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PowerPoint vs Other Presentation Tools: Which is Right for You?
When it comes to creating impactful presentations, there are numerous tools available in the market. However, one of the most popular and widely used applications is Microsoft PowerPoint. While PowerPoint has been the go-to choice for many professionals and educators, it’s important to consider other presentation tools as well. In this article, we will compare PowerPoint with other presentation tools to help you decide which one is right for you.
PowerPoint: The Classic Choice
Microsoft PowerPoint has been around since 1987 and continues to dominate the presentation software market. It offers a wide range of features and functionalities that make it ideal for creating visually appealing slideshows. With its user-friendly interface, anyone can quickly learn how to use it effectively.
One of the key advantages of PowerPoint is its compatibility with various operating systems, including Windows and Mac. This means you can easily create presentations on one device and present them on another without any compatibility issues.
PowerPoint also provides a vast library of templates, themes, and design elements that allow users to create professional-looking presentations in no time. It offers a plethora of customization options, allowing you to tailor your slides according to your specific needs.
Prezi: The Dynamic Alternative
Prezi is a cloud-based presentation software that takes a different approach than traditional slide-based tools like PowerPoint. Instead of using slides, Prezi allows users to create dynamic presentations on a virtual canvas where they can zoom in and out and navigate through content freely.
This unique feature makes Prezi an excellent choice for storytelling or when you want to present information in a nonlinear format. It enables presenters to create engaging visuals that captivate their audience’s attention from start to finish.
Additionally, Prezi offers seamless collaboration features that allow multiple users to work on the same presentation simultaneously. This makes it an excellent choice for teams or individuals who need real-time collaboration capabilities.
Google Slides: The Collaborative Solution
Google Slides is a web-based presentation tool that is part of the Google Workspace suite. Similar to PowerPoint, it offers a range of features to create visually appealing presentations. Its intuitive interface and easy-to-use tools make it accessible to users of all skill levels.
One of the standout features of Google Slides is its collaborative capabilities. Multiple users can work on a presentation simultaneously, making it ideal for team projects or remote collaboration. It also allows for real-time commenting and editing, ensuring seamless communication among team members.
Another advantage of Google Slides is its integration with other Google Workspace apps such as Google Docs and Sheets. This integration allows users to import data directly from these apps, saving time and effort when creating presentations.
Keynote: The Mac-Friendly Option
If you are an Apple user, Keynote is the presentation software designed specifically for you. Keynote offers a sleek and modern interface with powerful tools that allow users to create stunning presentations effortlessly.
One of the key advantages of Keynote is its seamless integration with other Apple devices and software. You can easily create presentations on your Mac and present them using your iPhone or iPad without any compatibility issues.
Keynote also provides a wide selection of pre-designed templates that cater to various presentation styles. Additionally, it offers advanced animation and transition effects that can enhance the visual appeal of your slideshows.
Choosing the right presentation tool depends on your specific needs and preferences. PowerPoint remains a solid choice for its versatility, while Prezi offers a dynamic alternative for nonlinear storytelling. Google Slides excels in collaborative capabilities, especially for remote teams, while Keynote provides an excellent option for Apple users seeking seamless integration across devices.
Consider the features, ease-of-use, collaboration options, and platform compatibility when deciding which presentation tool suits you best. Ultimately, selecting the right tool will empower you to create impactful presentations that engage and impress your audience.
This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.
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17 PowerPoint Presentation Tips to Make More Creative Slideshows [+ Templates]
Published: August 16, 2023
Creating a great PowerPoint presentation is a skill that any professional can benefit from. The problem? It’s really easy to get it wrong. From poor color choices to confusing slides, a bad PowerPoint slideshow can distract from the fantastic content you’re sharing with stakeholders on your team.
That’s why it’s so important to learn how to create a PowerPoint presentation from the ground up, starting with your slides. Even if you’re familiar with PowerPoint, a refresher will help you make a more attractive, professional slideshow. Let’s get started.
How to Make a PowerPoint Presentation
- Presentation Tips
I like to think of Microsoft PowerPoint as a test of basic professional skills. To create a passing presentation, I need to demonstrate design skills, technical literacy, and a sense of personal style.
If the presentation has a problem (like an unintended font, a broken link, or unreadable text), then I’ve probably failed the test. Even if my spoken presentation is well rehearsed, a bad visual experience can ruin it for the audience.
