Poster Presentations

Poster Presentation Guidelines for Campus Events

Helpful Tips:

  • Start Early. Creating an effective poster takes time. Plus you need to allow the Copy Shop time to print it (at least 48 hours) and (if displayed on campus) the Events Office time to get it ready for display (at least 48 hours).
  • Your audience may be from diverse academic backgrounds, so be prepared to present your poster to a general audience.
  • The Copy Shop will print your poster. The cost will be $20.00 (for 42 x 48 size). You can email it to Please allow 48 hours. The Copy Shop is located in the University Center; 319-362-8213 ext. 1883.
  • To have your poster displayed in poster display unit provided by Events, please contact Clint Dietrich in the Events Office at ext. 1839 or no later than 48 hours prior to the event. The Events Office is located in Warde 104A. 
  • In order for your poster to fit in the Events display unit, it must be 42 inches wide by 48 inches long.  To print and display properly, you should set up the print area on your poster to be 39 inches wide and 45 inches long. Consult with your instructor or sponsoring organization to determine the recommended size for your poster.
  • The Library has a number of poster templates that you can use. If they are not in your MyCampus course, contact the library ( and we will get them to you.
  • You need not use one of the templates.  You can be creative.  Just make sure you keep the column alignments logical so that your reader knows how to move between your poster elements. (Left to right, top to bottom is best)
  • Keep the number of words low.  Your reader should be able to read the entire poster in 10 minutes or less.  Some people recommend no more than 800 words.
  • Use a simple sans serif font like Arial or Helvetica. The title should be printed in the largest font (60 point or greater), then the section headings (36 point or greater), then the body of your poster (24 points or greater). You can use the smallest font for the References and the Acknowledgment.  Remember, the fonts need to be read from a distance of 5 or 6 feet.
  • Higher resolution graphics will print best. Graphics with 300 dpi are recommended.
  • Save your slide as a .pdf file.  Send the pdf to the Copy Shop for printing.
  • You are going to create just one large PowerPoint slide:


Steps for Preparing a Poster

Step  1. Prepare a miniature mock-up of a poster. Draw and write on a piece of paper the sections you intend – title, various pieces of text, photos, etc. Have the graphics sized and ready to insert on your poster. A plan minimizes time at the computer.  For layout ideas, see the library’s poster templates.

Step 2. Open PowerPoint from Microsoft Office. Click on LAYOUT and then choose BLANK.

Step 3. Click on the DESIGN Tab. Then click on PAGE SETUP on the Left.  Select the size that you want. If your instructor has made arrangements with Events to use their poster display system, make the WIDTH 39 inches and the HEIGHT 45 inches. Click OK.

Step 4. On the Right side of the DESIGN Tab, click on the little arrow at the bottom of the BACKGROUND area. Click on the COLOR area and choose a background color.  For the best visibility, choose a light colored background and dark text.

Step 5. To add text, you need to Insert a Text Box first (on the INSERT Tab choose Text Box) and then type your text inside that box

Step 6. To add graphics, click on the INSERT Tab and then choose PICTURE or CLIP ART. You should edit your picture using PAINT or other picture editing software to make certain it is the right size and resolution before adding it to your poster.  Images with a resolution of at least 300 dpi will print the best.

Step 7. Save your completed slide as a pdf file and email the pdf to the Copy Shop. (