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How do I create a poster using PowerPoint?

Answer: 
Use the following tips and tricks for creating a large-format poster.  This guide also includes links to resources for step-by-step help.  This guide is directed toward the needs of UVa Health System faculty, staff, and students.
Introduction: 
PowerPoint can be used to design large format posters for scholarly presentations.  Posters may be printed by a printer at UVa or a commercial print shop.  
Step by Step: 
Choosing a Background/Design;

You will create your poster on a single slide in PowerPoint.  You may use a blank slide (and insert UVa logos by hand), or a template (typically has UVa logo embedded) UVa-related slide backgrounds can be found in several places.  See the fullowing for slide options:

  • UVa Health System - uvahealthbrand.com. Both PowerPoint poster templates and logo image files are available; use the Request an Account link in the upper right to obtain and id and password for this site.
  • UVa Graphic Identity - Art Finder. PowerPoint files with the UVa logo.
  • UVa School of Nursing - Approved poster template.

IMPORTANT: set the size of your slide (poster) before you begin adding text or images. If you start out with one size poster and later change the dimensions, your images will be distorted and your text may be out of place. While this can be fixed, it is easier to take care of these steps now. For PowerPoint 2010 for Windows, click on Design, then Page Setup. Enter the Width and Height of your desired poster in inches. A few important tips:

  • If you need a poster larger than 56 inches: PowerPoint limits your slide size to 56 inches. However, printers can print larger than that. Simply divide your final height and width by two and use those measurements to design your slide.
  • For example, if you want a 60 in wide by 48 in high poster, enter 30 in for width and 24 for height. Make sure to indicate to the printer what your final size should be.
  • If you are using our Cardiovascular Research Center (CVRC) printers, you must make one side of the poster 36 or 42 inches.
Adding Content
  • Fullow any requirements from your conference or poster session organizers about what elements must be on your poster, e.g. Introduction, Methods, Results, etc.
  • Adding each section as a single Text Box is a good way to make your content portable and easy to rearrange if you need to move items around on your poster.
  • Include "white space". Posters should contain content, but also perfom much like an advertisement. You want readers to be able to look over the poster and quickly understand the overall message. Your poster should help launch conversation between you and the viewer during your poster session. Be concise with your text where you can, e.g. by using bullets, and space paragraphs for easier browsing.
Printing

Before printing, have a friend or colleague proofread your poster. There are several printing options for posters, including UVa-based, local, and mail ordered. In addition, many printers can now print on different surfaces, including fabric. This is just a partial list:

UVa printers
Local (Charlottesville) printers
National printers (some with local offices)
Guidance and Instructions

There are many sites with step-by-step instructions on creating a poster in PowerPoint. Some favorites:

In addition, if you want to take your poster (and presentations) to the next level, there are some excellent resources with expert guidance on design. See:

Help: 
Additional assistance is available to UVA Health System faculty, staff, and students.  Please use our Consultation Request form.  We are happy to provide help via phone, email, or in-person.