on screen print a part of the poster with the smallest font sizes on a piece of paper in orginal size and check if you can read that from 1-2m away, as screen readability and print readability are not necessarily the same.
    – Sursula
    May 31, 2022 at 10:59

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