How to Create a Poster in PowerPoint

To create a poster in PowerPoint, design one “slide” with its page size set to the size of your poster. Any color scheme that offers good contrast between foreground and background is acceptable, although you may find that white or light colored backgrounds with dark text work best.

1. From the File menu go to:

  • New Presentation: Choose a Blank slide layout
  • Page Setup: Select “Custom” from the “Slides sized for:” drop-down box and enter values for page Width and Height. If your desired poster size is less than 56 inches in its longest dimension, enter the actual final dimensions. If your desired poster size is 56 inches or greater in its longest dimension, enter Width and Height values at one-half final size. Then scale your file at the printer to achieve the final poster dimensions. For example, if your desired final size is 48 inches by 72 inches, set your PowerPoint page to 24 inches by 36 inches.

2. To add text:

  • New text – Select PowerPoint’s Text Box tool and type in your text
  • Existing text – From Microsoft Word, “Copy” and “Paste Special as Unformatted Text” into your PowerPoint document. Then apply text formatting as needed.
  • When adjusting horizontal positioning of text strings, always use tabs or justification buttons. Using spaces can cause text alignment problems because the size of a space is not consistent from system to system.
  • If your file uses any unusual fonts, you may need to supply the font files in order to correctly print the poster.

3. To add tables or graphs:

  • To insert tables or graphs from Microsoft Word or Excel, select the Insert menu, point to Insert:Object, and click on the appropriate application. Alternatively, you can “Copy” the table or graph to the clipboard and “Paste Special as Picture”.
  • Tables can be easily constructed within PowerPoint using tabs. The program includes left, right, center, and decimal justification tabs on the text ruler.
  • For graphic objects from non-Microsoft Office applications use Save As or Export to create an EPS file from that application. You can then insert the file into your PowerPoint document. On the Insert menu point to Insert:Picture and click on From File…

4. To add scanned images:

  • Scanned images should have a resolution of 150ppi at their final printed size on the poster
  • Avoid compressed file formats like JPEG
  • Use RGB mode for color images or Grayscale for B&W images
  • Images to be imported should be in EPS or TIFF format
  • Add images to your poster using Insert:Picture:From File…
  • Avoid adding images by using “cut & paste”

5. Save and submit your file for printing as a PowerPoint presentation (.ppt file).

This information was originally posted on the now defunct UCLA Photographic Services Website.
Submitted by George Helfand, formerly with UCLA Photographic Services.