Expertise means nothing without a good PowerPoint presentation to back it up. For starters, grab your collection of free PowerPoint templates below.
10 Free PowerPoint Templates
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No matter your topic, successful PowerPoints depend on three main factors: your command of PowerPoint's design tools, your attention to presentation processes, and your devotion to consistent style. Here are some simple tips to help you start mastering each of those factors, and don't forget to check out the additional resources at the bottom of this post.
A presentation is made up of multiple slides, let's delve deeper into PowerPoint's capabilities.
1. open powerpoint and click ‘new.’.
If a page with templates doesn‘t automatically open, go to the top left pane of your screen and click New. If you’ve already created a presentation, select Open then double-click the icon to open the existing file.
That said, you can still use fun and eccentric fonts — in moderation. Offsetting a fun font or large letters with something more professional can create an engaging presentation.
Above all, be sure you're consistent so your presentation looks the same throughout each slide. That way, your audience doesn't become distracted by too many disparate fonts. Check out this example from HubSpot’s company profile templates:
Interested in this presentation template? Download it for free here.
5. Make sure all of your objects are properly aligned.
Having properly aligned objects on your slide is the key to making it look polished and professional. You can manually try to line up your images ... but we all know how that typically works out. You're trying to make sure all of your objects hang out in the middle of your slide, but when you drag them there, it still doesn't look quite right. Get rid of your guessing game and let PowerPoint work its magic with this trick.
Here’s how to align multiple objects:
- Select all objects by holding down Shift and clicking on all of them.
- Select Arrange in the top options bar, then choose Align or Distribute .
- Choose the type of alignment you'd like.
Here’s how to align objects to the slide:
- Select Align to Slide .
- Select Arrange in the top options bar again, then choose Align or Distribute .
6. Use "Format Object" to better control your objects' designs.
Format menus allow you to do fine adjustments that otherwise seem impossible. To do this, right-click on an object and select the Format Object option. Here, you can fine-tune shadows, adjust shape measurements, create reflections, and much more. The menu that will pop up looks like this:
Although the main options can be found on PowerPoint’s format toolbars, look for complete control in the format window menu. Other examples of options available include:
- Adjusting text inside a shape.
- Creating a natural perspective shadow behind an object.
- Recoloring photos manually and with automatic options.
7. Take advantage of PowerPoint's shapes.
Many users don’t realize how flexible PowerPoint’s shape tools have become. In combination with the expanded format options released by Microsoft, the potential for good design with shapes is readily available. PowerPoint provides the user with a bunch of great shape options beyond the traditional rectangle, oval, and rounded rectangle patterns.
Today’s shapes include a highly functional Smart Shapes function, which enables you to create diagrams and flow charts in no time. These tools are especially valuable when you consider that PowerPoint is a visual medium. Paragraphing and bullet lists are boring — you can use shapes to help express your message more clearly.
8. Create custom shapes.
When you create a shape, right click and press Edit Points . By editing points, you can create custom shapes that fit your specific need. For instance, you can reshape arrows to fit the dimensions you like.
Another option is to combine two shapes together. To do so, select the two shapes you’d like to work with, then click Shape Format in the top ribbon. Tap Merge Shapes .
You’ll see a variety of options.
- Combine creates a custom shape that has overlapping portions of the two previous shapes cut out.
- Union makes one completely merged shape.
- Intersect builds a shape of only the overlapping sections of the two previous shapes.
- Subtract cuts out the overlapping portion of one shape from the other.
- Fragment will split your shape into different parts depending on where they overlap.
By using these tools rather than trying to edit points precisely, you can create accurately measured custom shapes.
9. Crop images into custom shapes.
Besides creating custom shapes in your presentation, you can also use PowerPoint to crop existing images into new shapes. Here's how you do that:
- Click on the image and select Picture Format in the options bar.
- Choose Crop , then Crop to Shape , and then choose your desired shape. Ta-da! Custom-shaped photos.
10. Present websites within PowerPoint.
Tradition says that if you want to show a website in a PowerPoint, you should just create a link to the page and prompt a browser to open. For PC users, there’s a better option.
