Instructions for Making Posters 

  1. Set up a filling system (You can skip this step, but it may help to better explain the process of making a poster):
    1. Create a new folder anywhere on your computer and name it. In the name include a part of the title as part of the folder name (i.e., Steroids Poster). Inside this folder you will be saving your layout, text, image and graphic files:
      1. The layout is basically a large slide produced in PowerPoint (PPT) from which your poster will be printed:
      2. The text file is the written content of your poster which is usually created in Word;
      3. Image files are all those images that have been captured by a flatbed scanner or digital camera. They are usually saved as TIFFs or JPEGs (JPGs).
      4. Graphic files are all of those things like charts, graphs, diagrams and tables. They are usually created on programs such as Excel, SigmaPlot, or DeltaGraph.
  2. Set up the poster Layout:
    1. Determine the dimensions of the poster according to the instructions from the meeting organizers
    2. Choose the PPT layout template or create one of your own (dimensions are usually 42" wide x 36" high).
  3. Create text for your abstract, introduction, materials and methods, results, conclusions, and captions using PowerPoint, Word, or WordPerfect and save it in your poster folder;
    1. Minimize wordiness;
    2. Let your images and graphs "tell the story";
  4. Create the images and graphics you want to include in your poster and save them in your poster folder;
  5. Open "Layout", highlight the title and type in your title. Adjust the font size as needed to fill the title area;
  6. Do the same for the authors and affiliations;
  7. Highlight the text under Abstract and type in your abstract's text. You may copy and paste from another application (i.e., MSWord), but you may need to change the typeface to Arial and adjust the font size to the space, after pasting in your text;
  8. Do the same for the Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, Conclusions, and figure captions;
  9. Insert graphics from your poster folder into the layout. There are several ways to accomplish this:
    1. export (or save) them out of their native application as JPEGs, GIFs, PICTs, BMPs, or TIFFs and then import (insert) them into your layout and treat them as images;
    2. select (from the menubar in PowerPoint) Insert > Chart (or Table), plug in the data; or import data from another application (i.e., MSExcel or MSWord), select (from the menubar) Edit > Import File;
    3. copy and paste from an application but check that all the data prints out in the final print and avoid resizing;
    4. create simple graphs or tables in the layout itself by using shape tools and text blocks, creatively.
  10. Insert your image files from your poster folder into the layout by selecting (from the menubar) Insert > Picture > From File > Browse. Avoid resizing them, but if you must, resize them by moving the corner handles - NOT the side handles. The corner handles will keep the same aspect ratio; the side handles will not.
  11. Optimize only the images you resized in step 10 using an image editing program like Adobe Photoshop or Serif PhotoPlus (You may skip this step and step 12, unless some or all of your images don't print well on the final print). Save and give each a new name to indicate that it has been optimized (e.g., an image originally named "dog.tif" might become "dog2.tif"):
    1. When you insert an image into the poster layout it is ideal that you insert it in the final size you want it to be and at the highest resolution the printer can handle. In other words you don't want to have to enlarge or reduce it once it is inserted. Enlarging the image decreases the resolution and reducing the image increases the memory size. Taking the time to optimize your image and not over or under sampling it produces the highest resolution image, cuts down on costs and printing time, and prevents the printer from rejecting the job. Optimization gives the digital image its best appearance in the printed poster, while minimizing its digital file size to facilitate printing and storage. 
      1. aim to make the target width of your images measure no less than 3" and no more than 6.5".
      2. aim to make the target resolution of your images between 150 and 200 dpi
  12. In your PPT poster layout, replace the original images with the optimized images.
  13. Rearrange the text and image blocks as needed or desired.
  14. Carefully proofread the layout and re-save it in your poster folder.
  15. Compress the poster folder (including all graphics and supporting files) into a zip file and upload the file to the printer (most printing companies have FTP sites or other online uploading systems).


Additional information

  1. Be brief, avoid wordiness, use lots of graphics and images.
  2. Know the deadline, create a critical path (work schedule) to meet the deadline. Be sure to ask the printing company how much time they will need to print the poster.
  3. Avoid using tabs in your text blocks. Instead, use a double vertical space to distinguish one paragraph from another.
  4. It is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with copyright laws and to obtain permission from a publisher to use any copyrighted images in your poster.
  5. Avoid downloading graphic art or photographs off web sites as they are usually low resolution images and will not reproduce well on your poster and may be subject to copyright laws.
  6. Avoid scanning graphic art or photographs from publications as they are usually halftones (images made up of dots) and will not reproduce well on your poster and ARE subject to copyright laws.
  7. Use images that will reproduce well on a poster such as: scans of original artwork or full tone photographic prints or slides; original computer generated graphic art or photographs shot with a digital camera.