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Poster Creation and Presentation Tips

The templates provided below will help get you started with creating a poster in PowerPoint. Please select any of the following topics and Web resources for helpful hints on how to modify the poster to fit your own content and purpose:

Links to other useful resources:

  • Design of Scientific Posters - Poster design tips, examples, and templates.
    Michael Alley, Engineering Department, Penn State University.
    (http://www.writing.engr.psu.edu/posters.html)

  • Poster-making 101 - A guide designed to highlight common technical issues that arise when creating a poster in PowerPoint.
    Brian Pfohl and Greg Anderson, Bates College.
    (http://abacus.bates.edu/~bpfohl/posters/)

  • How to Create a Poster that Graphically Communicates your Message - Great examples of what to do and what to avoid when designing your poster.
    Kathryn Tosney, Chair of Biology, University of Miami.
    (http://www.bio.miami.edu/ktosney/file/PosterHome.html)

Background
The background in each template provided is simply a rectangle with a light color fill. To change the size, border, or color of the background, simply select the rectangle and go to Format > AutoShape (PowerPoint 2003) or Format > Shape Styles (PowerPoint 2007).

PowerPoint 2003 Format Shape Window
Format Window

PowerPoint 2007 Format Shape 2003
Format Shape 2007

Text Boxes
The text boxes have internal margins to allow for white space between the border and text, facilitating reading. Inside each text box, you may set your paragraphs to have "justified" or "left-justified" margins. Some font types do not space nicely when fully justified, so left-justifcation is better for those fonts. Also, PowerPoint does not automatically hyphenate, so some spacing difficulties can be fixed by manually inserting a hyphen into longer words.

Textbox Screenshot

Fonts
The specific font type and size used in each section of the template is provided in red letters. Feel free to change the font type, but remember that the letters should to be readable from 6' away. Here are some suggestions for font type and sizes:

    • Title, consider using a font size between 72-120 points.
    • Subtitles (authors' names, school name, etc.), use the same font as your title but make the font size smaller than the title.  A font size between 48-80 points usually works best.
    • Section titles (Introduction, Results, etc.), use the same font as your title and subtitle.  Make the font size approximately 50% larger than the body text, between 36-72 points.  Make sure that all section headers are the same font size.
    • Content text, choose a serif type that is very readable, like Garamond, Book Antigua or Bookman Old Style.  Make the font size between 24-48 points. Make sure that the body text is the same font throughout the entire posters.
    • DON'T USE ALL CAPS for any portion of your poster. It is harder to read and it looks like you are shouting!
    • Use sans serif fonts for large headings and serif fonts for the main text of your poster.

    Font Sizes

According to most studies, sans serif fonts are more difficult to read. For this reason, they are used most often for short text components such as headlines or captions, while “serif” fonts, such as Palatino or Times, are used for context text .

Images
To insert a picture into your poster, select Insert > Picture > From File... Beware of the image's resolution: for better print quality, an image should have a resolution of at least 200 dpi. You can reduce the size of an image without affecting the quality, but if you try to enlarge an image it will become pixelated. It's always better to start with a large image and then reduce the size as necessary.

When re-sizing an image, be sure to drag from the corner handle to keep the shape proportional:

Resizing Screenshot

Printing
Although the PowerPoint template is designed to print at a very large scale, you may want to print your poster on a letter-sized piece of paper to proofread, check layout issues, and share drafts with others. You may do this by making sure the Scale to Fit Paper option is checked within the Print window:

Print Window

When your poster is complete, you can email the PowerPoint file or PDF to the Print Shop (printshop@spfldcol.edu). It costs $4 per square foot to print a poster, which is approximately $21 for a small poster (22.5"x34") and $56 for a large poster (56"x36"). Please call the Print Shop (x3286) with any questions about size, cost, or format.

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