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Guidelines for Poster Presentations

Making an APA Poster

Poster presentations are a fun way to discuss research with interested parties. The audience at a conference moves through the poster displays to inquire and learn about the information presented on the poster. Therefore, when designing your poster, include the most important information from your research. Below are more tips for constructing your poster.

Poster dimensions should be "36 (width) x 48 (length)"

Choose a title that captures the interest of an audience and orients the audience to the poster’s content.

Use large text for the title

Do not use all capital letters in the title

In the sciences, it is common to state the results in the title, capitalizing words as one would in a sentence

Include the author(s) and a description of the research that highlights the major elements

Minimize detail in descriptions

Use pictures, tables, and figures to illustrate concepts and add interest to the poster

Use colors on the poster with care

Avoid excessive amounts of information and seek to enhance conversation by giving just enough information and visuals to interest the audience

Design a poster that clearly portrays the subject, purpose, and results

Use the most important textual descriptions and supporting images.

Use appropriate size font that is large enough and contrasts easily with the poster’s background. Non-serif fonts such as Helvetica for title and headings and a serif font like Palatino for the body text are easier to read. Never use dark backgrounds. For guidelines on font and layout, use Penn State’s templates at and PowerPoint poster template.

Make each section easy to identify and create a logical reading flow on the poster

Design the poster so it can be quickly read in a few minutes

It is recommend that you use less than 800 words

Do bullet or punctuate section headers, but use larger font sizes in a bolded format

Use text boxes that are approximately 40 characters wide or about 11 words per line

Avoid more than 10 sentences in one block; use lists of sentences when appropriate

Use italics and not underlining

Use single spacing throughout the poster

Define difficult terminology or use jargon-free language for a general audience at the conference

Click here for an examples of APA posters

Designing a Poster Using PowerPoint

1) Open a new PowerPoint document


3) You can set the dimensions you’d like for your poster, but remember that the size limitation for the CSRC is 48 inches by 48 inches

4) To add colors and background, go to DESIGN, then BACKGROUND STYLES, and then FORMAT BACKGROUND

5) When selecting a color for your background, remember that light is best because a dark font shows up clearly on it. Avoid using a very bright or dark background.

6) You can choose a solid color, or a gradient. For either selection, you can slide the TRANSPARENCY bar at the bottom to make the color lighter and more transparent

7) To use a picture as a background, go to FORMAT BACKGROUND, click “Picture or "Texture fill.” Click “file” and then navigate to your picture. You can also use Clip art. When using a picture as a background, adjust your transparency so that your text will show up clearly. Only use a picture if it is relevant to your topic!

8) You will notice that you start with two boxes on your slide. The long rectangular box can be moved to the top to accommodate your title.

9) To add more boxes, go to INSERT-TEXT BOX. You can drag your box around until you have it where you want it and then re-size it. You might want to start with 5 boxes: one for your title, one for your intro, one for methods, one for results, and one for your discussion.

10) You can add a chart or graph to your presentation by clicking in a box and going to INSERT-CHART. You will find that there are a variety of graphs to add. Select whichever works best for your data. From here you can also insert relevant pictures or clip art. Be careful with Clip Art, though: it’s generic and you don’t want your poster to look just like everyone else’s.

11) When you need to cite information on your poster, it is easiest to write your citations in a regular word document and then copy the text into a text box. The font for this can be significantly smaller. If you cite a photo, it’s easiest to drag the text box to just under the photo.

12) Be sure to save your poster and include a text box for the References in your paper.

How to Design a Poster in Microsoft Publisher

1) To open, go to Microsoft Office, and click Microsoft Office Publisher. After opening Publisher, go to BLANK PAGE SIZES

2) To customize your poster size, go to PAGE SETUP and type in the size in inches. Posters cannot be larger than 48 inches by 48 inches.

3) To set margins, click “Margins” and determine the size of margins that you need to ensure a professional looking poster.

4) To insert a Text Box, click the “Insert” tab. Then click the Text Box icon. You can resize the textbox by clicking the circles and pulling the box to your desired size. Use the bottom boxes to pull the box to format the width and the boxed arrows icon to place the box in the correct placement on the poster. Then type in your content into the box or copy and paste text from another document.

5) Once you have a text box, you can add pictures and graphs by clicking in a box and going to INSERT-CHART. Select the visuals that work best for your data.

6) To set up your background, go to the Page Design tab and then click BACKGROUND. You will find a variety of textures and colors to use.

7) By clicking MORE BACKGROUNDS, you can insert a picture to use as your background.

8) To add a graph or chart, click in your text box, then go to INSERT OBJECT. Click “Create New” and chose the format you’d like you to use. You can then design your own chart.

9) To add a graph, chart, or text document already saved on your computer, click on your textbox, click INSERT OBJECT, then go to “Create from File”. Browse your files for the desired document.

10) Be sure to save your document and include a section for references if you are citing information.

*Poster presentations will be displayed in a separate conference room. Display boards and mounting clips will be provided for participants*