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APHA Poster Printing

Poster Design Tips


(Posters can be designed using most graphics programs. These general design tips contain some information specific to PowerPoint)

Page Setup

• We recommend using Microsoft PowerPoint to layout your poster. Set up your page size at 50% of the final size you want it to be printed. PowerPoint doesn’t allow for pages over 56” wide or tall. Go to File on the menu bar, then Page Setup. If the final poster size you want is 48”x72”, then under Page Setup make the page size 24”x36”.


• Your poster will look best if you use a light-colored background with a dark-colored font. The next best option is a dark-colored background with a light-colored font.


• Use a san serif font, such as Ariel, because they are easier to read than serif fonts, such as Times New Roman.

• You want your poster to be designed such that it can be viewed easily from 6 feet away; so your font should be at least 12 point at the 50% page size (this will end up being 24 point at full size).

• Try to avoid underlining lowercase text and the use of text outlines and shadow effects. These will make your poster more difficult to read. It is better to use bold, italics, and varying font sizes to highlight important items.


• The primary quality issue with posters are low resolution photographs or other digital images. Be sure that your digital image is at least 72 dpi at actual size (final output). With your page size at 50%, the digital image should be at least 144 dpi. So, if you are scanning a 4”x6” photo that you want to be 6”x9” at actual size, then scan it at 108 dpi or higher.

• Any changes to the digital image (i.e. cropping, color balancing, adding text, brightness, contrast, etc) should be made in the original program before you import the image into PowerPoint. The only manipulation that you should do to the image after importing into PowerPoint is scaling its size.

• After importing and scaling, place a frame (rectangular box) around them. Once the line thickness looks good (i.e. 1-2 pt), group the image and the frame together.

Charts / Graphs

• As with photos, all changes to charts and graphs should be finalized in the original program before importing into PowerPoint. The only manipulation that you should do to the image after importing into PowerPoint is scaling its size.

• When importing from Microsoft Excel, select the chart then Edit from the menu bar then Copy. Switch to PowerPoint, then select Edit from the menu bar and then Paste.

• When importing from programs other than Excel, save your chart in a JPG file format, switch to PowerPoint, select Insert from the menu bar, then Picture, and then From File.


• Preview the poster at actual size to find issues with low-resolution images. With your page size at 50%, go to View on the menu bar, then choose Zoom, 200%. This is a good representation of what your poster will look like when printed. Scroll left, right, up, and down looking for “grainy” images that may need to be fixed and re-imported.

• Have a friend or colleague review your poster for font size, colors, clarity, logical flow, wordiness, and most importantly, spelling.

Saving Your Work

• It is important to name your file such that it identifies the owner of the poster and the size of the poster. We recommend the format last name-first name-file size. For example, if John Smith ordered a 48”x72” poster then he would want to name the file Smith-John-48x72.ppt.

• When you save your file be sure to embed the fonts by going to Tools on the menu bar, then choosing Options, then Save. Here you want to select the “Embed TrueType Fonts” check box and the “Embed All Fonts Best For Editing By Others” button.

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