Third party software that integrates fully into PowerPoint’s developer tab can be used to embed a website directly into your PowerPoint using a normal HTML iframe. One of the best tools is LiveWeb , a third-party software that you can install on your PowerPoint program.
By using LiveWeb, you don’t have to interrupt your PowerPoint, and your presentation will remain fluid and natural. Whether you embed a whole webpage or just a YouTube video, this can be a high-quality third party improvement. To install the add-on, simple head to the LiveWeb website and follow the instructions.
Unfortunately, Mac users don’t have a similar option. A good second choice is to take screenshots of the website, link in through a browser, or embed media (such as a YouTube video) by downloading it directly to your computer.
11. Try Using GIFs.
GIFs are looped animated images used to communicate a mood, idea, information, and much more. Users add GIFs to PowerPoints to be funny or quickly demo a process. It's easy to add GIFs to your slides. To do so, simply follow these steps:
- Download and save the GIF you want.
- Go to the slide you want the GIF on.
- Go to the Home tab, and click either Insert or Picture .
- From the Picture drop-down menu, choose Picture from File .
- Navigate to where you saved your GIF and select it. Then, choose Insert .
- It will play automatically the moment you insert it.
12. keep it simple..
PowerPoint is an excellent tool to support your presentation with visual information, graphics, and supplemental points. This means that your PowerPoint should not be your entire presentation. Your slides — no matter how creative and beautiful — shouldn't be the star of the show. Keep your text and images clear and concise, using them only to supplement your message and authority.
If your slides have dense and cluttered information, it will both distract your audience and make it much more likely that you will lose their attention. Nothing in your slides should be superfluous! Keep your presentation persuasive by keeping it clean. There are a few ways to do this:
- Limit bullet points and text.
- Avoid paragraphs and long quotes.
- Maintain "white space" or "negative space".
- Keep percentages, graphs, and data super basic.
13. Embed your font files.
One constant problem presenters have with PowerPoint is that fonts seem to change when presenters move from one computer to another. In reality, the fonts are not changing — the presentation computer just doesn’t have the same font files installed . If you’re using a PC and presenting on a PC, then there is a smooth workaround for this issue.
Here’s the trick: When you save your PowerPoint file (only on a PC), you should click File , then Options, then open up the Save tab. Then, select the Embed fonts in the file check box under Preserve fidelity when sharing this presentation . Now, your presentation will keep the font file and your fonts will not change when you move computers.
The macOS PowerPoint version has a similar function. To embed your fonts on a Mac, do the following:
- Open up your presentation.
- On the top bar, click PowerPoint , then click Preferences .
- Under Output and Sharing , click Save .
- Under Font Embedding , click Embed fonts in the file.
14. Save your slides as a PDF file for backup purposes.
If you’re still scared of your presentation showing up differently when it’s time to present, you should create a PDF version just in case. This is a good option if you’ll be presenting on a different computer. If you also run into an issue where the presenting computer doesn’t have PowerPoint installed, you can also use the system viewer to open up the PDF. No laptop will ever give you trouble with this file type.
The only caveat is that your GIFs, animations, and transitions won’t transfer over. But since the PDF will only work as a backup, not as your primary copy, this should be okay.
To save your presentation as a PDF file, take the following steps:
- Go to File , then click Save as …
- In the pop-up window, click File Format.
- A drop-down menu will appear. Select PDF .
- Click Export .
You can also go to File , then Export , then select PDF from the file format menu.
15. Embed multimedia.
PowerPoint allows you to either link to video/audio files externally or to embed the media directly in your presentation. You should embed these files if you can, but if you use a Mac, you cannot actually embed the video (see note below). For PCs, two great reasons for embedding are:
- Embedding allows you to play media directly in your presentation. It will look much more professional than switching between windows.
- Embedding also means that the file stays within the PowerPoint presentation, so it should play normally without extra work (except on a Mac).
Note: macOS users of PowerPoint should be extra careful about using multimedia files.
If you use PowerPoint for Mac, then you will always need to bring the video and/or audio file with you in the same folder as the PowerPoint presentation. It’s best to only insert video or audio files once the presentation and the containing folder have been saved on a portable drive in their permanent folder. Also, if the presentation will be played on a Windows computer, then Mac users need to make sure their multimedia files are in WMV format. This tip gets a bit complicated, so if you want to use PowerPoint effectively, consider using the same operating system for designing and presenting, no matter what.
