creating effective poster presentations using powerpoint

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Creating Effective Poster Presentations Using PowerPoint. Helene Hoffman PhD Assistant Dean, Educational Computing Adjunct Professor of Medicine UCSD School of Medicine. Covered in this Workshop. Concepts Visual guidelines White space & balance Readability Color guidelines - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • Creating Effective Poster Presentations Using PowerPoint

    Helene Hoffman PhDAssistant Dean, Educational ComputingAdjunct Professor of MedicineUCSD School of Medicine

  • Covered in this WorkshopConcepts Visual guidelinesWhite space & balanceReadabilityColor guidelinesQuality controlMethodsCustom page set-upAdding text & graphicsLayouts - from rough to refinedColor schemesPrintingBig PostersSelf-assessment

  • Preparation


  • Goals of An Effective Poster Communicates visuallyServes as an illustrated abstract Aesthetically pleasingAttracts & holds attentionMakes it easy for readersInitiates discussionIs concise & organizedFocuses on a single clear messageSuccessfully presents scientific / technical informationIs not a journal articleStands alone if /when youre not there

  • Know Poster Session RulesSize of poster Size of title or text Display environmentLength of poster session Need for author to stay with poster Other AV materials or computer allowed

  • Old Fashioned Approach Multiple Pages Mounted on Single Poster BoardPages mounted on poster board Page matted with contrasting color, then mounted on poster board

  • Modern Approach Single Panel in PowerPoint

  • Construction

    PlanPage Set-UpTitle, Author & Institutional AffiliationBody Text & Graphic ElementsRough LayoutRefinementColor Scheme

  • Develop a PlanDraft /edit text portions Use plain languagePare down blocks of text 10 sentencesCreate subheadingsUse phrases & bulleted listsSave text ~ font for poster (e.g., Arial 24)Collect images, graphs, etc.Create a storyboardSketch poster on sheet of paperOrganize elements top bottomleft right

    3 x 5

  • Page Set-UpOpen File > New PresentationFormat > Slide Layout > Title onlyOpen File > Page Set UpSlide Sized for: CustomWidth 48 and Height 36Orientation (Slide) LandscapeClick OK

    Note: You may get message current page exceeds printable area of paper in printer. Say OK & ignore warning. You will not be printing full size on your desktop printer.Under Tools > Auto Correct Options Select the second Tab AutoFormat As You TypeDe-select everything under Apply as you type & Apply as you work

  • Title, Author & AffiliationTitleClick in Title Placeholder & type (or cut / paste) Title Select title text & change font size to ~70-90 ptsPractice Poster Title = Arial Black size 80

    Author / AffiliationClick in Title Placeholder Type (or cut & paste) authors / institutional affiliation Select text & change font smaller than Title Practice Poster Authors = Arial size 48 Practice Poster Institution = Arial size 36

    Note: You can usually expand the width of the Title text box if you are not going to add a logo.

  • Insert > Text BoxesEither cut/paste text from document Set magnification so as to view entire posterUse the fit option in the Zoom ToolIf not already done, select text & change fontPractice Poster Authors = Arial size 24Or type directly into Text BoxSet magnification to view one text box onlyUse 100% or greater in the Zoom ToolSelect text & change fontPractice Poster Authors = Arial size 24View entire poster for perspectiveUse the fit option in the Zoom Tool

  • Insert > ImagesAs needed use PowerPoint image manipulation tools RepositionResizeApproximatePrecise methodRotateCropUse images 300 dpiBe careful with images from internet or captured from screenIf needed, add a thin grey or black border

    Note: also consider figures, tables, graphs and/or drawings

  • Establish Rough LayoutReview placement of text & graphic elementsTry to achieve balance of content & presentation~ 40-50 % text 30-40 % graphics 20 % white spaceTo move text objects: Click on Text Box or ImageCursor changes to handDrag to new positionRemember to Save your work.... frequently

  • Refine Text & LayoutEdit text & pare down large text blocksTo view one text box only use 100% in the Zoom ToolTo view entire poster use the fit option in the Zoom ToolJustify textStandardize column widthCreate section headers (& subheaders)Align column bordersCreating Groups out of column elements will helpDistribute columns across pageAdd logo & footer (if necessary)

  • Things to Consider: Be Visual Keep text presentation neat & uncluttered Limit text to ~ 1000 words Text boxes should be ~ 11 - 15 words wideIndent to set text apart or to make short listsLeft justify to make it easier to readUse line spacing & paragraph spacing to balance textGraphics communicate concepts quicklyGraphs should be viewable from 4 - 6Label within graphs or charts (rather than keys) Add titlesY-axis labels aligned horizontally are easier to readAvoid colored backgrounds, gridlines, etc.

