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How Do I Create and Print an Academic Poster

A Guide for Students and Researchers preparing a poster for presentation at a conference

PowerPoint File

Print a Poster at Hershey

You have done your research, crunched the data, and conducted the experiments to support your hypothesis, now you have to present at a conference or seminar. Your advisor tells you to make a poster. Here's what you need to do

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Printing Using the Facilities Work Request system, submit the job for print and arrange payment at

If you are a student, get a work order number by calling 717-531-0003 x320598. The Facilities Admin Assistant arranges the payment process for you since the Work Request system is set up to bill department by fund and grant numbers.

Sign Shop Request drop down

If your department is paying for the poster, find the fund or budget number in the drop-down menu. Send your file and Work Order Number to 

Sign Shop will typically turn jobs around within two days. To pick up your poster after being told it is ready, visit the Support Services Building, (#26 on the Campus Map) located on the south side of the BMR Building Parking lot. Prints may be picked up by entering the door (Badge Access) and you will see the prints on the floor outside the Sign Shop.

To check if your poster is ready, call the Sign Shop at 717-531-3673

Design using PowerPoint

The Sign Shop offers PowerPoint templates which you can use to organize the information into a visually appealing poster. They also supply approved logos and images to work as headers for your poster.

University Libraries has information at 


Image formats

Images should be at least 200 dpi for best quality printing

PNG format pictures can have a transparent background

JPEG format is the preferred format from the point of view of our Sign Shop.

Pictures should be inserted directly into the PowerPoint. Do not enlarge images after they have been inserted into PowerPoint. To adjust an image and retain proper proportion, hold the shift key on your keyboard, click, and drag the corners to scale.

Vector Format images such as charts from Excel will paste directly into PowerPoint. 


The title should occupy most of the width of the poster, with the main text broken into multiple columns, usually three or four, depending on the size of the poster. Left, Right, Center, Justify settings arrange the text within columns. I find that "Justify" defines the edges of the columns visually. You may use section headings within the columns. Always have someone review your text for grammar and spelling.


Use a common cross-platform font, so that your poster looks the same on Mac or Windows. 

Sans-serif fonts work best for posters, particularly for titles, subtitles and headers. You may need to adjust the font size depending on the font and the amount of text on your poster. For readability, do not use a font smaller than 18 points.

Other design software options

Although the Sign Shop templates are all in PowerPoint format, you might be more comfortable working in Adobe's Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign or any of the open source alternatives like Inkscape, the Gimp or Scribus.

For consistency, make sure all the headers are the same size, and use the same font size throughout for all body text.

If your text is coming from a different file (e.g., in a Word document), make sure to paste it into a text box in PowerPoint so it can be edited.

Suggested Font Sizes by Section

Title 72-120 pt.

Subtitle: 48-80 pt.

Section headers: 36-72 pt.

Body text: 24-48 pt.

File Formats The Sign Shop prefers that you submit in PowerPoint, but they will accept prints in AI, PDF and ID formats. I know from experience that they will also print from JPEG or PNG files

You might enjoy reading Colin Purrington’s opinions and ideas for poster design at Other options Create a poster with lots of images. minimal text and a catchy title based on research conclusions. Tag it with a QR code so that an interested party can download and read the detailed poster. Consider this for conferences