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Designing Effective Posters: Adding and Revising Content: PowerPoint

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.

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Quick Tip!

"Grouping" a set of objects allows you to move a set of objects together, while still being able to edit each object within the group independently. 

Click here to view a short YouTube video on aligning and arranging objects in PowerPoint.

To group two objects: select one object (left click), press and hold the Ctrl key (⌘ on Mac), select the second object (right click), then click Group from the menu.

To group three or more objects: select one object (left click), press and hold the Ctrl key (⌘ on Mac), select the second object (left click), select the third object (right click), then click Group from the menu. 

Rainbow gradient heading "adding and revising content: powerpoint


Adding and Revising 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 popup box. 

You can also format text using formatting options under the HOME tab. To add bullets, select the lines to which you want to add bullets, then choose bullet options from the paragraph area of the toolbar. 

Images, Shapes, and Lines

Shapes and Lines

To add shapes or lines, click on the Shapes icon in the toolbar. A dropdown menu appears which allows you to choose from many different shapes.  Choose a shape, then click and drag to add it to your poster. 


To align shapes (or text boxes), select the objects you want to align, then click on the Arrange icon in the toolbar (just to the right of the Shapes 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.  

Editing Shapes

To constrain proportions as you are drawing or editing an object or image, press the SHIFT key down as you drag on one of the "handles" (small circles and squares that appear around an object that indicate it is selected). 

Right-clicking on an object or image lets you access additional editing options, including

  • Cut, copy and paste
  • Send to front/back (for items that overlap each other)
  • Grouping (lets you ‘lock’ objects together and manipulate them as a unit)

Note: Right-clicking on the background lets you access additional formatting options: 

  • Ruler/grid line options, including snap-to-grid (alignment)
  • Layout options
  • Background options (including color)


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 reposition it by dragging its handles. 

You can alter and add effects to your picture in various ways, including:

Adding a border or shadow

Adjusting the color (Picture Color)

Adjusting the layout (Picture Layout)

Charts and Equations


To add a chart, choose the Insert tab and click on the Chart icon.

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. 

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.

Choose Chart options (chart elements, styles, and filters) by clicking on icons to the right of the chart.

New Charts (New for 2016)

PowerPoint 2016 for Windows features several new chart types, which are especially useful for anyone interested in data visualization.

The following example illustrates inserting a treemap chart in PowerPoint 2016: 

Equations (New for 2016)

You can add a formatted equation by choosing Insert > Equation.

Making Charts and Tables in PowerPoint

Making Charts in PowerPoint

Making Tables in PowerPoint