Creating a Conference Poster


PowerPoint is available on all campus computers and is easy to work with. There are also many PowerPoint poster templates available online to help you get started.

Other programs you may choose to use include InDesign (available on campus computers) and LaTeX.

Poster Design

  • Poster size: Before getting started, confirm poster size requirements with conference organizers and set this up in whatever software you are using.
    • In PowerPoint 2013 & 2016: set up the poster size by going to the Design tab >> Slide Size >> Custom Slide Size.
    • In PowerPoint 2010: go to the Design tab>> Page Setup.   
  • Section headings and content: Research posters typically organize information under the following headings:
    • Introduction: Briefly explain the topic of your poster and any research questions or hypotheses that guided the work that you are presenting.
    • Methods: Provide an overview of any research methods utilized to carry out your work, as well as why those methods were chosen.
    • Results: Provide a summary of your results or findings and an analysis of how these findings help answer your research question, or prove or disprove your hypothesis.
    • Conclusions: Summarize the content of your poster and discuss why your work is significant or interesting. Make sure to also include areas for suggested future research based upon your findings and that of related work in your field of study.
    • References: Provide complete citations for any sources you reference in the text of your poster.
    • Acknowledgements: Include a section at the end of your poster acknowledging any external partner agencies or individuals that contributed to your work.
  • Text: Do not make your poster too text-heavy; you want others to quickly grasp what your work is about to then discuss it with you in more detail. Break content up into short bulleted lists wherever possible to help with this. The following font sizes are generally recommended:
    • Text size: 24-36 point.
    • Section and sub-headings: larger (e.g. 48 point).
    • Captions and labels: smaller (e.g. 22 point).
  • Visuals: Use the following to attract people to your poster and quickly communicate what your research is about:
    • Photographs:
      • Use high resolution images (300 dpi).
      • Avoid using web captures—these tend to turn out blurry when printed.
      • Put a thin outline around photos so they stand out from the background.
      • Include a caption beneath photos to explain them.
      • Always cite the source of photos where you are not the copyright holder of that work.
    • Colour and headings: Use these elements to effectively highlight and organize information.
    • Tables and charts:
      • Ensure tables and charts match your colour scheme.
      • Give tables and charts a title.
      • Always include a caption beneath the table or chart explaining the content.


Before printing your poster:

  • Proofread for grammatical and spelling errors.
  • View it full screen to help ensure that text and visuals are clear and easy to see from a distance.
  • Save the file in whatever format the printer you are using requires; most require that you save your file as a PDF before sending.

Before you Present

  • Prepare an “elevator speech”: Jot down 2-3 sentences that clearly and concisely summarize what your poster is about and why it is important. Practice your speech before the session so that you will be prepared when people come by to learn about your work. Remember to avoid technical jargon, and show enthusiasm!
  • Print copies: Make a few copies of your poster to give out as handouts to anyone interested in your work. Include your contact information in case they want to follow up with you.

Note: Your work may qualify for inclusion in MacEwan's institutional repository, Research Online at MacEwan (RO@M). Send a copy of your poster along with the name and date of the conference where it was presented and the names of any faculty members who advised the work to for consideration.