Making a Poster

What is an academic research poster?

Much like an abstract, an academic poster is a summary of your research project, with the very important difference that the poster should be visually engaging as well as academically sound. Descriptive text must be brief—this  is the opportunity to highlight your methods and results as well as give the context of your research. 

How do I prepare an academic research poster presentation?

Your poster should include all of the pertinent information about your project you describe in your abstract but with more detail and with eye-catching examples, including charts, tables, figures, footnotes, references and other supporting information.


Most people choose to work with PowerPoint (.ppt) files scaled to the size specified by the large-format printer. Portable Document Format (.pdf) and Joint Photographic Experts Group (.jpeg) files are also acceptable.

How to make a poster via PowerPoint 

Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee our ability to accommodate files formatted for Macintosh systems. If your files are for a Mac, we suggest converting them to a high resolution .pdf file when utilizing the Office of Undergraduate Research printing services. We may be able to assist you with converting Mac files to print your poster, but please allow extra time to explore this possibility when scheduling your printing appointment.

Printing Preparation

  • Change the size of your slide to poster dimensions by selecting Page Setup from the File menu. Choose dimensions according to the specific large format printer to which you will be printing. If you plan to use the OUR for printing services, please note that OUR posters must be sized 34 inches X 44 inches (landscape or portrait orientation are both acceptable). If you are NOT printing in the OUR, make sure to check the dimensions required for the location where you are printing.
  • Use high resolution photos and graphics whenever possible. A photo or graphic that looks clear on a standard (8.5 inches by 11 inches) page may look grainy or pixilated when enlarged for a poster. To correct this problem and avoid associated costs for multiple prints, examine your file carefully using Print Preview options AFTER increasing the dimensions of your page to poster size. If the quality is poor in Print Preview, replace those components of your poster with higher resolution elements.
  • Before printing, double and triple check your file for errors such as spelling mistakes or overlapping images.
  • Save your file on a USB portable data storage device to bring to your printing appointment.

Poster Presentation

Finally, along with your poster, you should prepare a two-minute presentation of your poster that you will be able to deliver to anyone viewing your poster at the symposium. Even though you will be standing with your poster to discuss your research with viewers, the poster should be able to stand on its own with a clear, logical presentation of your research.

Printing Services

OUR Printing Services

The Office of Undergraduate Research offers printing for student research posters. Printing services at the OUR are available by appointment only, and scheduled printing hours are Tuesday and Thursdays from 2:30 - 4:30 p.m. To make an appointment, please contact us with your availability during our scheduled hours.

The OUR does not print posters the week of the Undergraduate Research Symposium, so please plan ahead and book your appointment early; we do not accept poster files via email.

At the time of your appointment:

  • Please deliver your file on a USB portable data storage device at your scheduled appointment time. Please note that OUR posters must be sized 34 inches X 44 inches (landscape or portrait orientation are both acceptable). If you are NOT printing in the OUR, make sure to check the dimensions required for the location where you are printing).
  • Poster printing appointments can take anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes if there are no complications. Your poster will NOT be printed during this time. Unless otherwise noted, plan to retrieve your printed poster from the Office of Undergraduate Research during business hours of 9 a.m.-5 p.m., approximately 48 hours after your scheduled appointment.
  • There is no charge for posters printed in the Office of Undergraduate Research for the Undergraduate Research Symposium. For other purposes, the Office of Undergraduate Research charges $20 per poster.

Other On-Campus Printing Options

Please find below a list of additional printing sources both on and off campus. It is not an exclusive list, so if you have other printing sources that could be added, please contact us. (If you are NOT printing in the OUR, please check the dimensions required for the location you are printing.)

Data Services at Olin Library
Detailed information including pricing and how to make an appointment is available on the Olin Library Website.

Contact: Jim Clancy: 314-935-4219

Contact: (Klaus) Mike Malolepszy: 314-935-4262

Engineering IT
Help Center, Lopata Hall Room 408

McMillen Chem Labs, Room 427

Mallinckrodt Center (in the Bookstore)

See below for off-campus printing services

Off-Campus Printing

Still have questions?

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