Large Format Hints & Tips

Preparing a Poster

Whether A0 or smaller, we suggest you keep fonts to the basics that are supplied with Microsoft programmes. This will avoid any mishaps of letters missing or changed because of font substitution or lack of recognition as with some symbol fonts. Please do not let this scare you off, we have had this only a couple of times out of the hundreds of posters we have printed.

PowerPoint is the easiest programme to create a poster but we are capable of handling files created on Publisher, all Photoshop files, ie jpeg, tiff or psd and readable PDF files. Microsoft Word is not recommended for creating posters which have to be printed larger than A3.

The page setup, preferably, should be set to the size you want to print, to ensure no loss of quality. The table below gives the dimensions of various common paper sizes: -





84.1 x 118.9

33.11 x 46.81


59.4 x 84.1

23.41 x 33.11


42.0 x 59.4

16.55 x 23.41


29.7 x 42.0

11.69 x 16.55

Images can be scanned in any format or imported from computer files. Images need to be of a high resolution (at least 300dpi) for proper reproduction. Web images are not suitable, as they appear pixelated when magnified. This also happens with photographic backgrounds in PowerPoint.

PowerPoint is primarily a screen presentation program and errors can occur in reproduction, eg Data shifting around, colours not printing properly or scientific symbols misprinting. We do a visual check for errors and will contact you before printing, should any appear.

If you prepare your poster in PowerPoint, then graphs/tables from other programs should be saved as images and pasted into PowerPoint. Images and text should be placed in using the "paste special" command rather than "paste".

Avoiding problems

  • Always take care when producing large scale documents. Mistakes can be costly and minor faults will show up dramatically.
  • Be careful when placing logos or images onto posters. Normally small images that are increased in size will degrade in quality.
  • Backgrounds should be inserted through 'insert...picture' then 'sent to back' and resized, rather than placed as a 'background' where it can appear blurred, as the original resolution is not retained.
  • For alignment purposes, it is best to keep the number of text boxes to a minimum. The fewer text boxes there are to line up, the easier it will be.
  • Do not use dark backgrounds if at all possible. Often it makes text hard to see as well as making the poster longer to dry. Black background should never be used - the paper becomes saturated. A 15% extra charge is levied on all dark posters.
  • Try to avoid using too many different fonts and font colours. AVOID red text on a blue background.
  • Ensure that the text is big enough to read; it should never go below 8pt and this is only for subtext. Sometimes adding a shadow can make text stand out better when against conflicting background colours.

Submit files by email to

For additional assistance, DIT provide workshops for students and staff

Why not attend one of the DIT Training & Documentation (TaD) Team’s Creating posters using PowerPoint workshops.

PowerPoint is an effective tool for creating large format research posters. During this hands-on, tutor led workshop, you’ll learn how to:

  • use guides and grids to help align text blocks and images
  • set up poster size
  • manage backgrounds
  • insert text from Word and work with text boxes
  • insert charts from Excel
  • insert images

The tutors will also give you general design advice on layout, fonts and font size, and use of colour and visuals to help ensure your poster creates a lasting impression.

The TaD Team run regular workshops throughout the year. See for forthcoming dates and to submit a booking request, or contact