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Poster Instructions - Macintosh

Making a poster in PowerPoint requires many of the same skills used to make a regular PowerPoint presentation, but you will be making only one large slide instead of a series of small ones.

Step 1: Create a PowerPoint "Poster" Slide

  • Open PowerPoint Select "Design" and "Page Setup" (in Office 2003 select "File" and "Page Setup")
    • Select "Custom" from the "Slides Sized for:" drop-down menu and adjust the height and width
    • Select the appropriate orientation: Portrait orientation - 35" width x 43" height or Landscape orientation - 43" width x 35" height
    • Select "Options", "Manage Custom Sizes" (this must be done on each computer where you edit your PowerPoint document -- it is not saved with the document)
      • Create a paper size to match your height and width, but reverse the height and width (Click "+")
      • Select this new paper size when done
      • When asked whether to correct size or not, Do NOT correct! You want to "print" to a paper size which you don't have on your Mac!
  • Add content to your poster as you would a PowerPoint slide: you may wish to create text boxes to organize your material, and select a background from the pre-set design schemes
  • About Images
    • Avoid using too many large images
    • Don't use a background image that will make text hard to read!
    • Don't resize a small image to a larger one using Powerpoint!
  • It will be helpful to zoom in and out to get the layout that you want and also work with your text. To zoom, go to "View" and select "Zoom".
  • Save your work as usual

Important factors to remember/consider:

  • Project Requirements - Does your poster contain the items required for your project. Professors or organizations typically require some or all of the following:
    • Your name(s) (and the names of any sponsors)
    • Date (or semester)
    • Course, or department, or your project name
    • Your professor's name
    • Colgate University name
    • References (may be able to use smaller fonts)
  • Preview, Preview, Preview - Use the print preview whenever possible in this process to see if your output looks correct.
  • Things to check:
    • Does the poster size look OK with respect to the displayed borders (not a postage stamp on a huge screen)? If not, check page/paper sizes
    • Are top/bottom or left/right sections of the poster clipped? If not, check the orientation and/or the length/width order of the paper size (e.g., may need to change 43x35 to 35x43)
    • Remember the image notes above (too many, too large, or resized images can look great but cause problems with printing)
    • PowerPoint has a "Grid and Guides" function which you can lay over your poster; this might be useful for lining things up. Find it in the "View" menu.
    • Will your text color be hard to read on your background graphic?
  • You must have your poster reviewed by Learning Commons staff before it is submitted for printing

Note: Many course projects do not require a PDF. Check your assignment instructions to see if you need submit only a PPT. 

Step 2: Create a PDF version of Your PowerPoint

PowerPoint - Save as PDF 

You can use the PowerPoint Save As... option to save in PDF format (available in all recent Office versions for Mac)

    • Menu File | Save as...  
      • Select Save as type PDF
    • Ensure that the saved PDF displays all of your poster before you submit (if not, check the sizes specified in your 
Mac - Print to PDF
A Macintosh can also create a PDF via its Print function. 
    • In PowerPoint select "File" menu, "Print"
      • Select "PDF", "Save as PDF" in the lower left of the print dialog
      • Ensure that the PDF looks like your poster; it is easy to generate a PDF which contains only a portion of your poster
      • Save the document with an appropriate name which include your username for identification during the printing process
        • Save the document in an appropriate location (e.g., network storage or removable medium)
      • Save the document in an appropriate location (e.g., network storage or removable medium)
      • Ensure that the saved PDF displays all of your poster before you submit (if not, check the sizes specified in your PowerPoint Page Setup)
Step 3: Submit both the PowerPoint and PDF documents (when required for your course or for any individual printing requests)