Promote your business with large format printing

Pairing the compact Canon imagePROGRAF TC-20M with Canon's user-friendly PosterArtist software means even the smallest office can go big on print.
A laptop showing a 2024 calendar created on Canon PosterArtist sits atop a Canon large format printer. A print of the design is emerging from the printer.

The Canon imagePROGRAF TC-20M has built-in USB, Ethernet and Wi-Fi connectivity. It also features support for hybrid working with Canon's Direct Print Plus, which enables you to easily switch between printing at home or in the office. © Keith Cooper

Sometimes bigger really is better. For posters and banners, large format printing can help you make a statement and stand out from the crowd. For complex, technical drawings, going large in print will make the all-important finer details clearly visible.

A problem, however, is that large format printers are notoriously unwieldy and take up a lot of space, which is often at a premium in the home or small office. That's where the Canon imagePROGRAF TC-20M comes in.

Keith Cooper is a professional photographer specialising in commercial, architectural and industrial photography. He also has a passion for printing and the technical side of digital photography, and is committed to helping others through his teaching, writing and lecturing work, while putting free resources on his website and sharing his knowledge via his YouTube channel.

Keith has been using the imagePROGRAF TC-20M, one of the best large format printers for photographers and an excellent printer for home office use, thanks to its relatively small footprint. Coupled with Canon's free PosterArtist software, it also enables you to print posters at home or in the small office, right on your own desktop.

Here, Keith shares the tips and tricks that he's picked up while using the printer and software for both work and pleasure.

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Pro photographer Keith Cooper closely examines a large print sitting atop a Canon large format printer. Next to the print is a tablet showing the same image, and a smaller print.

As well as Cloud support, the Canon imagePROGRAF TC-20M has a secondary USB port on its front panel. You can use this for scanning to or printing from a memory stick, 1 without needing to connect to a computer. The printer also has an intuitive control panel with pushbuttons and a colour screen. © Keith Cooper

What's so great about a large format printer?

If you want your prints to make an impact, bigger is better. For anything from posters and photo prints to technical drawings and banners, A4 prints literally come up short. The Canon imagePROGRAF TC-20M adds a different dimension, enabling you to create prints up to 610mm (24in), wide and 4m long. Capable of printing A1 and A3 designs, the printer can produce up to 100 sheets of A4, or 50 A3 sheets, continuously. What's more, there's no need to worry about paper jamming with its shaftless roll holder, and it has the added convenience of a built-in A4 flatbed scanner.

Will the Canon imagePROGRAF TC-20M fit in my small or home office?

Keith has tested and reviewed printers of all shapes and sizes but feels that the Canon imagePROGRAF TC-20M is something altogether new and different. "It's the first 24-inch printer that I've been able to put on a desk and use as a regular printer," he says. "Large format printers are generally freestanding so they're big and bulky with their own set of legs, and tend to take up a lot of room in the small or home office. This one just sits on a desk or chest of drawers, the roll feeder is self-contained, and the optional clip-on output basket can neatly gather up long prints." The printer measures just 968 x 525 x 245mm, making it a good fit even for tight spaces.

A hand holds a bottle of pigment-based ink near the open colour tank of a Canon large format printer.

Instead of using cartridges, the Canon imagePROGRAF TC-20M has tanks which are replenished by bottles of pigment-based cyan, yellow, magenta and black ink. The refillable ink is gravity fed, so you don't need to squeeze the bottles, and each bottle has a cut-off valve which only opens when the bottle is inserted in the top of the tank, and shuts off when the tank is full. © Keith Cooper

A hand appears to insert a roll of paper into the rear of a Canon large format printer.

For ease and convenience, and to save space, the Canon imagePROGRAF TC-20M has a shaftless roll feed system. Roll holders slot into the rear of the printer and a built-in cutter automatically trims roll-fed paper to size. There's also a paper input tray for cut-sheet media up to A3 in size. © Keith Cooper

How expensive is the printer to run?

Like Canon's popular range of PIXMA and MAXIFY MegaTank printers, the use of cost-effective refillable bottled ink to replenish tanks offers massive savings compared with cartridge-based inkjet printers. Additionally, ink levels can be checked via a smartphone to help users ensure the machine never runs dry. The 70ml refill bottles not only drive down running costs, but are more sustainable, helping to make the imagePROGRAF TC-20M an EPEAT Gold-rated device.2

"The refill bottles are designed so you can't pour the ink into the wrong tank, and it's a simple and completely mess-free process," says Keith. "There's a couple of other factors that I really like as well. The large ink tanks avoid the risk of running out of cartridge-based ink in the middle of making a really big print. And with cartridge-based printers I've often found that I replace one empty cartridge, only to find that others become drained as the new one is being installed. That's not a problem with this printer."

How easy is the printer to use?

