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Creating Scholarly Posters in PowerPoint: Do's & Don'ts

Do's:

Things to think about when creating the poster:

  • Title in title case (each word - except prepositions - capitalized).
  • Use non-serif (sans serif) fonts.
  • For emphasis, use Italics instead of Underligning.
  •  With acronyms or large numbers, scale them down just a bit so they don't overpower the surrounding text.  Try small caps.
  • If needed, set line spacing -- to exactly 1.
  • Spacing between words - keep just one space between works.
  • Color blindness could be an issue.  Check to make sure your colorful message conveys a unified message even if someone has this - use Vischeck.com

For charts, graphs, and tables:

  • Add titles for all.
  • The Y axis on a graph - set it up for a horizontal label for easier reading.
  • Axis labels should be in sentence case (only the first word is capitalized).

Things to think about when printing the poster:

  • Screen colors are RGB.
  • Printer colors are CMYK  (mini-test prints are adviseable).
  • See if you can get a proof to make sure colors and images come out as expected
  • ACS Printing - for those comfortable with do it yourself trouble-shooting
  • Imprints can handle it.
  • Other print places:  FedEx Kinkos or online print services.

Don'ts:

Things to think about when creating the poster:

  • Word counts - don't exceed 1,000 words.
  • Section headers - don't bullet or punctuate them.
  • Blocks of text - avoid blocks longer than 10 sentences.
  • Backgrounds - avoid dark ones (unless you have an additional layer to highlight text) or visually contrasting images.

Things to think about when printing the poster:

  • Don't wait to the last minute - it costs more.