Designing Effective Posters

Learn how to design and publish effective posters. This guide includes sections on design elements, the poster design process, and using software to create posters.

Getting Started

using Powerpoint

Powerpoint for Windows 2010

Getting Started

1. Launch PowerPoint by clicking its program icon. Choose a template, or start from scratch by selecting Blank Presentation.

2. Specify the dimensions of the poster by clicking the Page Setup icon under the Design tab.

 

 

When you start a new presentation, you may see default text boxes in the slide window.  

These boxes are used for the title slide of a presentation. You don't need them, so delete them by selecting them with the mouse cursor and pressing the delete key. 

Next, set the size of your poster by clicking on the Design tab then clicking on Page Setup:

 

When you click on Page Setup, the Page Setup dialog box appears. Enter the Width and Height for your poster. .

Printers are limited by by size of paper they take. For example, the HP DesignJet 1055CM uses 36" rolls of paper. The dimensions for a typical poster could be 56" wide by 36" high.

Note: The maximum page (slide) size in Powerpoint is 56" by 56". If you want a poster that is longer or wider than  56" we suggest that you create your poster at half-size. Then when you print it, print it at 200% size.

For example, if you want your finished poster to be 40" by 80", set your poster size to 20" by 40".  Then print it at 200%.

Keep in mind that if you are creating your poster at half-size, everything in it (text, heading, charts, images) will end up being twice as large in your finished poster.  So, for example,  if you create a title that has a font size of 48 points, in the final poster it will be 96 points.

 

 

If you want to use a background color other than white, you can change it. Click on the Design tool, then click on options in the  Background group.  Choose a light color. 

 

Adding and Revising Content

Adding and Revising Content

Text

To add text to your poster, click Text Box under the Insert tab.  Then click and drag to create a text box. 

 

You can move a text box by clicking on an edge of the text box and then dragging it. You can resize a text box by dragging its handles. 

To change its formatting, select text and then choose options in the Font and Paragraph areas of the toolbar. 

 

 

To add bullets select the lines to which you want to add bullets, then choose bullet options from the paragraph area of the toolbar. 

 

Shapes and Lines

To add shapes or lines, click on the Shapes icon in the toolbar. 

To align shapes (or text boxes), select the objects you want to align, then click on the Arrange icon. Then choose one of the  Align options.

The Arrange icon also reveals options for ordering and grouping objects. When objects overlap on the screen you can change  the "stacking order" by choosing options under Order Objects. You can group items together by choosing Group Objects.  

Images

To add an image to your poster, choose Insert Picture from File..., which allows you to browse your computer for image files. 

 

Once you've added an image, you can resize or repostion it by dragging its handles. 

 

Charts

To add a chart, click on Chart in the Illustrations area of the Insert tab. 

An Excel spreadsheet will open where you can enter your data. If you need to change something in your chart, you can right click on the Chart and go to Edit Data (the Excel spreadsheet is saved with your Powerpoint file). This is the benefit to creating the chart in PowerPoint, because you can easily change data, and the chart will resize automatically. Background and other settings can be changed by right-clicking on the chart.  Stick to a light background to make charts easier to read. 

Note: In general it is a good to avoid 3-D chart unless you have a specific reason for doing so. 3-D charts are often more difficult to read.

Printing Your Poster

Printing your poster

To print, click on the File tab, and choose Print. 

Where to print your poster

If you do not plan to print the poster yourself, see "Print Your Poster" in the Design Process and Printing section of this guide.

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