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Creating Posters in PowerPoint

Choosing a Background Design

You will create your poster on a single slide in PowerPoint.  You may use a blank slide (and insert UVA logos manually) or a template (which typically has the UVA logo embedded).

UVA slide backgrounds can be found in several places:

Non-UVA templates:

IMPORTANT: set the size of your slide (poster) before you begin adding text or images. If you start out with one size poster and later change the dimensions, your images will be distorted and your text may be out of place. While this can be fixed, it is easier to take care of these steps before you start.

  • Directions for changing slide size or orientation
  • PowerPoint limits your slide size to 56 inches. However, printers can print larger than that. If you need a larger poster, simply divide your final height and width by two and use those measurements to design your slide.
    • For example, if you want a 60 in wide by 48 in high poster, enter 30 in for width and 24 for height. Make sure to indicate to the printer what your final size should be.
  • If you are using our Cardiovascular Research Center (CVRC) printers, you must make one side of the poster 36 or 42 inches.

Adding Text

  • Follow any requirements from your conference or poster session organizers about what elements must be on your poster, e.g. Introduction, Methods, Results, etc.
  • Adding each section as a single Text Box is a good way to make your content portable and easy to rearrange if you need to move items around on your poster
  • Include "white space." Posters should contain content, but also perform much like an advertisement. You want readers to be able to look over the poster and quickly understand the overall message. Your poster should help launch conversation between you and the viewer during your poster session. Be concise with your text where you can, using bullets and short paragraphs for easier browsing.

Adding Photos

  • UVA Health Brand provides photos of individuals and buildings; use the Request an Account link in the upper right to obtain and id and password for this site.
  • UVA BrandDot offers photos of the university


There are several printing options for posters, including UVA-based, local, and mail order. In addition, many printers can now print on different surfaces, including fabric. This is just a partial list:

UVA printers

Charlottesville printers

National printers (some with local stores)

Additional Resources

There are many sites with step-by-step instructions on creating a poster in PowerPoint. Some favorites:

In addition, if you want to take your posters (and presentations) to the next level, there are some excellent resources with expert guidance on design. See:

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