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Posters and Signs: Basic Instructions and Templates

Creating your own design: Step-by-Step Instructions

Start from scratch OR Choose a template and skip to “Fill in your Template”

Create your canvas
1. Open Powerpoint, Create a new (white) slide
2. Change the Layout to “Blank” (no text boxes etc)
3. Change the size of the slide to poster-appropriate using Page Setup
   a. One side must be 42 inches, the size of the plotter paper
   b. The other side’s length is up to you.
   c. Most student posters are 36x42.
   d. Remember, you pay for poster printing by the size.
4. Optional – turn a few things on to make lining things up easier. Under View, try turning on the ruler, dynamic guidelines, static guidelines, or gridlines.

Create your layout structure
1. Decide about columns. You will likely need three columns – they can be of equal size OR one wider column in the middle, two slightly more narrow outside columns.
2. Use Insert to create text boxes. You might not fill all these boxes with text, but that’s ok.
3. You will likely need to have:
   a. Title box (across the top)
   b. At least one box in each column
   c. A box for your references
4. Text boxes expand and contract based on how much text they hold, so you may have to edit your text or be flexible with your structure.

Add design to your template
1. Choose a color-theme. You can change the background of your entire poster (Format, Slide Background) or of the inside of the text boxes (Click on the box, Right-click, Format Shape). Don’t use too many colors, but use some!
2. You can add the Earlham College logo or the seal of the College – download them from the Design Elements tab and then Insert them.
3. Look at the many other academic posters on display – what works? What doesn’t?

Fill in your template
1. You should have your text all ready in a separate word document – cut and paste from that into your poster.
2. Font sizes – bigger than usual!
   a. Title font might be 100
   b. Box headings font might be 60
   c. Regular text inside boxes might be 30
3. Use Insert to add images, charts, graphics, etc.
   a. Be sure they are large files so that they won’t print out pixelated.
   b. Remember to cite your image sources.

Fix any wonky stuff
1. Make sure you aren’t accidentally using more than one font! Highlight all your text and select the font you’ve chosen.
2. Zoom in and out to make sure your text is perfect, your images look ok, that you spelled your name right.

ESSENTIAL for PowerPoint slides: Grouping
1. Before you send your file to be printed, you MUST group all your items.
2. In general, this means you will
   a. Select ALL
   b. Choose Group (under Arrange or right-click menu).
3. Grouping can be tricky, but be persistent.

Test Print
1. Print a test version of your poster on regular 8.5 x 11 inch paper.
2. Do this by selecting FILE...PRINT...and then check the box for FIT TO PAPER SIZE and then print your document
3. Check that the layout is what you want (Ignore that it will be black and white instead of color and that some text may change from black to white or vice versa)
4. Adjust as necessary.

Save your Slide as a PDF
A PDF will preserve your work in a more stable way, but don’t forget that you may have to adjust your PPT slide if anything in your PDF needs fixing.

Basic Google Slides Poster template

These templates are Google Slides files.  In order to make changes, make a copy of the template and save that to your Google Drive. You will be able to edit the copy. Go to File/ Make a Copy.

----------Old Templates---------

Using Google Slides

To set up poster

     File --> Page Set up

     Choose Custom, and set size in Inches 

To Save to .PDF.

      File --> Download as

      Choose PDF Document

Using Powerpoint to Create

Open a blank PowerPoint page

On the Design Tab - choose Slide Size (Custom)

Change Width to 36 in and Height to 24 in.

Use "Insert" to make Text Boxes and insert Pictures


To Save to .PDF

File-->Export -->Create PDF

Save on a USB drive

Earlham College • 801 National Road West • Richmond, Indiana 47374-4095