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Creating a Scientific Research Poster: Posters: The Basics

Tips and Resources for creating a scientific poster that looks great and conveys your research well.

PowerPoint step-by-step

Download this PowerPoint to help you in the later stages of creating your poster:

Organize your ideas and information

Before you even open PowerPoint, outline your basic ideas and clump them into categories.

Try using these categories to get started:

  • Abstract and/or Background Information
  • Research Questions
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Conclusions
  • References
  • Acknowledegements 

Then, on a piece of paper, draw out how you want your poster to look. Think about how people usually read: start with your title and name at the very top (that's the most important part of the poster!). Under the title, organize the sections above into a logical way, such as 3-4 columns with section headings.

Setting up a slide in PowerPoint

The first thing to do in PowerPoint is to make your slide the correct size. To do this, click the "Design" tab, then click on "Page Setup" like in the picture below. 48" wide by 42" tall is a good starting size. Now if you type anywhere in a size 12 font, it will look tiny in relation to the whole poster. 

Now set up your categories, but don't actually add your content yet. You can type out your title and the author names to get a feel for font sizing, but don't start adding in any pictures or lots of text. Type out section headers and organize them like you did on your sheet of paper.

Peer Research Advisor

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Eli Gandour-Rood
Office: Collins Library 117

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If you are having trouble sketching out ideas for your poster, or have a very short timeframe to work with, you can consider using a premade template for PowerPoint.

These templates can help you produce an organized, aesthetically pleasing poster, but be aware that they tend to look very factory-produced and may not come with the best layout options for your specific project. When using these templates, it's important to make some changes to the overall design and make it your own poster.

You can find templates easily by searching Google for "research poster templates."