A few things to consider when inserting images and graphs:

  • Respect the fact that the viewer has a limited amount of time to spend looking at posters by making sure the time spent at your poster is effective and informative. Communicating a concept visually will help you to communicate the message faster, and will help the reader retain the information.
  • Be sure to include a brief caption for your figures, and explicitly refer to the figure in the text.
  • Charts and graphs must include a title and labels for each axis in order to be meaningful. Failure to include these will require you to constantly explain what the chart or graph means.
  • Consider using QR codes to link to supplemental materials1. They are a great way to get your viewer more information. You can use it to include your contact information, a link to a webpage, or even an online video that further explains your research

Using Guides for Column Layout

Guides are non-printing, horizontal or vertical lines that your text, photos, and other objects will snap to when laying out your poster. In each of our PowerPoint poster templates, we've placed a guide on the left and right side of each column of text. The text box can then be quickly sized to fill the column. This speeds up the placement of text and graphics within a column and keeps the columns straight.

To see the guides in PPT 2003, turn them on by going to View > Grid and Guides. To see the guides in PPT 2007, right-mouse click on a blank area of the poster off to the side and select “Grid and Guides”. At the bottom of the dialog box, check "Display drawing guides on screen". Click OK and the guides will appear.

To move a guide, simply click and drag it. As you do so, the cursor will display inches from the ruler so you always know exactly where the guide is. To create more guides, hold down the Control key and then click and drag on a guide. Note that in PPT 2003 you are limited to 8 horizontal and 8 vertical guides.

Design Tips

You'll want to maintain good contrast between the background color and the text color. Consider using a light colored background with dark text. Keep the background simple and subtle. Avoid busy, distracting backgrounds that can make the text more difficult to read.

The colors that you see on your monitor will not reproduce exactly the same on the printed poster and will differ from your small proof print. In particular, many of the blues will print purple.Color_Chart
If you want to see how any of the default PowerPoint colors look when printed, a sample color chart is available in Creative Communications. Please use this chart to choose the colors you want or to verify that the colors you have already chosen will print as expected. If you have a custom color that you’re not sure about, we can print a free sample for you.

Please DO NOT use WordArt, semitransparent fills, or textured backgrounds as the results can be unpredictable. They may look fine on your computer screen but they do not always print as they appear. Also, many of the new features in PPT 2007 such as reflection, soft drop shadows, rounded corners, 3-D format and 3-D rotation, look fine on-screen but do not print as they appear on-screen. Therefore, we suggest you do not use them on a poster. If you insist, proceed at your own risk!

Use mixed upper and lower case text. For example:

  • Use Mixed Case for Titles
  • Use sentence case for body text.

Don't be afraid to edit your text. Many posters have too much text on them giving them a cluttered, busy appearance. With less text you will have more freedom for good design and can make the font a nice readable size with ample line spacing.