Create and Print a Poster

Click here to access a poster on Creating Academic Posters with lots of useful tips!

Printing Services

  1. Printing Services prints posters for faculty or students who want to present their research findings.  If you have any questions about the process, you can contact OCTET at 775-8345 or octet@oberlin.edu
  2. Posters will be printed on an as needed basis. Please submit the poster at least 5 business days prior to the date it is needed. If you have a more immediate need (ie. you need the poster in less than 5 days), please contact Printing Services directly at x58423 to check printing availability.
  3. To get your poster printed, email it to Wendy Brill at printing@oberlin.edu
  4. Please provide the following information in your correspondence:
    • your name,
    • phone # or email where you can be reached,
    • the operating system you used (Windows or Mac),
    • the final poster size (not the file size!) example: 42″ (height) X 60 ” (width),
    • the account # and Department to be charged (Posters will not be printed without an account number).
    • If it is too large to email (larger than 20 MB), call/send an email to Printing Services saying you would like to print a poster, but that the file is too large. Someone will contact you to determine the best manner to get access to the file.
  5. Upon completion of the print job, Printing Services will contact you. To pick up the poster, go to Printing Services, which is located in the lower level of the Service Building behind MUDD Learning Center.
  6. COST:  Posters are printed on glossy photo paper. You will be charged by the linear foot and this price includes the cost of the paper, the cost of the ink and assists with the maintenance of the printer. 

paper = $0.66/inch of paper used (not poster size)    +   $2.60 trimming/processing charge for each poster (this is charged even if the poster needs no trimming.

If you would like to have your poster put on poster board, there is an additional cost of approximately $12.00 (this requires 5 days advanced notice).  In most cases you will not want to do this because it makes transporting the poster difficult and most venues will have a place for you to tack up a paper poster.
Oberlin College Media Center Associates (ocmc@oberlin.edu)

  • If you need a poster but Printing Services is closed/will take too long, large format printing is offered during drop-in hours at the Media Center (located on the first floor of Mudd in the back right corner lab).  Our media associates can help you design and print posters during their drop in hours, Sunday through Thursday from 7-10 pm.  The printer has two differently sized rolls of paper, 17 inch and 42 inch.
  • Prices:         $0.40 / inch for 17 inch width                  $1.00 / inch for 42 inch width

Creating a Poster

Creating a poster can be tricky but with the right tools and knowledge you too can create great posters.

  1. The first issue to resolve is what program to use. The safest mechanism is to create a one-slide PowerPoint. If you are tech savvy, you may know other programs such as Indesign that are designed for creating elegant posters. The program you use to create the poster is your choice, as long as it can be converted to a PDF. Any file type that can be converted to PDF is acceptable.
  2. Using PowerPoint to create posters. Most computers on campus typically have Microsoft Office programs installed. Since faculty and students have access to computers on campus, we have provided several templates that you can use in PowerPoint to create your poster.
  3. The templates listed to the right vary in size.  Choose one and begin adding your content.  Using the template will be the easiest way to create a poster. See the section, “Using the templates..” for further instructions.
  4. If these dimensions are not close to what you need, see the section “Step by Step Instructions for creating a Poster in PowerPoint from a blank presentation (not the template).
  5. If you need assistance with the poster templates, or if you need help with creating a PDF, please contact OCTET (775-8345 or octet@oberlin.edu). During the semester you can use the Student Media Associates found in the back right corner of the Academic Commons.
  6. Be sure your poster is exactly how you want it before you send it to be printed. No changes will be made to the file and it will be printed AS IS.

Step by Step Instructions for creating a Poster in PowerPoint from a blank presentation (not the template)

