This document is a step-by-step guide to creating a poster in Microsoft PowerPoint for printing with one of the library-supported computer labs, as well as information about DesignLab.
Get Help Making a Poster
DesignLab is a free library service open to UW-Madison students, faculty, and staff to help you design better digital projects. You can make a one-on-one or small group appointment to get help with your poster.
DesignLab staff can help you think through your layout, visualizations, font and color choices, or just be a second set of eyes on your poster before you print.
Make an appointment: https://designlab.wisc.edu/make-an-appointment
Creating a Poster in Powerpoint
- Open PowerPoint, choose Blank Presentation and click OK.
- Under the ‘Home’ tab, go to ‘Layout’ and choose the ‘Blank’ slide and click OK.
- Under the ‘Design’ tab, choose ‘Slide Size’ and click on ‘Page Setup,’
- Enter the desired poster size and click OK.
- IMPORTANT: Our poster roll has a maximum width allowance of 43”. Please make sure that at least ONE of the dimensions for your poster is no larger than 43”. (Example: 48”x 56” will not print, but 43”x 50” will print!)
- Now it’s time to start designing your poster! If you are going to have a background image, it is recommended to add that in first so you are then able to design the text and aesthetic of the poster accordingly.
- To change the background of the slide go to the ‘Design’ tab, choose ‘Format Background’.
- You can chose a solid color background by selecting the ‘Solid’ option at the top of the box and changing the color. You can also change the transparency of the background color – either by manually inputting the percent of transparency or using the slider to change the transparency.
- You can also choose your own image by selecting ‘Picture or Texture’ from the top and clicking ‘Choose Picture.’ Then choose the desired image from your computer. Again, you can adjust the transparency of the image. Here is an example of a background image inserted at 40% transparency.
- In order to add text to the slide, you will need to insert text boxes. To do this, go to the ‘Insert’ menu and select ‘Text Box’.
- Note: With reference to font size and style, it is best to use your own judgment concerning what looks the best for the design and aesthetic of your poster. We recommend you do not use anything smaller than 12pt font, although even this is small for a poster.
- If you would like to add a solid background to your text box, right click on the text box and choose ‘Format Shape.’
- You can also add transparency to the background fill of your text box by manually entering a specific percentage, or using the slider along the transparency bar to reach the desired appearance.
- You can also achieve an ombre style background color fill by choosing the ‘Gradient’ fill when in the ‘Format Shape’ mode.
- In order to add images to the slide, you will need to insert pictures. To input an image, save the file (we recommend using a PNG or JPEG file) to your computer. Then, from the ‘Insert’ menu, select ‘Pictures’ and choose the desired file.
- If you would like to include any logos for the University of Wisconsin-Madison you can visit the following link to find a range of choices of high quality logos: http://umark.wisc.edu/brand/templates-and-downloads/print-logos.php (Unfortunately this does not include specific School or Departmental logos.)
- Continue the processes listed in Steps #6 and #7 to add more text boxes and images to your poster, as well as insert any desired graphs, tables, etc.
- Provided is an example of a “finished poster” with recommendations of the sort of information you may wish to include in your poster.
- Note: This is only a recommendation. Feel free to format your poster however you wish! You should resize, move around and create all text boxes or graphics to meet your own standards and needs for the poster and the information you are intending to provide in your presentation. PowerPoint will automatically align text boxes and graphics when moving them around, but they do not need to be aligned if you do not wish it.
- Save the original file as a .ppt or .pptx format.
- Additionally, since we only print image files, you will need to export the poster to an image format.
- To do this, click ‘File’ in the upper left corner and choose “Export...”
- From the ‘File Format:’ dropdown menu, select ‘JPEG', 'TIFF', or 'PNG' for the best results.
- Save the file as: FirstNameLastName-OneWordDescription.filetype (as described in Submitting a Poster above)
- Now you’re ready to order your print (above).