Research and promotional posters are a need that comes up all the time in Extension. Poster sessions, fairs, and events are all examples of places you might need a quick poster. 

Did you know they're not hard to make in PowerPoint?


PowerPoint is an easy way any one of us can create an impressive poster! Large-format graphics look professional and modern. I was recently at the U's Academic Technology Showcase, and it was clear that most exhibitors had no idea how to make a nice looking poster!


Poster Templates

The easiest way to start is to download a template. Extension templates are here.
The University's images library also has a couple professional-looking templates. Don't forget to add the Extension wordmark, if you use those!

Poster Design

I always start my posters with a storyboard--where you roughly sketch it out on a regular piece of 8.5x11 paper. The flow of your information should go from top left to bottom right. Mark where you'd like to put a graph or a photo and headings.

If you are not using a poster template (links above), open a fresh PowerPoint presentation and under the Design tab, select Page Setup. Change the dimensions of your slide to the desired dimensions of your poster. PowerPoint allows a maximum of 56x56. If your poster needs to be bigger than that, you will need to create it at half size and print it at 200%.

You will need to do a lot of zooming in and out (under the View tab) while working on the poster. It may also be helpful to select View>Gridlines, which puts a nonprinting dotted line every inch on the screen.

Remember to use bullets and numbered lists whenever you can. Keep your text in short, concise, legible statements. Minimize complete sentences and paragraphs.  Also note that text in upper and lower case letters is more readable than all capitals. Text should be at least 1/4-inch tall and readable from a distance of 6 feet. To see inches on your PowerPoint, select View>Ruler in the tool bar. Do not stretch a picture across the back of your entire poster--this makes your file size humongous and also makes your text hard to read.

Poster Printing

Save your poster as a PDF before sending it to the printer. This can be done via Save As>PDF. Open your PDF and select View>Rulers and make doubly sure that your file is huge and not accidentally printing to 8.5x11. Zoom in to about 300% and make sure your graphics are not 'jaggy' beyond recognition.

Next step, send it to the printer! Some printers I have used and found to be good:

Lots more information!

Welcome to Quickbyte #5, Edit Something on Wikipedia!


Well hello, I doubt I have to explain what Wikipedia is! It's only the most humongous site on the internet. It is likely the largest collection of knowledge ever assembled, and is certainly the most widely accessible.

Wikipedia is written collaboratively by largely anonymous volunteers. All edits to pages are live immediately. This creates a unique, living reference site that is surprisingly reliable and free to anyone all over the world.


I hear about collaborating content experts and I can't help but think of Extension! 

I'm sure you've heard the old "Publish or Perish" saying. This article, Publish in Wikipedia or Perish, is about a peer-reviewed journal that requires authors to add a Wikipedia article summarizing their journal article. Interesting idea!

Improving the quality of or creating articles on the web in your field is as easy as a few clicks. Read on to find out how!



You don't have to register to edit a page on Wikipedia--you can edit most any page on the site anonymously. But I think it's possible that your contributions could connect you with others interested in your field, and it would be nice if they could find you! Rightly or wrongly, you are seen as more credible if you are logged in behind a username. Also, if you are logged in, you can click the star icon on an article to show any changes since your edit.

Five Pillars

Part of what makes Wikipedia so great are its Five Pillars. These simply and quickly lay out the ground rules for editing: keep it factual, civil, neutral, flexible, and open.

Version Control

Wikipedia has 'version control,' meaning that all versions of the page are saved and can be reverted to. Should the page be mistakenly edited (vandalized) or just edited by an inexperienced contributor, it is never permanent. Any other contributor can revert it back.

If edits you make to an article are rolled back, don't take it too personally. Take it as a teachable moment, and ask the editor who reverted your changes for advice. To prevent this from happening often, include a short sentence in the 'edit summary' box before you submit, and edit pages while logged in.

How to Edit

Editing articles on Wikipedia is really quite easy!

Each Wikipedia article has tabs on it: Article, Discussion, View History,and Edit. Click on "Edit." You will see the article as it looks in what is called "wiki markup" language. Don't be alarmed! Just take your time and you will see what is going on. It's not like you're starting a page from scratch--just look at what is there and edit it. 

Wikipedia can be intimidating. Don't be afraid to ask for help on Wikipedia's help pages or right here on QuickBytes!

Just remember, if 100,000 other people have figured out how to be active editors, you can do it too.


  1. Look through this tutorial,  How to Edit a Wikipedia Page
  2. Visit the QuickBytes Wikipedia Sandbox and TRY EDITING!
  3. Please leave a comment on the blog or a social media channel letting us know how you liked this QuickByte!


"Social Bookmarking" is a way to share things you find on the internet with others. You are not actually sharing the thing itself, but a link to it.


I'm sure we can all think of instances when it is useful to share some links to web pages across computers. Here are some examples of situations where storing your bookmarks online might be useful:
  • Planning a trip or event
  • Basic literature review
  • Share current articles with colleagues
  • Resources for your class participants
  • Often switching between computers


I thought I'd start with Delicious, since it is the oldest and most well-known social bookmarking site. In fact, Delicious kind of pioneered the whole thing. If you have used it in the past, you will now notice that it sucks.


Move over Delicious, Pinterest is the new sheriff in town. Pinterest is hot hot hot!

Do you remember when you were a teenage girl and you put stuff up on a bulletin board in your bedroom--pictures of cute shoes and Leonardo DiCaprio and funny quotes? You don't?

Well anyhoo. Pinterest is like that.

Pinterest is a social bookmarking site that focuses on images. What you're really bookmarking, or 'pinning' on Pinterest is the image file. This is nice because it is so visual (going through someone's bookmarks is like looking through a catalog), and also not nice, because if something has no image with it, you are out of luck.

You can see QuickByte's pinboards here to check it out. Here is a good video tutorial, Pinterest Tutorial (youtube).

Also, here is a cool infographic:


Diigo is another social bookmarking site, one that has a definite educator slant. You can apply for an 'Educator Account' (which makes organizing curriculum and students easier). The site has forums, where bookmarks you make can be shared and commented on by fellow forum members. These forums vary in their usefulness, some are full of spam, but a great example of a useful one is Diigo in Education, which covers a lot more tools than just Diigo.

While Pinterest is hot, I think Diigo is more who you might want to settle down with.

Here is an interesting article that can be extrapolated to a lot of non-classroom learning as well: Using Diigo in the Classroom.

Google Bookmarks

I suppose no list of tools is complete without Google! Google Bookmarks is no frills (no thumbnails, no little summary blurbs, no socializing), but with the advantage of being part of the UMN's Google Apps. It is perhaps the most useful if your main purpose for social bookmarking is sharing with yourself between computers (anti-social bookmarking? hee hee). With none of the features of Pinterest or Diigo, it seems like this little tool is about ready for a makeover.

  1. Click through to Pinterest and Diigo, explore around enough to get a feeling what they are.
  2. Create an account on the one that you think would be most useful.
  3. Leave a blog comment, (tweet, facebook, whatever) telling us a possible use, question, or preference regarding social bookmarking.

Last Week's Winner!

The winner of the paper tweet pad is..... Bruce Schwartau! Thank you all for your comments and tweets, we'll have another give away in a couple weeks!