  1. Open PowerPoint on your computer.
  2. In PowerPoint create 1 slide. Use the Blank template.
  3. Change the dimensions of the slide to fit your display space by going to File>>Page Setup
  4. Windows:  in the Page Setup window select “Custom”in the drop-down box, set the width and height of your poster and select Landscape or Portrait (slide orientation). Then click OK.
  5. MAC:  in the Page Setup window type in the size of the poster. On the MAC, once you click the OK button, you will be prompted with the message:  “The current page size exceeds the printable area of the paper in the printer.  Click Fix to automatically fit the page to the paper.  Click Cancel to return to the Page Setup dialog box.  Click OK to continue with the current page size.”  CLICK OK and continue with the current page size, otherwise your page settings will revert to the default page size.
  6. MAXIMUM size in one direction (either width or height)= 42 inches.   NOTE: If you want to create a poster 48 inches wide (or larger) in PPT, create it at half the final poster size. For instance, if you want the poster to be 42″ x 60″, you should set the height and width to 21″ x 30″ and create your poster. We can double this size to get the final required print size as we print the the poster. Just make sure you tell us the final size needed!
  7. Begin to design the poster. You may want to create a basic format before adding text and images.  Most posters contain a title block that includes the title of the project and names/schools of the principal investigators.  This header may also include a school/grant logo.  The format could also include individual boxes for abstracts, methods, results, references, acknowledgment, etc–the exact format will be determined by your project.
  8. Add the necessary text boxes. Each box will contain a particular piece of information.  Be sure that you make the boxes the approximate size that you would like for that information.  You can include the title for each section in separate boxes above each section or as the first line in each section.  To add boxes, go to the Insert menu and select Text Box.  Click and drag to create a box and then start typing.
  9. Add images/graphs. Be sure to use images with the highest resolution possible.  Do not Copy/Paste images into PPT.  Instead, always use the Insert Menu (Insert>>Picture>>from file) found in the main PPT tool bar as this will save you from having problems during the printing process.  You may have to format the images/graphs so that they will appear as you want them to appear in the poster.  After you have inserted them onto the slide, you can move the image to the location and then edit the text accordingly.  You can also edit the image.  To do this, right-click (Windows) or CTRL-click (MAC) over the image to get a menu and then select “Format Picture”.
  10. Once all of the text and images are in place, if you have not considered the color scheme, then it is time to do so.  Remember that a dark colored background will use much more ink and be potentially less legible then a white background. You can format the background of the slide (Format>>Slide Background), the text boxes (right-click over the text box and from the menu select “format autoshape/textbox”), and/or the text (Format>>Font).  Once you have  settled on a color scheme, you should be ready for printing.
  11. Be sure to save the project frequently.
  12. Email Wendy Brill (775-8423/printing.services@oberlin.edu) to get it printed or call/email OCTET with any questions.

NOTE: Fonts can be rather tricky. If you use a particularly non-standard font it may not be displayed correctly on the machine used to print your poster.

Creating a PDF

*MAC users: You can create the PDF in whatever program you would like to use. To save the file as a PDF, first you will need to set the custom page size for the printer.  Since you are printing to PDF, you need to create a print size that the printer software understands.  To do this, go to File>>Page Setup>>click Options.  For paper size, select “Manage Custom Sizes”.  This will open a new dialog box that will allow you to create a custom size for printing.  Click the + sign in the lower left corner to add a new size.  A new size will appear in the list called “Untitled.”  Be sure to double-click on this and give it a name that you will recognize.  Then, in the boxes on the right, be sure to type in the size for your poster (be sure that you have the width/height in the right places, otherwise the PDF will look funny and you’ll have to come back here to switch them around).  Once you’ve entered the information, click “OK” to return to the previous page setup dialog box.  Under the Paper Size, you should find the custom size you created listed (what did call it?  Look for the name in the drop-down menu).  Once you’ve found it, be sure it is highlighted, and then click.  Then check the orientation of the paper and select the middle option.  Click OK.  Then click OK again to return to the main screen.  Now you are ready to print the PPT to PDF.  Go to File>>Print>> click the PDF button >> Save as PDF. Give it a name and a location where you would like to save it on your computer.
*WINDOWS users: You can only create a PDF if you have Adobe Acrobat Std or Professional. OCTET is currently researching the best way to help users to create PDFs. There are many freeware converters, but we would like to make sure that they work before suggesting their use. STAY TUNED!
If you need help with creating a PDF, please contact the OCTET office (775-8345/octet@oberlin.edu) at the OCTET office.

Issues Encountered in the Printing Process:

  • Special fonts aren’t recognized: avoid using specialized fonts.
  • Special software not installed on computer that will be printing poster: avoid using specialized software.
  • Images used as backgrounds: avoid using background images–they become pixelated and can cause print issues.
  • Images saved using print screen or screen capture: avoid directly inputting pics into slides.  Save them first as a jpg or png and then insert them into the slide.
  • Semi-transparent text boxes (if you try to make background image appear through text boxes).
  • Saving file as an image (reduces quality of the printed poster).
  • Page width above 50 inches: do not create PPT slides 50 inches or wider–the printer will not print them.  Instead create half size slides so that they can be easily doubled.
  • Both page dimensions above 42 inches: the printer can only printer a maximum of 42 inches in one dimension (usually height).
Science Center Corridor Displays

42 in. high X 48 in wide
42 in. high X 56 in wide
42 in. high X 72 in wide

If you need assistance with the poster templates, or if you need help with creating a PDF, please contact OCTET at 775-8345/octet@oberlin.edu.
Official College Logos
If you need official logos, please contact the Office of Communications

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