Presentation tips for poster presenters


An effective poster is self-contained and self-explanatory. Viewers can proceed on their own while leaving the author free to discuss points raised in inquiry.

The poster session offers a more intimate forum for discussion than a slide-based presentation, but discussion becomes difficult if the author must explain the poster to a succession of viewers. Time spent at a poster presentation is determined by the viewer, not the author.

An effective poster balances figures and texts and is not a page-by-page printout of a journal paper or a slide show.

Poster Board Organization

Consider organizing illustrations and text using a grid plan. Arrange materials in columns rather than rows – this format is easier for viewers to read. Place the most significant findings at eye level immediately below the title bar; place supporting data and/or text in the lower panels.

For conventional multi-panel posters, form two columns using poster elements printed on white paper with suitable spacing or borders.

The increasing availability of wide inkjet printers and page-layout software permits economical production of effective and attractive posters on a single sheet that is easily transported to the meeting in a poster tube. Avoid reflective, plastic-coated paper.




Prepare a banner for the top of the poster indicating the abstract title, author(s), affiliation(s), and the presentation number. Use lettering at least one-inch high.


Design figures for viewing from a distance and use clear, visible graphics and large type. Colors are effective if used sparingly; use dark colors on white or pale backgrounds and light colors on dark backgrounds. Figures should illustrate no more than one or two major points. However, simple figures are unnecessary. Make clear main points, but include detail for the aficionado. Indicate illustration sequences with numbers or letters at least one inch high. (Omit “Fig.” or “Figure” – this is unnecessary and occupies excess space).


Each figure or table should have a heading of one or two lines in very large type stating the “take-home” message. Provide additional essential information below in a legend set in 16 point or larger type.

Minimize narrative. Integrate text that would normally appear in the body (Results and Discussion) of a manuscript in figure legends. Concisely describe not only the content of the figure, but also the derived conclusions. Place brief details of methodology at the end of each legend.

Use large type in short, separated paragraphs with unjustified (ragged right) margins. Numbered or bulleted lists are effective ways to convey a series of points. Do not set entire paragraphs in uppercase (all capitals) or boldface type.

Place an introduction at the upper left and a conclusion at the lower right, both in large type. It is rarely necessary to post a copy of the abstract.

A good test for your text size is to print your poster out in US Letter or A4 format and hold it at arms length. If you cannot read some of the text — visitors at your poster will also not be able to read some of the text.


Presenting authors are required at the board during the assigned presentation session authors can elect to be earlier and/or stay longer. Presenters should post a message on their board if they are absent for an extended period of time during their assigned presentation session.

(source of this text: Society for Neuroscience)

Specific instructions about the current poster session can be found here.