Creating a Research Poster in PowerPoint

Things to consider before beginning:

PowerPoint is a good tool for creating research posters. Many people are comfortable using it, and the files it creates are small and easy to back up and send to collaborators.

However, as PowerPoint places a limit on the dimensions of slides, if you plan on printing a poster whose dimensions are larger than 56" you will need to create it with another piece of software like Photoshop or InDesign.

NOTE: Once you have created your poster, you need to save your PowerPoint file as a PDF and print the PDF instead of the original PowerPoint file.

As soon as you know you are going to use the plotter:

Reserve an hour-long appointment to print your poster using these Google Calendars:

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Instructions for creating a plotter appointment (60 min slot) .

Reserve the plotter for 1 hour per poster. If there are no problems with your document, it will print in around 30 minutes. We add the extra time to the reservation in case there are problems with the file.

Create a new poster file:

  • Open a new document in PowerPoint.
  • Go to File --> Page Setup
  • Choose Slide Sized For > Custom
  • Set Width to 46.5 and Height to 33
  • Choose the Landscape (horizontal) orientation for the Slides.
  • Click OK.
  • If a message pops up telling you that "The current page size exceeds the printable area of the paper in the printer" just click OK.

Create your poster using the following tips:

  • Concentrate on your main points. Too much text will force you to make your font too small and therefore hard to read.
  • Use large or high-resolution images for your poster
    • if you're getting images from Google Search, make sure to enable the Search Tools and set the Size of the image you're looking for to "Large"

  • if you need to change the resolution or resize your image significantly, use these guidelines for Resizing Images.
  • Follow the rules of C.R.A.P. to make your poster more visually effective and easier to read.

C - color and contrast (create a significant contrast between the background colors and text)
R - repetition (positive - use a well chosen palette of a few of colors (3-4 max), fonts (2-3, including bolding and italicizing) and font sizes (2-3 max) throughout your document; negative - avoid redundancy)
A - alignment (choose a strong alignment - create a visual cohesiveness, order out of chaos!)
P - proximity and placement (consider spacing and how elements are arranged - the arrangement and spacing of elements reveals their relationship to one another)

After you create your PowerPoint slide:

Save your PowerPoint file as a PDF.

When you arrive at the plotter:

Follow the instructions provided by the computer or print the instructions for the respective printer:

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