Poster Tips & Tricks
Helpful hints on creating your posters and using our templates…
If you are new to creating a scientific poster for your upcoming event, we can help. This site will give you tips to create great posters, including a new template with the UT Medical School logo and image of the school already included. We are trying to make the task of creating a poster from scratch a little easier.
What’s keeping us busy…
Our brand new HP Z6100 printer is the latest in large-format printing technology. We can print your scientific posters, your banners, or your favorite photos on a larger scale.
Scientific posters printed on UT’s large format inkjet printer
Fully-electronic posters using computer software that handles text and graphics — Microsoft PowerPoint (currently the most popular), Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw, Adobe Acrobat (PDF) — can be printed on our large-format inkjet printer.
When submitting your poster file for printing, it must be print-ready. All graphs and pictures should already have been imported into the poster. Our service includes a small proof (printed on the HP Z6100) for proofreading purposes.
Planning your poster
First, check with conference organizers on their specifications of size and orientation before you start your poster, e.g., maximum poster size and display area and the orientation — landscape (horizontal), portrait (vertical), or square format.
Bear in mind that you do not need to fill the whole space allocated by some organizers, e.g., 4ft x 8ft. Do not make your poster bigger than necessary just to fill a given size.
A poster is read like a newspaper or magazine. Plan your poster in three, four, or five columns of text, depending on the poster’s overall width, headed by a large banner containing the title and the authors’ names and affiliations.
The following software and file types are supported by our office for scientific poster printing.
- Microsoft PowerPoint
- Corel Draw
- Adobe Illustrator
- Adobe Acrobat (PDF)
The Office of Communications have produced a set of templates for help in creating your posters.
By using these templates, your poster will look professional, will be easy to read, and will save you valuable time from figuring out proper placement of titles, subtitles, and body text. See the template information.
For further assistance and to order your printed poster call 713-500-5530. If you are ready now, attach your PowerPoint slide to an e-mail and send it directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Poster Basics – Poster Layout
To begin, place the header copy blocks approximately to where you think they need to be on the poster, so you can get a better sense of the overall poster layout. It will help you organize your content.
The copy blocks are filled with fake type which you can highlight, then begin replacing with your own text. You can also paste the text you may have already copied from another source.
Repeat the process throughout the poster as needed.
Production steps and design
- Check conference instructions for display area size or maximum poster size BEFORE you start.
- Set up the page size of your poster BEFORE you begin production. NOTE: If using one of our templates, don’t adjust the page size (we can scale-to-fit for you at the printing stage).
- A large banner containing the title and the authors’ names and affiliations.
- Title: 85pt minimum (size will vary according to the length of the title).
- Authors and origin: 56pt minimum
- Sub-headings: 36pt minimum
- Body text: 24pt minimum
- Captions: 18pt minimum
For our templates we use the Helvetica font family at several recommended text sizes. You can use any typeface you like and at any size, but try to stay close to the suggested limits.
- Medical School and UTHealth logos are available on request at the Office of Communications. Give us a call at 713-500-5530 or e-mail Darla Brown, Director of the Office of Communications
Tips for making a successful poster
- Re-write your paper into poster format, i.e., simplify everything and avoid data overkill.
- Headings of more than six words should be in upper and lower case, not all capitals.
- Never write whole sentences in capitals or underline to stress your point. Use Bold characters instead.
- When laying out your poster leave ‘breathing space’ around the text. Don’t overcrowd your poster.
- Use plain fonts such as Helvetica, Arial, Times New Roman, or Univers.
- All body text should be the same size and style of font.
- Keep body text left-aligned. Do not justify text.
- Columns should not vary in width.
- Use photographs or colored graphs wherever possible.
- Avoid long numerical tables. Convert complex tables to graphs and charts.
- Spellcheck and get someone else to proofread your poster.
Importing images and graphs
Photographs, graphs, diagrams, and logos can easily be imported into your poster.
Inserting files into MS PowerPoint
To insert scanned images, graphs, etc., go through the menus as follows: Insert/Picture/From File…then find the file to be inserted, select it, and press OK.
