Feb 28, 2012

How to Setup Your Poster Size Correctly (PowerPoint)

One of the most common issues that we have encountered when printing posters for our customers is the incorrect page size specified in their PDF files.  For example, a customer wanted to print a 36" x 56" poster, but the PDF file that he sent to us only had a page size of 7.5" x 12".  Enlarging a 7.5" x 12" page into a 36" x 56" poster likely would generate a poster that does not have enough resolution for quality viewing.

Since the page size problem of a PDF file is most likely caused by the incorrect slide size set in a PowerPoint file, which is later used to generate the PDF file, in this post we want to talk about the slide size setting of a PowerPoint file.

When you create a poster in PowerPoint, you are essentially creating one big "slide" that is your poster.  The default slide size of a new PowerPoint presentation is 7.5" x 10".  As mentioned previously, the page size of 7.5" x 10" cannot be printed into a good quality poster.  Therefore, you have to set the slide size to the desired size of your poster.  

How to set the slide size?  IMPORTANT   Follow these steps only before you add content to your slide. If you change the slide size or orientation after you add content, the content may be rescaled.

For PowerPoint 2007 or PowerPoint 2010:

  1. On the Design tab, in the Page Setup group, click Page Setup.
  2. In the Slides sized for list, select Custom.  Type or select the measurements that you want in the Width and Height boxes.
  1. To set the page orientation for the slides, under Orientation, under Slides, click Landscape or Portrait.

For PowerPoint 2003:

  1. Pull down the File menu and clikc Page Setup.
  2. Select Custom as the slide format from the Slides sized for list. Type the measurements you want in the Width and Height boxes.
  3. To set the page orientation for the slides, under Orientation, under Slides, click Landscape or Portrait.

One final note on this topic.  Although PowerPoint limits your slide size to 56" in width or height, it is possible to make a poster longer than 56" by reducing the size of the original slide.  For example, if you need a 36" x 60" poster, make the poster one-half that size, i.e. 18" x 30".  Engineers at PosterSmith.com can then scale the reduced-size poster and print it to the correct size.  

One thing to keep in mind with this method is that you have to consider the possible resolution loss of the images that are placed in the slide when the page size is scaled up.


  1. How can I increase the width of the poster beyond 56 inches, it doesn't let me do that.

  2. Since the software has a limitation of 56" in width, if you need to design a poster with width that goes beyond 56", you have to proportionally scale down your page size so that the longer side is not larger than 56". Later when you submit your poster file to us, we will scale it up to the size that you want and print it to a poster accordingly. Please feel free to contact us at support@postersmith.com. Our staffs are more than willing to provide more information or assistance for you.

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