University of Vermont

College of Medicine

Technology Services

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University of Vermont College of Medicine Technology Services

Tips and Suggestions for Creating Effective Posters

Content—The poster should tell a captivating research story. Use figures, charts, tables and photos. Include labels for figures and tables. Remember that a typical reader may spend only a few minutes looking at the poster, so it’s very important that there is a minimum of clutter and a maximum of clear, informative statements and attractive, enlightening figures. Keep text to a minimum. Consider short paragraphs, narrow columns and bulleted text.

PowerPoint —We recommend using PowerPoint to create posters.

Custom page size—The templates we provide and yours as well, should be sized at ½ the final size. So, if your poster will be printed 4x4-feet, your Page Setup page size should be set to Custom 24x24 inches in PowerPoint.

Poster Title—Title line is sized between 62-80 points. Often it is centered across the width of the poster, though it can be aligned right or left. Keep the title in its own text box.

Helpful Tips: Keep the full title as one paragraph and use Shft+Enter to break the line where you’d like. Use Mixed Case for Titles. Use sentence case for body text.

Author Affiliation—Sized about 30pt, the author affiliation should also remain as one text box. Use Shft+Enter to break the line where you’d like.

Poster Text—Usually your poster text is sized at 22-24 points. Headings are sized at 24-26 points. We suggest Arial or another san serif font for titles throughout your poster and Times New Roman for all body text.

Position: The template includes text boxes that help guide your placement of text. You can resize the boxes to make room for tables and charts.
If your text is in Word or a word processor: You can copy and paste the text into your PowerPoint template. If you choose Edit>Paste Special>Unformatted Text the template formats will apply. In later versions of PPT, this is not necessary. We suggest you test what works best for you.

Figures, Charts & Tables—Are most often created in other programs and copied into PowerPoint. We recommend Word or Excel for tables and Excel for best charting control. Complete your formatting in those programs. After you copy it, when you are pasting it into your poster, do not just paste. Instead, choose Edit>Past Special>Picture (JPEG) command. This inserts a graphic object. The drawback is that changes need to be made to the source file.

Image and Logos—Files are placed in PowerPoint using Insert>Picture>From File command. We recommend TIFF and JPEG/JPG formats of logos that hold resolution as they scale up. Web versions of logos (GIF files) will pixilate. Photos should be imported at the size you intend them to be reproduced at a resolution of 200dpi.

Figure & Table Labels—These items can be added as separate text boxes, if you need them.

Background Color— Use background colors with caution. Keep them simple, light and be wary of gradients.

Layout—Keep plenty of white-space and avoid a cluttered poster. Keep columns narrow, 3-5 inches wide in your layout for a final printed width of 8-10 inches.

Quality—A few steps you take can make a big difference in the quality of your poster:
1) Spell check!
2) Review, review and review! As you draft your poster, look for mistakes, check for legibility and inconsistency in style. Ask others for their 'honest' opinions. Be critical.

Last modified July 14 2014 09:21 AM