  • Things to Consider: Maintain BalanceReview text & graphics placementConsider the proportion~ 40-50 % text 30-40 % graphics 20 % white spaceBalance margins & white spaceSides & top margins ~ 1.5- 2Bottom margin slightly bigger > good visual baseAvoid crowding contentIf it doesnt help tell the story, dont use it!Less is more Keep it Simple A picture is worth 1000 words

  • Things to Consider: Ensure Text is ReadableTry a typeface familye.g., Arial Black, Arial, Arial NarrowEmphasisUse bold, italics, or colorTake care with underline, it now denotes a linkAvoid script fonts & ALL CAPS

    SuggestionsTitleAuthorsInstitutionText BodyFinished height1.5 - 21 - 1.5.5 - .75.2 -.3Readable from2515104 - 8Font size (@100%)60 - 90 pt.70 - 84 pt.36 - 48 pt.20 - 30 pt.

  • Add ColorFormat > Slide BackgroundSelect colorKeep contrast high between text & backgroundComplement poster content & imagesLight backgrounds work well with dark photos & graphicDark backgrounds for light photos & graphicsCreate section headersInsert > Text BoxFormat AutoShape > Colors & LinesTry a semi-transparent layer under textAdd AutoShape & change color /transparency using Format AutoShapeMove shape behind Text using Draw > Order > Send to Back

  • Things to Consider: Color SchemeStick to a theme of 2-3 colors, no moreAvoid stark white backgroundIntense colors are only good as borders or emphasisFluorescent lighting may intensify / alter bright colorsIf you select an image as backgroundUse subtle image or text wont be readableAdd semi-transparent layer between image & textSee method on previous slide

  • Wrap Up

    Quality controlPrinting60 second self-assessmentBig Posters

  • Ensure Quality ControlPrint a small version for feedbackUse the Scale to Fit option in your printing dialog boxIf you cant read on 8.5 x 11 page, the text is probably too smallHave a colleague proof all aspects of posterMake corrections or additionsRedo areas that are unclearEdit ruthlesslyTypically too much text on postersSentences > phrases or listsIf it is not relevant to your message, remove it!Save & back-up your work

  • PrintingUse professional large format printing serviceUCSD IMPRINTS (x 4-3020) or KINKOS (858-459- 3043)Expect ~ 48 hr turnaround Ask if print proof is possibleSpecify final dimensions of poster (e.g., 36 x 48)Price depends on optionsColor vs. b/wPaper stockSizeLamination MountingCost of color print (not laminated) $5.75 - $9.75 / ft2

  • Evaluate - Using 60 Sec EvalOverall appearanceWhite spaceText / graphic balanceText sizeOrganization & flowAuthor identificationResearch objectiveMain pointsSummary

    * See last sheet of handout for the evaluation form.

  • Making Big PostersPowerPoint limitationsCustom page sizes up to 56 x 56Posters > 56 x 56 must be constructed at 50% of final sizeTo create a poster 5 x 3 (60 x 36) Make a Custom slide at 30 x 18Font sizes : ~ 50% normal Fonts will be normal size when page printed at 2xPowerPoint scales text without loss of crispnessGraphics: 300 dpi To print a poster 5 x 3 (60 x 36) Specify print size = 60 x 36Reiterate the poster to be printed at 2x the page size

  • Questionshhoffman@ucsd.eduOffice of Educational Computing265 MTF858.534.5506

    Focused on a single message.Lets graphs and images tell the story; uses text sparingly.Keeps the sequence well-ordered and obvious.A Poster Uses Visual GrammarA poster is not just a standard research paper stuck to a board.An effective poster uses a different, visual grammar.It shows, not tells. It expresses your points in graphical terms.It avoids visual chaos, with many jagged edges or various-sized boards that distract the viewer. Instead, it guides the viewer by using a visual logic, with an hierarchical structure that emphasizes the main points.All elements, even the figure legends, are visible from 4 feet away.It displays the essential content - the messages - in the title, main headings and graphics. It indicates the relative importance of elements graphically: each main point is stated in large type-face headings; details are subordinated visually, using smaller type-face. The main headings explain the points, rather than merely stating "results" and letting the viewer hunt for - or even worse, invent - the message.Since a poster is essentially a visual presentation, try to find ways to show what was done - use schematic diagrams, arrows, and other strategies to direct the visual attention of the viewer, rather than explaining it all using text alone.

    Design the poster to address one central question. State the question clearly in the poster, then use your discussion time with individuals to expand or expound upon issues surrounding that central theme.Provide an explicit take-home message.Summarize implications and conclusions briefly, and in user-friendly language.Give credit w


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