Software for designing scientific posters?

I’m another voice suggesting Affinity Designer, but Linearity Curve (formerly Vectornator) is worth a peek too. I’ve been impressed with it during their recent beta period.

I will add to the OmniGraffle recommendation. Works great. Normally we save the final poster as a pdf and send it to print like that.

Interesting that Lemke has picked up iCalamus. I loved it and was disappointed when the original developer dropped it. OTOH, I like Affinity also, though I agree that the learning curve is steep for a non-professional designer.

The right answer is, of course, LaTeX!

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InDesign or Publisher.

Most people I know use PowerPoint (Keynote works too). A Google search will find lots of templates you can modify for your specific needs.

My wife used Illustrator in the biochem lab where she worked for 20 years, but she’s retired now. I worked in the graphic arts (photography, design, and writing). I haven’t found anything Adobe can do that Affinity can’t.

However, I am retired also, I haven’t used them as much. I do have a four-color press job in the works that should put Publisher to the test. And I’m in the middle of scanning a lifetime of slides and negatives and (if I survive this), Affinity Photo is going to get a SERIOUS workout… ;~}

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Definitely. Life is so much easier when you can copy and paste from your paper into a presentation or poster, and have it look right. For lecture notes we are now using Rmarkdown or Quarto, so the document runs all the code. I haven’t checked on posters but I assume there is something.

Recent versions of Pages have fairly powerful tools for drawing diagrams. I particularly like their alignment and snapping features which make it easy to make precision drawings using simple shapes.

I second the suggestion to use LaTeXit for labels, particularly if there are any math symbols or equations.

Graphs can be done using Numbers. MacMost has quite a number of videos with hints for getting the best out of these programs.

And all of these apps are free!

Also, consider looking online for templates done by university groups in Word, etc. or find the easiest template that matches your poster format and size. Does your university or school have a printing service for the large posters, or is this something you have to do? Do a search for sites that may have templates free for students

Yes, I’m afraid that’s true. And walking around a poster session I can be certain that the very worst looking posters have all been authored in PP. :laughing:

I’m having flashbacks to the days when I made posters using actual photo prints, sheets of adhesive letters to label the photos, colored cardboard, a paper cutter, paste, and, to show that I was on the cutting edge, a laser printer for the title, figure captions, and body text.

I see lots of fine posters created with PowerPoint. Of course you need to understand how to effectively use the software. It’s silly to spend a lot of money on a program to make a poster, when you will use that application infrequently for conference poster sessions that typically are only a couple of hours or less in length. What is important in creating a final poster that has an attractive, professional appearance is the quality of printing.

Couldn’t agree more. So why waste money on MS Office? Our entire campus gave up on that years ago. I know of few people with regrets.

No one says you need to use Office. My university provides it to everyone but I’ve also created posters using Keynote and I don’t see any reason why LibreOffice (Impress) wouldn’t also work.

Pages has a built-in equation editor. It uses LaTeX syntax, but does not require any additional installation.

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I’m assuming the equation editor in Pages is the same as in Keynote. It is indeed surprisingly good (yeah, not the font) and you can use regular LaTeX notation like you’re used to.

Just beware that while it’s fine for simple equations, it will not do more fancy things, like a derivation that would rely on something like \begin{array}{rcl}. If I need something like that in Keynote I have to resort to importing the equation as PDF from something like the excellent (and free) LaTeXiT.

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I tried using LaTeX in Pages and was underwhelmed due to the horrible fonts it used for math symbols. I couldn’t figure out how to get Pages to use the CM fonts used in LaTeX. Since TeX typesetting also uses metric files and others specific to itself I wouldn’t expect it to work well in Pages.

Some of my college students use PowerPoint, though I imagine Keynote works, too.

I’ve always used PowerPoint or Keynote. Whenever I get sent a poster template to use, it’s always in PPT format. So I assumed this is what most people use, and was surprised it took so long for these options to be mentioned in this thread.

I have never enjoyed making posters in this way, and imagine that some of the other apps mentioned here might make the process better.