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Poster printing at the Bollinger Digital Fabrication Lab, Biotech Commons: Virtual posters

3 ways to present your poster online

By default, posters are large-format publications of research.  Now that conferences take place virtually, presenting a poster that was designed to be printed on several square feet of paper on a small screen is challenging.  

If the conference requires only an uploaded file of your poster, a regular poster template will still meet those needs.  If, however, the conference requires a live or recorded presentation of your poster, you need to be able to zoom-in in order for the various sections of your poster in order for attendees to be able to read all sections of the poster. 

Below you will find instructions on how to present your poster online.  Before you begin creating your poster, please remember to check the conference requirements as they tend to vary greatly! 

Using Adobe Acrobat

  • Pros:
    • simple, fast, safe option
    • can use existing Ppt poster templates
    • can be printed without modifications
  • Cons:
    • looks a bit choppy


  1. Save your poster as PDF
  2. Open in Adobe Acrobat
  3. Press Ctrl + L to enter full screen
  4. Zoom into a section with Ctrl + +
  5. Use the arrow keys to move around
    Tip: use SHIFT + arrow keys for faster scrolling

Using PowerPoint Slide show

  • Pros:
    • simple, fast, safe option
    • can use existing Ppt poster templates
  • Cons:
    • there is a limit to how much you can zoom-in - may not be enough to see small print or complex graphs


  • In Slide Show mode, hold down the CTRL key while scrolling up or down
  • If using a touchpad, hold down CTRL while placing two fingers on the touchpad and pinching in or stretching out

Using PowerPoint's Zoom feature

  • Pros: 
    • looks professional
    • easy to update
  • Cons:
    • more work: cannot use existing poster templates
    • layout limitations (cannot change size of individual slides)
    • when saved as PDF some pixelation occurs as sections are pasted as images on the summary slide
    • not good for printing
    • only available through Office365 subscription


  1. In PowerPoint, create one slide for each poster section (Methods, Results, etc)
    Consider using the Master Slide to create uniform styles across slides
  2. Click on any slide thumbnail on the left panel and then INSERT --> Zoom --> Summary Zoom

  3. Select all the slides and INSERT.  Ppt will add a new slide at the top with all your slides as thumbnails
  4. When clicking on the thumbnails a new menu appears for ZOOM.  Use it to add borders to the thumbnails, control the navigation, etc. 

  5. On the summary slide, modify the title box as your poster title (extend it to the whole slide, add a fill color, a logo, etc)
    You may also extend the frame for the thumbnails to take up the whole slide and move / resize the thumbnails to taste
  6. Test in slide show mode and make necessary modifications
    Note: you may still save your poster as PDF if the conference requires so.  When saving, click on OPTIONS and select "current slide" in order to save just the summary slide

Head, Digital Media and Virtual Services

Recording your poster presentation

Some conferences require uploading a recording of the poster presentation.  This is an excellent document with instructions on how to record your presentation using Zoom, PowerPoint, or iPhone. 

More on Zoom for PowerPoint