How to Prepare Posters Using PowerPoint

G. Wolfe (4-6-05)

A. Preparing posters

  1. Look at several good options for poster layout:
    1. data along bottom
    2. data at left or right
    3. data interspersed with text
  2. All are good, but keep in mind some important points:
    1. Posters should tell a story graphically
    2. Minimize text and maximize data and graphics
    3. Poster layout should guide the reader through in a logical order (background -> question -> methods -> RESULTS -> Conclusions)
  3. Look at instructions on how to work with PowerPoint: PosterPresent.pdf
  4. Select one of the following templates to work from (3x4 is probably best for this symposium):
    • 3 x 4 feet (36" x 48")
    • 3 x 5 feet (36" x 60")
    • 3 x 6 feet (36" x 72")

You can also find PowerPoint templates at http://www.makesigns.com.

B. Printing posters

Many presentation graphics facilities can print directly from PowerPoint files. If you want to spend the money, www.GraphicsLand.com offers excellent value and service. You submit your file on the Web, and they will mail you the poster in a few days. Typical costs will be $50 - $100 for glossy color posters. Their Web site has hints and templates to make your work easier, which are excellent even if you print them elsewhere.

Kinko's

Kinko's and other copy centers can print B&W posters for $0.50 / sq ft. A 3x4 poster in this format would be only $6, and a 3 x 6 foot poster is only $9. However, they need the documents in PDF format. You create a color poster in PowerPoint and convert it to PDF, then take the file to Kinko's and tell them to print it in black & white.

Here are instructions to create and convert PowerPoint files for printing using freeware software installed in the biology computer lab. Note that you must use different methods depending on the size of your poster.

To make a 3 x 4 foot poster:

  1. Create your poster in PowerPoint on one of the available templates.
  2. To see your whole poster, choose fit in the size box. To see actual size of figures and text, choose 100%.
  1. choose file -> Print
  2. in the printer box, choose Cute PDF Writer Poster
  3. choose print range = current slide
  4. select scale to fit paper
  5. click on Propertiesí and make sure Landscapeí is selected in Orientation
  6. click on Advanced and from the Paper Size drop-down menu get the PostScript Custom Page Size Definition window.

7. choose ëcustom PS paper sizeí. Set Width to 36î, and Height to 48î. This is the reverse of the poster, but the printer prints documents sideways. Make sure ëPaper Feed Directioní is ëShort End Firstí.

8. Click ëOKí to go back to the ëPrintí window. Click ëOKí and you will shortly get a dialog box asking for a file name. Select your name, and you will create a PDF image of your file.

To make a 3 x 5 foot or 3 x 6 foot poster:

PowerPoint cant make a full size page, so create a half-size document:

  1. Choose File -> Page Setup.
  2. Create a half-size document. Enter 30" for width for a 5 foot poster, or 36" for a 6 foot poster, and 18" for height.
  3. Click OK.

Create your poster. To see your whole poster, choose ëfití in the ësizeí box. To see actual size of figures and text, choose ë200%í.

To print:

  1. choose file -> Print
  2. in the printer box, choose Cute PDF Writer Poster
  3. choose print range = current slide
  4. select scale to fit paper
  5. click on Properties and make sure Landscape is selected in Orientation
  6. click on Advanced and from the Paper Size dropdown menu to get the PostScript Custom Page Size Definition window.
  7. choose custom PS paper size. Set Width to 18", and Height to 30" (5 foot) or 36" (6 foot). This is the reverse of the poster, but the printer prints documents sideways. Set Paper Feed Direction to Short End First.
  8. Click OK to go back to the Print window. Click OK and you will shortly get a dialog box asking for a file name. Select your name, and you will create a PDF image of your file.

Make sure you specify that the PDF should be printed at 200% size, to get a full-size poster.