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USEM 1580 - Around Grounds

Design Your Research Poster in PowerPoint

PowerPoint makes it easy to design a professional-looking research poster.

Prepare your Content

  • Divide your material into sections, for example: Abstract, Introduction, Construction, Early Use, Renovation, Conclusion
  • Consider creating a sketch on paper to rough out your poster, including tables, graphs and photos
  • Whenever possible, represent content graphically rather than textually
  •  Consider your color choices carefully - contrast is important, and color has meaning! Consider readability for color blind viewers, as well.
  • Have your images selected and organized, including citation/caption information.
  • Carefully proof your text

Use a Template
There are many free templates available on the web.  You can select one that looks like it will fit your needs, and adapt it in Powerpoint.
Some template sources: Colin Purrington Poster Design | |


Place Text and Images

  • Use a separate text block for each section of information
  • Suggested font sizes:
    Title: 45
    120 pt font, depending on title length. It’s OK to write titles in Bold
    Headings, Authors/Institution: 30 60 pt font, depending on space
    Body text: 18 30 pt font
  • Insert image place holder boxes, by drawing rectangles as placeholders for your images after you have placed all the text and know how much room you have for the images. This is helpful because after your pictures go in, they make the file very large, possibly prone to crashes, and it will take a long time to save. You can then double-click on the rectangle to get the Format Auto Shape box. Select the Size tab, and make a note of the size the image in that box should be.
  • Images should be high resolution at the printed size for clarity. If scanning your own images, try to scan at 150-300dpi.  File format should be TIFF, PDF or JPG
  • Each figure needs to be accompanied by a caption that describes the image. Figure captions should be short (that is, typically less than 100 words) and descriptive.  
  • Each figure should contain a citation(s), which references the original source of data/information presented in the figure.
  • Information citations should accompany the poster text. These can be grouped at the bottom of the poster in smaller font, in their own section.

Additional Tips:

PowerPoint is mainly intended for creating presentations displayed on a screen, and as a result, there are a number of things to note about creating posters in PowerPoint:

  • PowerPoint does not have the ability to wrap text around an image. In order to have text wrap around an image, the text will need to be broken up into a number of text boxes that are arranged around the image.
  • PowerPoint doesn't allow for creation of columns of text, like page layout programs do — instead, individual text boxes will need to be created for each section of text on a poster, and arranged to look like columns.
  • PowerPoint does offer guides and a grid that can be used to line up text and images, to help create the appearance of columns on a poster.