to Make Attractive and Effective PowerPoint Presentations
By Shahul Ameen
has dramatically changed the way in which academic and business
presentations are made. This article outlines few tips on making
more effective and attractive PowerPoint presentations.
- Keep the wording
clear and simple. Use active, visual language. Cut unnecessary words
– a good rule of thumb is to cut paragraphs down to sentences,
sentences into phrases, and phrases into key words.
- Limit the number of words and lines per slide. Try the Rule of
Five - five words per line, five lines per slide. If too much text
appears on one slide, use the AutoFit feature to split it between
two slides. Click within the placeholder to display the AutoFit
Options button (its symbol is two horizontal lines with arrows above
and below), then click on the button and choose Split Text Between
Two Slides from the submenu.
- Font size for titles should be at least 36 to 40, while the text
body should not be smaller than 24.
- Use only two font styles per slide - one for the title and the
other for the text. Choose two fonts that visually contrast with
each other. Garamond Medium Condensed and Impact are good for titles,
while Garamond or Tempus Sans can be used for the text body.
- Embed the fonts in your presentation, if you are not sure whether
the fonts used in the presentation are present in the computer that
will be used for the presentation. To embed the fonts: (1) On the
File menu, click Save As. (2) On the toolbar, click Tools, click
Save Options, select the Embed TrueType Fonts check box, and then
select Embed characters in use only.
- Use colors sparingly; two to three at most. You may use one color
for all the titles and another for the text body. Be consistent
from slide to slide. Choose a font color that contrasts well with
- Capitalizing the first letter of each word is good for the title
of slides and suggests a more formal situation than having just
the first letter of the first word capitalized. In bullet point
lines, capitalize the first word and no other words unless they
normally appear capped. - Upper and lower case lettering is more
readable than all capital letters. Moreover, current styles indicate
that using all capital letters means you are shouting. If you have
text that is in the wrong case, select the text, and then click
Shift+F3 until it changes to the case style that you like. Clicking
Shift+F3 toggles the text case between ALL CAPS, lower case, and
Initial Capital styles.
- Use bold or italic typeface for emphasis. Avoid underlining, it
clutters up the presentation.
- Don't center bulleted lists or text. It is confusing to read.
Left align unless you have a good reason not to.
- Run “spell check” on your show when finished.
- Keep the background
consistent. Simple, light textured backgrounds work well. Complicated
textures make the content hard to read.
- If you are planning to use many clips in your slides, select a
white background. If the venue of your presentation is not adequately
light-proof, select a dark-colored background and use any light
color for text.
- Minimize the use of "bells and whistles" such as sound
effects, "flying words" and multiple transitions.
- Don’t use red in any fonts or backgrounds. It is an emotionally
overwhelming color that is difficult to see and read.
- Many free templates are available for download at http://www.brainybetty.com/MENUPowerPoint.htm
and http://www.soniacoleman.com/templates.htm .
are best used subtly; too much flash and motion can distract and
- Do not rely too heavily on those images that were originally loaded
on your computer with the rest of Office. You can easily find appropriate
clips on any topic through Google Images. While searching for images,
do not use long search phrases as is usually done while searching
the web - use specific words.
- When importing pictures, make sure that they are smaller than
two megabytes and are in a .jpg format. Larger files can slow down
- Keep graphs, charts and diagrams simple, if possible.
- Use bar graphs and pie charts instead of tables of data. The audience
can then immediately pick up the relationships.
- If you want your presentation to directly open in the slide show
view, save it as a slide show file using the following steps.
- Open the
presentation you want to save as a slide show.
- On the File
menu, click Save As.
- In the Save
as type list, click PowerPoint Show. Your slide show file will
be saved with a .pps file extension.
When you double-click
on this file, it will automatically start your presentation in slide
show view. When you're done, PowerPoint automatically closes and
you return to the desktop. If you want to edit the slide show file,
you can always open it from PowerPoint by clicking Open on the File
- Look at the audience, not at the slides, whenever possible.
- If using a laser pointer, don’t move it too fast. For example,
if circling a number on the slide, do it slowly. Never point the
laser at the audience.
- Black out the screen (use “B” on the keyboard) after
the point has been made, to put the focus on you. Press the key
again to continue your presentation.
- You can use the shortcut command [Ctrl]P to access the Pen tool
during a slide show. Click with your mouse and drag to use the Pen
tool to draw during your slide show. To erase everything you've
drawn, press the E key. To turn off the Pen tool, press [Esc] once.
The "master slide" will allow you to make changes that
are reflected on every slide in your presentation. You can change
fonts, colors, backgrounds, headers, and footers at the "master
- First, go
to the "View" menu.
- Pull down
the "Master" menu.
- Select the
"slide master" menu.
You may now
make changes at this level that meet your presentation needs.
In PowerPoint, choose File | Send To | Microsoft Word. In the Send
To Microsoft Word dialog box, choose Outline only to create a text-only
document, and click on OK. Minor modifications on this document
will give you a handout that can be distributed to the audience.
appealing slides by adhering to these tips, to ensure that the audience
is not distracted from the points you have to make.
Dr. Shahul Ameen, M.D. is a Psychiatrist based in Ranchi, India.
He edits a portal
with information on mental health and Psychiatry, and
of Indian websites on mental health.
This Page >>