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D. Hiden Ramsey Library, University of North Carolina at Asheville

The CrAFT Studio at UNC Asheville: Designing a Poster in PowerPoint

Now open on Ramsey Library's Lower Level, the CrAFT Studio is a multi-use creativity studio at the intersection of technology, creativity, and scholarship.

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Designing a Poster

How to Design a Poster


These are basic guidelines for designing posters in PowerPoint to be printed in the CrAFT Studio. To learn how to submit your design to be printed, visit the CrAFT Studio’s page on the Ramsey Library website, under Research Support.


  • Your poster will be created on ONE slide in PowerPoint.

  • The page size of that slide must be your desired print size. You must do this step before you create your poster. Your print quality will be substandard if you design your poster and then change the size.

  • To prevent cropping when printing, be sure you have a 1 inch margin around the edges of the poster.

  • Open PowerPoint, choose Blank Presentation and click OK.

  • Choose the Blank slide layout and click OK.

  • Go to File in the toolbar and click Page Setup.

  • Enter the Height and Width of your poster. Please be aware that PowerPoint’s maximum size is 52”; therefore to produce a PowerPoint poster with dimensions larger than 52”, both dimensions are entered at half the desired size. For example, for a 44” x 66” poster, you would enter 22” in the box for height and 33” in the box for width, and click OK. The poster’s size will be doubled during the printing phase to bring it up to 44x66 inches as desired. Important: The printer's maximum size paper roll is 42”, meaning that one of your dimensions, width or height, may not exceed 44”. Also, other roll sizes are 24”, 36” and 42”, so it is best to set either the height or width of your poster to one of these measurements. Our standard, heavyweight bonded printing paper is 36 inches wide. A standard conference poster is around 36 inches by 48 inches. We have specialty sizes and paper types available up to 42 inches wide.


  • It’s important to maintain a good contrast between the background color and the text color. Consider using a light color background and dark text.

  • A gradient color fill in the background, especially black, will print poorly. It will have very thin visible lines that you will not see on your computer monitor.

  • The colors that you see on your computer monitor will not reproduce exactly the same on a printed poster, as monitor color settings vary.


  • All graphics should be pictures (e.g. .tif, .gif for transparency, .jpg for non-transparent images) inserted directly into PowerPoint (NOT linked from another program). The preferred image format for all inserted images is JPEG if you do not need a transparent background.

  • If you have graphs or charts from Excel to include in your poster, simply copy in Excel and paste into PowerPoint.

  • Make sure that the images you choose for your poster are high enough resolution to look clear on your poster. View images and graphs at 100%; this will let you see if the images are pixilated or blurry at all.


  • It is best to use a font that is cross-platform to ensure that your poster looks as you have designed it. The fonts suggested here are all cross-platform and should be found on most systems. If you use a downloaded font that is specific to one environment (i.e. only Mac or only Windows), you must embed that font in your PDF.

  • The most common fonts are Times New Roman and Arial. Other fonts include Arial Black, Franklin Gothic Heavy, Tahoma, Trebuchet, Verdana, Garamond, Book Antiqua, or Bookman Old Style. These are just a few examples.

  • You will have to adjust the font size depending on the amount of text in your poster and the style of font you choose. For readability, you should not use a font size any smaller than 18 points.

  • For consistency, it would be best to make all the headers the same size and use the same font size throughout the poster for all body text.

  • If your text is in a different file (e.g. in a Word document) be sure that it pastes into a text box in PowerPoint so it can be more easily edited. To do this, use the Paste Special command and choose Unformatted Text so that the text will become a PowerPoint text box. If you just copy and paste, your text will be an imported word processing object, which will not be as easy to edit in PowerPoint.


For PowerPoint 2007 for Windows:

  • Click the Microsoft Office button, point to the arrow next to Save As, and then click PDF or XPS.

  • In the File name list, type or select a name for the presentation.

  • In the Save as type list, click PDF.

  • If you want to open the file immediately after saving it, select the Open file after publishing check box. This check box is only available if you have a PDF reader installed on your computer.

  • Next to Optimize for click Standard (publishing online and printing).

  • Click Save.

For PowerPoint 2010 for Windows:

  • Click the File tab.

  • Click Save as.

  • In the File Name box, enter a name for the file, if you haven’t already.

  • In the Save as type box, click PDF (*.pdf).

  • Click Standard (publishing online and printing).

  • Click Save.

For PowerPoint 2011 for Mac:

  • Select File, then Save As.

  • Choose PDF from the Format dropdown.

  • Save in desired location.

What program should I use to create my poster?
You can use a wide variety of programs to create your poster! We do not recommend using Microsoft Word as the largest page size currently supported is 12 inches by 18 inches. We have created templates in a Microsoft PowerPoint, Google Slides, and Canva