You might think that a large format printer would be complicated and time-consuming to install and set up. Even with his extensive experience of all types of printers, Keith was genuinely surprised at how quick and easy it was to get up and running with the Canon imagePROGRAF TC-20M. "The installation is just as simple as for a regular desktop printer," he explains. "Rolls of paper slot into the back of the printer, without the need for a spindle. It's then fed through automatically for any size of print you want to make. An important point for me is that the printer includes an automatic cutter, so finished prints are literally cut to length, which saves the chore of doing it myself. And if I want to use cut sheets, for example of specialist photo paper or fine art media, a cut sheet feeder can accommodate sizes up to A3."

To further enhance ease of use, the imagePROGRAF TC-20M features a colour screen and intuitive controls for standalone copying complete with options to enlarge small originals, and for scanning and printing direct to or from a USB memory stick, all without the use of a computer.11 Canon's Direct Print Plus software enables easy switching between office and home printing, and for when you do need to use a computer, there's a full range of USB, Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity built in.

A person's right thumb touches the touchscreen of a Canon large format printer, atop of which sits a print of a photo of a building.

The Canon imagePROGRAF TC-20M is compatible with the Canon PRINT app. This enables you to print, copy and scan from Android and iOS smartphones and tablets. You can also use the app to link up to the cloud, check on the printer's status and ink levels, and carry out maintenance tasks such as nozzle checks. © Keith Cooper

How good is the print quality?

The printer is primarily designed to suit small offices, shops, schools and other industries but, as a professional photographer, Keith had additional tests to try out. "I'm really impressed with the quality of photographic prints that I've made on glossy, lustre and fine art papers," he says. "For a four-ink printer, it's amazingly capable at making really good quality large format prints, from both colour and black and white photos." Naturally, that's a significant step beyond the printer's main purpose but reinforces how good the print quality is for creating posters and banners with photographic content as well as text and graphics, and for technical drawings.

How durable are the prints?

Based on water-resistant pigment inks rather than dye-based inks for black and all three colours, prints are robust and smudge-resistant even on plain paper. "I know a landscape architect who uses the printer to make drawings to send to contractors, so they can use them on site," says Keith. "Also, if you're making posters or banners that you want to display outdoors, you can use water-resistant paper that will keep your prints looking fresh. I've tested this myself by creating prints and holding them under a running tap, which is naturally something I wouldn't normally do."

A screenshot of a design on Canon PosterArtist. The design shows a 2024 calendar overlayed on a photo of a colourful tropical fish.

Canon PosterArtist is a free web application offering access to an extensive range of ready-made templates for banners, posters, flyers and other media. You can fully customise templates and add your own photos and other artwork, as well as your own text. You can add files from cloud-based services or upload files directly from your devices. © Keith Cooper

 A screenshot of a design on Canon PosterArtist, with a pop-up dialog box showing print settings. The design shows a 2024 calendar overlayed on a photo of people gathered around a boat at a shipping dock.

You can zoom in to check the finer details on-screen and once you're satisfied, the next step is to select the right print settings and create your media. The whole process is designed with simplicity in mind so anyone can get great results without the need for any graphic design experience. © Keith Cooper

"A key factor of the software is that it doesn't require any design skills, or the time and effort involved in learning how to use a complicated program," says Keith. "It keeps things simple, giving you the option to customise ready-made templates and add your own text and images, in addition to the vast collection of graphical content that's already included." Another bonus is that you can also generate QR codes automatically.

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A laptop showing a 2024 calendar created on Canon PosterArtist sits atop a Canon large format printer. Next to the laptop is a large format print of the same design.

Canon PosterArtist is compatible with Windows and macOS. You can sign in with an existing online account, such as Google, Facebook or X, or create your own secure Canon ID. When you're printing for the first time, you'll need to download and install a print plug-in. © Keith Cooper

How does PosterArtist work?

Keith likes that you can hit the ground running with Canon PosterArtist. "Everything works via the web, so you don't need to buy, download or install any software on your computer," he says. "Instead, it's speedy and simple to create your posters, banners and other designs online, and to save your work on the internet so it's accessible from anywhere. The software is really nice and intuitive to work with, and it's clear to see that it's been designed with ease-of-use in mind."

How to print posters at home

The resources built into PosterArtist seem almost never-ending as far as Keith is concerned, but he particularly likes that he can add his own photos and other artwork into the templates and designs. "For creating posters in my home office, I've found the software tends to take me down the road of using royalty-free photos and clip-art, which are all part of the package, but I feel it's essential that I can add my own content, for that personal touch," he says. Naturally, that's also a vital element if you're designing posters for your own business, club or school, and for creating personalised calendars, awards and certificates.

Ultimately, the Canon imagePROGRAF TC-20M and Canon PosterArtist give you everything you need for creating large format documents, posters and banners, with speed, ease and efficiency. Thanks to the printer's small footprint, it fits right into the home or small office environment. The printer's cost-effectiveness, plus the free software, also means this pairing is great for your business's bottom line. As Keith sums up: "It just works."

  1. PDF (only files generated by imagePROGRAF TC-20M and Canon IJ Scan Utility software); JPEG (Exif ver2.2/2.21/2.3).
  2. EPEAT Gold registered in the US.

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