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Canva for Academic Presentations and Posters: Creating a Scientific Poster with Canva

This guide provides an overview of using Canva, a web-based graphic design program, to create scientific and academic presentations and posters.

Using Canva to Create a Scientific Poster

Canva is an excellent option for creating posters for presenting scientific research. To create a poster:

  1. Log into Canva ( See the "Getting Started" tab for information on setting up an account.
  2. Click Create a Design.
  3. In the search bar, type "poster." Select the size you need. Keep in mind that landscape (where the width is greater than the height) is better for posters that will be viewed online.
  4. If you need to, you can resize your poster by clicking the Resize button in the upper left. (NOTE: if you are presenting your poster at a conference, check the required dimensions before starting your project.).
  5. Use a design template (by browsing through them using the search button) OR start with a blank design.
  6. If you have a lot of charts and graphs, you might want to start with a blank design.
  7. Add text, elements, and graphics. Drag them around to arrange them on the poster. As you drag items around, the system shows gridlines to help you align elements. 
  8. Keep in mind that the size of your poster will be much bigger than your screen. Slide the percentage bar at the bottom right to 100% to zoom into full size. The text should be large enough to read from 5 feet away.
  9. You can print your poster through Canva, or download it to a PNG file and have it printed elsewhere.

YouTube Video

This YouTube video gives a great overview of using Canva to create a scientific poster.