PowerPoint Slide Set Up

Design your own large format poster using PowerPoint. You have probably used PowerPoint to make a slide presentation. Now with a few tweaks, learn how to use it to make a large format poster.

Poster Size Setup

You will be making just one slide (or page) in PowerPoint. One really big slide! If you are using Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2003 (PPT 2003), go to the File menu select "Page Setup". If you are using Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007 (PPT 2007), click on the Design tab at the top and then click on the “Page Setup” button.

Under "Slides Sized for:" choose "Custom" and then set the page size to the same size that you want your poster to be. For example, if you want your poster to be 36" x 48", then set the page size in PowerPoint to 36" x 48".

If your data is already in a multi-slide PowerPoint presentation, you will need at least one square foot of poster space for each slide. If you have many tables and graphs you may need even more square feet.

If your data are already in a word processor format with standard 12 point font, you will need approximately 4 square feet of poster space for each page of text in the word processor file. If you have many tables and graphs you may need even more square feet.

We can print any size up to 42" in height by any length. However, PowerPoint has a maximum page size of 56". Therefore, if you need a poster that is larger than 56", set the page size in PowerPoint to exactly half of the finished poster size and then we'll enlarge it 200% when printing. For example:

Finished
Poster Size

Page Size
in PPT

Enlargement
 when printed

 
36" x 48" 36" x 48" 100%
36" x 56" 36" x 56" 100%
36" x 60" 18" x 30" 200%
36" x 72" 18" x 36" 200%
42" x 56" 42" x 56" 100%
42" x 60" 28" x 30" 200%
42" x 72" 28" x 36" 200%
42" x 84" 28" x 42" 200%
42" x 96" 28" x 48" 200%

Poster Layout

The title should stretch across the top of the poster approximately 75% of the width. To make the letters in the title 1 inch tall, use a 100 point font size. If you are designing your poster at half size, (ie: 18" x 30" for a 36" x 60" poster) then use a 50 point font size. Remember, we’re going to enlarge it 200% when printing.

The main text of your poster should be arranged into multiple columns. Use three columns for a 4 or 5 foot wide poster.  Use four columns for a 6 or 7 foot wide poster. Use four or five columns for an 8 foot wide poster. Allow at least 1 inch of space in between each column. For a really large poster (4 x 8 feet), allow 2 inches of space in between each column. If designing at half size (ie: 18" x 30" for a 36" x 60" poster) allow at least .5 inch of space in between each column, 1 inch for a large poster.

You should also use section headings (Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results, Conclusions, etc.) within the columns at the start of each section.