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1 Poster Creation PowerPoint for Posters PowerPoint is well known as a presentation support application. However, it can also be used to create academic posters as it is a format that many people are already familiar with. However good the visual appearance of a poster is it can t disguise poor content. So, whilst the visual quality of a poster is important, this should be secondary to the actual content; the content should inform the design, not the other way around. Tip: Planning your poster in advance speeds up the process considerably. You should gather together all the data you want to combine and make sure that you have scanned images, and saved text and graphs in appropriate formats. Before starting work on the PowerPoint slide it is a good idea to produce a rough drawn layout on an A4 sheet of paper to get a feel for the proportions of the various sections which are to be included. The PowerPoint software is designed to present a series of animated slides, but for a poster only one slide is required and it is best to start with a totally blank slide and add the various objects (text, charts and images) as required. Paper size guide A series Metric (cm) Imperial (inch) 2A x x A x x A x x A1+ 88 x x A x x A x x A3 42 x x A x x 8.27 University Campus Suffolk Learning Development 1

2 Page Setup The first thing to get right when using PowerPoint to create posters is the page setup. Because PowerPoint is primarily used as an on-screen presenting application the default page setup for slides is On-screen show. This needs to be changed to suit a paper-based output. 1. Open up a new presentation in PowerPoint 2. Go to Design > Page setup 3. You will see that it says Slides sized for: On-screen show with a Width of 25.4 cm and a Height of cm. These proportions will not be suitable for the standard ISO paper sizes that will be used when printing the poster. 4. Change the Width and Height dimensions to match the paper size of the final printed poster the example here is for A0 size paper. 5. The appropriate Orientation (Portrait or Landscape) will be selected by the software from the Width and Height information 6. Click OK Using these new slide dimensions the text content size will have to be reduced and you will have to zoom in on the section you want to work with to be able to read the text. The above guidelines set up the slide proportions relative to the dimensions of the standard ISO paper size chosen. It would also be suitable for showing the poster as a projected image onto a screen. This will provide an opportunity to see if all the text sizes chosen actually work and are easily read. Note: If the poster is only going to be projected and not printed the standard On-screen Show dimensions may be used. University Campus Suffolk Learning Development 2

3 Slide layout Next make sure that the slide layout is set to Blank or remove any pre-existing objects from the slide. Grids and Guides Placing objects (e.g. text boxes, charts, pictures) within a slide can be a little tricky, this is due to the objects free-floating, but this can be solved using the Grids and Guides feature. To access this feature: 1. Go to View > and tick the boxes for Gridlines and Guides. Or alternatively: 2. For more control open the Show dialogue box 3. Tick the box Snap Objects to grid this will align objects to the grid lines 4. Tick the box Display grid on screen this will make the grid visible 5. Tick the box Display drawing guides on screen this will allow you to place and move additional guidelines on the screen 6. Tick the box Display smart guides - this will show a line when shapes are aligned Any object (text box or image etc.) placed onto the slides will snap to the grid spacing when moved. The Grid Spacing dimension may be increased or decreased to make the alignment easier. Additional drawing guides can be added by holding down the <Ctrl> key and dragging one of the guides to a new position. This can be useful when creating a template for your poster. Additional Guides Grid Lines University Campus Suffolk Learning Development 3

4 Text Boxes You will need to place text boxes onto your slide to accommodate the written content. Go to Insert > Text Box > Horizontal Text Box Text boxes will default to re-sizing themselves to fit the text. You may wish to create a text box that is larger than its content to help with planning the layout, in which case the text box re-sizing needs to be switched off (see below). When a text box has been added to the slide you will need to type some text into the box so as hold it on the slide. Then: 1. Right click on the border of the text box and choose Format Shape 2. Select the Text Box tab 3. Select Do not Autofit 4. Ensure that Wrap text in shape is ticked 5. Click OK Use the handles on the edges of the text box to re-size it to an appropriate size. You will notice that when you click away from the box the outline disappears. So as to see the positioning of the box in your layout you can colour the box edges. This is done by: 1. Right click on the border of the text box and choose Format Text Box 2. Select the Colours and Lines tab 3. Change the Line Colour from No Line to another colour 4. Click OK The line colour of the text boxes can be removed prior to printing, but, if left, can be a useful aid in containing text into specific topic areas. University Campus Suffolk Learning Development 4

5 Font Sizes The font size allocated by PowerPoint will probably be too large for a poster and therefore will need to be modified. The following sizes may be suitable. Main heading for the poster should be readable from 3 metres (10 feet) away and could be 48 to 72 point in size. If you want to attract attention from across a large conference hall the size will need to be larger. The rest of the content should be readable from 1 metre (3 feet) away and could be: Topic headings Sub headings Body text 36 to 48 points 24 to 36 points 20 to 24 points These are only suggestions and sizes may need to be modified depending on the effect you wish to create. Adding text to objects The modern versions of PowerPoint will allow text to be added to shapes simply by selecting the shape and then typing the text. Inserting Images The quality of the images placed into a normal PowerPoint presentation are quite appropriate when the presentation is to be shown on a computer screen or projected through a data projector. For creating a large poster the image quality has to be higher so that the images do not pixilate (break up) when printed. The images contained in the Clipart Gallery are not suitable because they are of relatively low quality. Also, do not use the Office Clipboard to transfer images (Copy and Paste) because this causes the image quality to decrease, instead insert all images as picture files and use the highest resolution practically possible (300 ppi will be suitable). Saved image files can be inserted with Insert > Picture and then navigate to the stored image file. Re-sizing Images Once an image has been placed on the slide it can be re-sized (larger or smaller) by clicking onto the image handles around the edge and dragging them in or out. The handles are located at each corner and midway along each edge. If the proportions of the image are to be maintained (not distorted) then the corner handles must be used for re-sizing. University Campus Suffolk Learning Development 5

6 Printing a small version To see how your poster looks on paper, you can actually scale it to fit a standard A4 sheet. This is recommended because: It s a good way to print and check your work without wasting a huge sheet of paper. If you can t read it on the A4 page your font is too small. It makes a good hand-out. To scale to A4, go to File > Print. Look at the Properties of the chosen printer to see that the output will go to A4 size paper change from Same as Original Size to A4. In the Settings area under Full Page Slides scroll down and tick the box for Scale to Fit Paper. Click Print. This will print a scaled down version of your poster. University Campus Suffolk Learning Development 6

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