Graphs done in programs other than MS Office, e.g., scientific graphic programs such as Sigma Plot, Prism SPSS, Statistica, should be saved as TIFF or JPEG if possible.
If you have image files that aren’t JPEG or TIFF, you could try to open them or copy them into Photoshop, or some other image-editing program, and convert them.
The second-to-last resort with problem files is to take a screen shot of the image on your desktop. Enlarging the image on a 17-inch or larger monitor gives better resolution.
The very last resort with problem files is to try copying and pasting them into your PowerPoint document. Sometimes this is the only way of bringing over a graph from a scientific graphing program. Be aware that although you may see the image on your screen, it may print incorrectly on a poster or cause file errors. After copying and pasting, ungroup the graph (‘draw’ menu). The graph then becomes hundreds of individual items. Zoom in and check your graph carefully to ensure that nothing has moved or disappeared. If you are happy with the result, re-group everything again so it can be moved as a single object.
For simple graphs use Microsoft Excel, or do the graph directly in PowerPoint.
Importing Tables & Graphs
Importing tables, charts and graphis is easier than importing photos. To import charts and graphs from Excel, Word, or other applications, go to
EDIT>COPY, copy your chart, and come back to PowerPoint. Go to
EDIT>PASTE and paste the chart on the poster. You can scale your charts and tables proportionally by holding down the Shift key and dragging in or out one of the corners.
Avoid ‘resolution overkill’ which can result in enormous file sizes (see ‘Image file sizes’)
Never import images from the Web. They are not suitable for printing as the resolution is too small.
The best file type to import if you are using PowerPoint is a JPEG file (high-quality/level 8).
Image file sizes
The recommended size of the JPEG files (for posters!) is:
- Image size: 921×1276 pixels
- Print size: 5”x7”
- Resolution: 180dpi
- Color (RGB): 320k JPEG file (3.37Mb when this file is open)
- Black and White (Grayscale): 180k JPEG file (1.13Mb when this file is open)
Resizing an inserted image or graph
Once the file has been imported into the poster, it can be resized by selecting it and dragging at a corner. Do not drag at other points, as the image will become distorted.
It is best not to ‘Link’ objects and images when inserting them. If you take your presentation to another computer, PowerPoint won’t be able to find the original file to display.
Beware of potential problems
Page size and MS PowerPoint
Changing the page size after finishing your poster can cause formatted text to move and imported objects and images to go out of shape.
Large file sizes
If the poster file exceeds 100Mb in size, printing problems may occur.
PICT files, SigmaPlot, Prism, SPSS, DeltaGraph & CricketGraph into PowerPoint might be visible on your screen but can print incorrectly or not at all. Preferably import only JPEG files or TIFF files into PowerPoint.
Finally, your poster…
Your poster should be conceived as an advertisement for your ideas, findings, or techniques. Therefore, good posters are the ones that apply the best techniques of salesmanship:
- Titles and subheadings should be short yet meaningful.
- The content should be concise and to the point.
- The design should be visually appealing, exploring capabilities of color, graphics, and typography.
Research Poster Design Services
Are you too busy or somewhat “PowerPoint-challenged” and would you like to have your poster presentation professionally designed, printed, and delivered on time for your meeting?
We’ll be happy to provide you with our expertise. All you need is to email us the following:
- A Word document with all your text or your multi-page PowerPoint document.
- Your logos, photos, charts, graphs, and tables.
- Your deadline!
A proof will be created for you to approve for revisions and final approval. Once we have your approval, your poster will be printed.
Call us for an estimate. We will be happy to assist. You can reach us at: 713-500-5530
How to get your poster to us…
Removable media: CD-ROM or flash drives
Note: Please phone us at 713-500-5530 after emailing the poster, to ensure we have received it.
How to order your poster for printing
To order your poster begin by downloading our job request form, fill in the form, then send us your file by choosing one of the options offered:
- You can email us at email@example.com
- Call us at 713-500-5530
- Fax the filled out form to 713-500-5533