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Poster Presentations @ Pitt: Poster Making

This guide is designed to help those preparing a poster presentation for a course assignment or a research display


Find out in advance:

When do you need the final poster?

  • Work backwards from this date, allowing time for review, editing, checking the proof, and printing.

Does your poster need to be printed?

  • This is the more professional option, but in some venues, posting multiple 8 1/2 X 11 pages with your content may be acceptable.

When should you submit the poster to the printer?

  • How much turnaround time does the printer need?
  • Is everyone in a large class submitting at the same time?
  • Do you need to include time for printing a proof?

What kind of file or files are acceptable?

  • PowerPoint - comonly used and can be adjusted by the printer
  • pdf - can't be adjusted by printer but may make a better final print
  • Mac or pc?

How do you submit the file?

  • On a flashdrive?
  • Through DropBox software for a class?
  • E-mail?

What are the cost and payment method?

  • Cost per square foot or square inch?
  • Set up or other fees?
  • Color charges?
  • Who pays - you or the department?
  • Cash, check, credit, or research account number?



PowerPoint is commonly used for creating posters. It is available in the University Computing Labs and can be acquired by all Pitt students. You will create your poster on one PowerPoint slide. Be sure to set the proper dimensions at the beginning, since the program defaults to standard settings for a slide show.

Creating Graphics

A variety of software packages can be used for creating graphs, charts, and other graphics. Those listed below are available for University users either to acquire or to use in the computing labs. For more details and a complete list, check the Pitt software link below. (Note: the costs listed on these links are for students; check the faculty/staff page for those costs.)


Be sure to proofread your entire poster carefully before printing.

Check for:

  • spelling and grammar
  • correct authors' names and contact information
  • captions and labels
  • correct computations
  • correct citations
  • accurate facts
  • quality or resolution of images

Poster Printing

Check with your instructor or research advisor for any specific instructions they may have. There may be a preferred printer, or special arrangements may have been made for a class assignment.

Common printing options include:

  • Department printer - Your academic department may have poster printing capability. Check with them about availability, procedures, request forms, costs, etc.
  • CTL - The University Center for Teaching and Learning on the Oakland campus offers a poster printing service for a fee. It is available to students as well as faculty.
  • Copy Cat - Pitt's copy service centers on the Oakland campus can produce large-format posters for a fee, and they accept University account numbers.
  • Local commercial service

Printing a proof (or draft):

  • Identify problems in a poster before the final printing
  • Check whether this is included in the printing service
  • Some class assignments may skip the proof