How to Create a Poster in PowerPoint 2016

Using an older version of PowerPoint? Here's the same tutorial for PowerPoint 2007

First, you need to create one large slide in PPT that is 36” tall, 48” wide (or set the size specifically to the final printed size you want). It is important you take this step at the beginning.

  • Open PPT and select: Blank Presentation
  • Under the ‘Home’ tab click on the ‘Slide Layout’ button and choose: Blank
  • Under the ‘Design’ Tab Select: Customize> Slide Size > Custom Slide Size
  • Enter 48” for the width and 36” for the height
  • Make sure your slide is in “Landscape Mode” (i.e., wider than it is high)
  • Select Ensure fit.

In order to view your entire poster on the screen at one time, under the ‘View’ tab select Zoom > Fit to window.

In order to zoom in on sections of the poster to work on them in finer detail, select: View > Zoom > 100% (or any other factor you like). There is also a slide viewer along the bottom right of the screen you can use to adjust the size of the viewing area.

Add Images, Charts and Text

PowerPoint 2016 includes many design aids. Under the ‘Design’ tab are preset themes along with background styles, colors and effects that can be added to the slide. Experiment!

  • To create a text box on your poster, select the ‘Insert’ tab > Text > Text Box.
  • Click in the presentation, and then drag to draw the text box to the size that you want.
  • You can size/move the text box by using the lines and squares on the edges of the box.
  • You can change font size, color, etc as you would in MS Word.
  • You can put gridlines on the slide so you can line up your pictures and text. Under the ‘View’ tab click on the ‘Show’ group and check the box for Show Gridlines. You can adjust the spacing of the gridlines under the ‘View’ tab, in the ‘Show’ group, click the icon in the lower right corner to show ‘Grids and Guides’ and adjust the spacing parameters under Grid Settings to desired spacing.
  • Other objects (such as pictures, diagrams, charts, and tables) can also be inserted in a similar way by selecting the appropriate object from the ‘Insert’ tab. Keep in mind that any images will be blown up in a poster and there may be some distortion or pixilation when it is printed.
  • You can add colors to the poster by using ‘auto shapes’ and changing the fill color - shortcuts for these options can be found on the drawing toolbar. The Drawing tools can be found under the ‘Home’ Tab.
  • You can stack shapes or textboxes on top of each other. For example, if you wanted to create a colored border around a white textbox, you could use the rectangle ‘auto shape’ to draw a box and fill it with a color (these options are located on the ‘Home’ tab). You could then draw a textbox inside the rectangle.
    • Right click inside the textbox, choose the Format Shape option, and change the fill color of the textbox (change it to white or any other color).
    • Right click the textbox or shape, then choose Bring to Front or Send to Back to arrange or stack the shapes. This can be done with pictures or graphs in the same manner.
    • If you have objects stacked on top of each other, you can group them together so all the stacked objects become like one new object and can be moved around the page together. For example, if you had a textbox with a colored rectangle behind it you could click on the rectangle to select it, then hold down the Ctrl key and click on the textbox. This is done by clicking on each object you want to be grouped together while holding down the Ctrl key, then Right click on the object and select the Group option, then click Group (ungroup can also be selected in the same way to separate the objects again).

Remember to leave at least 1/4-inch of unprinted space or border around the outside of your poster since large-carriage printers typically cannot do “full bleed” printing (i.e., they cannot print right up to the edge of the paper). It is fine to have the background color go to the edge of the slide but not the content.

You Can Also Paste Slides from Other PowerPoint Presentations Into Your Poster

  • Open a PPT presentation file
  • Select: View> Slide Sorter
  • Right-click on a slide and select Copy.
  • Go back to your PPT poster file and under the ‘Home’ tab click on the drop down arrow under Paste> select Paste Special > Microsoft PowerPoint Presentation Object.
  • Now you can move and size the slide as a separate object on your poster.

Save the Final Version of Your Poster to Email for Printing

  • Under the ‘File’ Tab Select: Save As > then select the folder where you wish to save. Enter “Postername” in the File Name field. Then Select: ‘PDF (*.pdf)’ as the ‘Save As Type’ to ensure formation of a PDF file. Ensure that the Standard (publishing online and printing) option is selected.
  • Select: Save
  • Posters can be printed by Madison Print Services.