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Creating a Poster

Step by step instructions on creating a poster; general tips and ideas for poster design

Video tutorial

Making an academic research poster using Power Point. Jerry Overmyer, UNC.

MS PowerPoint How-To step-by-step

1. Poster size: You will be creating a single large slide in PowerPoint.  Before adding any content to your slide, under the Design menu, go to Slide Size and choose Custom Slide Size and change the height and width.  (Recommended dimensions: 24" x 40"  or 32" x 40"  or 40" x 48") 

Once you have the proper size, you may begin adding content to your poster.  You may do this by inserting textboxes, images, graphs, etc.  If you change the page size after you already have content, you will distort all of the objects on the page.

2.  Margins: It is essential to leave at least a 1 inch margin around the edges of the poster.  The easiest way to see whether your margins are correct is to use the Grid & Guides feature.  Go to View: Grid & Guides and choose the following options:

You can turn the grid off again by unchecking the appropriate box. The grid, combined with the "Snap objects to grid" feature is also really useful for making sure that text boxes and images line up with each other.

3. No dark backgrounds: It is recommended that the background of your slide uses light colors. Many of the preset Design Templates in Powerpoint are created for on-screen presentation and are too dark to print.  To use a different color background from the default white, choose Background Styles from the Design tab. You will see a sub-menu similar to the one below.To choose color, select Format Background. You can select from available colors and gradients.  Avoid backgrounds/colors that detract from the subject and text you are presenting.

PowerPoint Templates

For additional ideas, you can always Google "science poster templates" or "poster sessions". Many universities have templates as well.

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