Research and promotional posters are a need that comes up all the time in Extension. Poster sessions, fairs, and events are all examples of places you might need a quick poster.
Did you know they're not hard to make in PowerPoint?
PowerPoint is an easy way any one of us can create an impressive poster! Large-format graphics look professional and modern. I was recently at the U's Academic Technology Showcase, and it was clear that most exhibitors had no idea how to make a nice looking poster!
The easiest way to start is to download a template. Extension templates are here.
The University's images library also has a couple professional-looking templates. Don't forget to add the Extension wordmark, if you use those!
I always start my posters with a storyboard--where you roughly sketch it out on a regular piece of 8.5x11 paper. The flow of your information should go from top left to bottom right. Mark where you'd like to put a graph or a photo and headings.
If you are not using a poster template (links above), open a fresh PowerPoint presentation and under the Design tab, select Page Setup. Change the dimensions of your slide to the desired dimensions of your poster. PowerPoint allows a maximum of 56x56. If your poster needs to be bigger than that, you will need to create it at half size and print it at 200%.
You will need to do a lot of zooming in and out (under the View tab) while working on the poster. It may also be helpful to select View>Gridlines, which puts a nonprinting dotted line every inch on the screen.
Remember to use bullets and numbered lists whenever you can. Keep your text in short, concise, legible statements. Minimize complete sentences and paragraphs. Also note that text in upper and lower case letters is more readable than all capitals. Text should be at least 1/4-inch tall and readable from a distance of 6 feet. To see inches on your PowerPoint, select View>Ruler in the tool bar. Do not stretch a picture across the back of your entire poster--this makes your file size humongous and also makes your text hard to read.
Save your poster as a PDF before sending it to the printer. This can be done via Save As>PDF. Open your PDF and select View>Rulers and make doubly sure that your file is huge and not accidentally printing to 8.5x11. Zoom in to about 300% and make sure your graphics are not 'jaggy' beyond recognition.
Next step, send it to the printer! Some printers I have used and found to be good:
- Albinson Reprographics (Minneapolis, but can mail)--they have a quick/cheap option and also a more expensive photo quality option. I love this printer.
- FedEx Kinko's--be sure to request "University of Minnesota Pricing"
- University College of Biological Sciences Imaging Center
- Gleason Printing--mainly has the quick/cheap option
Lots more information!
- A wonderful webinar created by Librarian Kristen Mastel on making Posters in PowerPoint
- Quick Guide and tips for creating posters in PowerPoint (also by Kristen)
- Pimp my Poster Flickr Pool--tons of examples to see what works and what doesn't