Poster workshops will be offered before the SRS event in order to assist students in producing a masterful product that would be suitable for presentation at a professional conference within the student's discipline. The first event scheduled is a demonstration of different poster generating software options. The last two are workshops where there is discussion of successful poster designs. Although students may use any format that they wish as long as it meets the basic poster format requirements and can be converted to a PDF file, they are expected to produce a poster that is neat, easily read, and is effective in summarizing the student's research.

By attending one or more of the available workshops, a student can learn about the software and plotters used for making their poster, where to get posters laminated (if you choose to do so, which is recommended for single-sheet posters), and how to generate the final PDF version of their poster.

Workshop Dates, Times and Locations


A good way to learn about poster format/content that is appropriate for your discipline is to check web sites of professional societies.


SRS is like a professional conference in that your submitted work must be provided in a format that is easy to handle by the small group of people trying to get it to the reviewers and publishers. However, the path to getting your poster or paper into the required format (in this case PDF) can be a large part of the challenge in submitting your work.

Rather than trying to produce a general guide to the pros and cons of the conversion process, we are providing a set of instructions specific to various poster drafting choices on particular software platforms.

Please note that regardless of the drafting program and computer platform you choose, any program that generates PDF files expects that you are using an appropriate printer driver (i.e., your program thinks you are printing to a printer that can support the large poster size). If, for example, you intend to print your poster using the Department of Geology plotters, you should download the Hewlet Packard 800PS driver, install it on your machine, and choose it as the printer while you are editing your poster. If you choose a regular printer driver, with page size limited to 8.5 x 11, then your poster will never be saved to PDF at anything other than that size - no matter how large you may set the custom printer size to be.

Macintosh OS X (Powerpoint, Illustrator, Photoshop, Pages, etc.)

The ability to save files from any program into PDF format is built into the Macintosh operating system. So, if you are making your poster using any appropriate graphics program on the Mac, you should follow these steps:

  1. Under 'Page Setup' select an appropriate printer driver (for example, the HP 800 PS) and an appropriately large page size.

  2. When you are ready to print your poster, select 'Print' from the file menu and, when the dialog box opens, click on the button that says 'Save to PDF'

  3. You will be asked for the name of the file and given a choice of where to save the file. The PDF file that is produced is the digital version of your poster.

Deneba Canvas on either Macintosh or Windows

If you are using Canvas in either environment you must be aware that getting the correct page size set is a two-step process. After you choose the printer driver and page size in 'Page Setup' (as in the step above) you must then go to the Layout menu and choose 'Document Setup'. Select for the document to receive its layout from the Printer. Once you have done this the poster should appear in its correct orientation and size in your window.

Canvas, on either platform, can export a poster into PDF format. We recommend that if you are saving your poster on a Mac then you should use the method above rather than the export PDF choice. In Windows it is the only choice you have, unless you have installed other PDF generating software.

Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop in either Macintosh or Windows

Adobe products can save into PDF format on any platform.

Powerpoint in Windows

Since no version of the Windows operating system can save files in PDF format, and since Microsoft products do not save any files in PDF format, one must employ other solutions. Here are two options:

  1. Obtain commercial software for generating PDF files in Windows; Adobe Acrobat being the most versatile and most expensive. There are also other free, shareware and commercial packages for doing this. In any case, you must follow the instructions with that software for installing and using it on your particular Windows OS platform. You will still need to download a large format printer driver, such as that for the HP 800PS.

  2. Open your Powerpoint poster on a Macintosh Computer with Powerpoint and OsX. Once opened you may need to make a few changes, since different font metrics may cause items to shift in the newly opened version. Then generate the PDF file on the Macintosh as described above for any program.

Publisher in Windows

Printing a poster made in Publisher results in the same set of problems as those described for Powerpoint. However, since there is no Macintosh version of Publisher, your only choice is option 1 in the Powerpoint discussion.


Participation in the Symposium will offer students practical experience in giving presentations in a professional but relaxed setting. It will also be a fun social event where students can learn about research happening in other departments. There will also be live entertainment, free food, and awards.



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