16. Bring your own hardware.
Between operating systems, PowerPoint is still a bit jumpy. Even between differing PPT versions, things can change. One way to fix these problems is to make sure that you have the right hardware — so just bring along your own laptop when you're presenting.
If you’re super concerned about the different systems you might have to use, then upload your PowerPoint presentation into Google Slides as a backup option. Google Slides is a cloud-based presentation software that will show up the same way on all operating systems. The only thing you need is an internet connection and a browser.
To import your PowerPoint presentation into Google Slides, take the following steps:
- Navigate to slides.google.com . Make sure you’re signed in to a Google account, preferably your own.
- Under Start a new presentation , click the empty box with a plus sign. This will open up a blank presentation.
- Go to File , then Import slides .
- A dialog box will come up. Tap Upload , then click Select a file from your device .
- Select your presentation and click Open .
- Select the slides you’d like to import. If you want to import all of them, click All in the upper right-hand corner of the dialog box.
- Click Import slides.
When I tested this out, Google Slides imported everything perfectly, including a shape whose points I had manipulated. This is a good backup option to have if you’ll be presenting across different operating systems.
17. Use Presenter View.
In most presentation situations, there will be both a presenter’s screen and the main projected display for your presentation. PowerPoint has a great tool called Presenter View, which can be found in the Slide Show tab of PowerPoint. Included in the Presenter View is an area for notes, a timer/clock, and a presentation display.
For many presenters, this tool can help unify their spoken presentation and their visual aid. You never want to make the PowerPoint seem like a stack of notes that you’re reading off of. Use the Presenter View option to help create a more natural presentation.
Pro Tip: At the start of the presentation, you should also hit CTRL + H to make the cursor disappear. Hitting the "A" key will bring it back if you need it!
Your Next Great PowerPoint Presentation Starts Here
With style, design, and presentation processes under your belt, you can do a lot more with PowerPoint than just presentations for your clients. PowerPoint and similar slide applications are flexible tools that should not be forgotten. With a great template, you can be on your way to creating presentations that wow your audience.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in September 2013 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
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How to Give a Killer Presentation
- Chris Anderson
For more than 30 years, the TED conference series has presented enlightening talks that people enjoy watching. In this article, Anderson, TED’s curator, shares five keys to great presentations:
- Frame your story (figure out where to start and where to end).
- Plan your delivery (decide whether to memorize your speech word for word or develop bullet points and then rehearse it—over and over).
- Work on stage presence (but remember that your story matters more than how you stand or whether you’re visibly nervous).
- Plan the multimedia (whatever you do, don’t read from PowerPoint slides).
- Put it together (play to your strengths and be authentic).
According to Anderson, presentations rise or fall on the quality of the idea, the narrative, and the passion of the speaker. It’s about substance—not style. In fact, it’s fairly easy to “coach out” the problems in a talk, but there’s no way to “coach in” the basic story—the presenter has to have the raw material. So if your thinking is not there yet, he advises, decline that invitation to speak. Instead, keep working until you have an idea that’s worth sharing.
Lessons from TED
A little more than a year ago, on a trip to Nairobi, Kenya, some colleagues and I met a 12-year-old Masai boy named Richard Turere, who told us a fascinating story. His family raises livestock on the edge of a vast national park, and one of the biggest challenges is protecting the animals from lions—especially at night. Richard had noticed that placing lamps in a field didn’t deter lion attacks, but when he walked the field with a torch, the lions stayed away. From a young age, he’d been interested in electronics, teaching himself by, for example, taking apart his parents’ radio. He used that experience to devise a system of lights that would turn on and off in sequence—using solar panels, a car battery, and a motorcycle indicator box—and thereby create a sense of movement that he hoped would scare off the lions. He installed the lights, and the lions stopped attacking. Soon villages elsewhere in Kenya began installing Richard’s “lion lights.”
- CA Chris Anderson is the curator of TED.
Resource Tips for Making Effective PowerPoint Presentations
Slideshows are quick to produce, easy to update and an effective way to inject visual interest into almost any presentation.
However, slideshows can also spell disaster even for experienced presenters. The key to success is to make certain your slideshow is a visual aid and not a visual distraction.
Tips for Making Effective PowerPoint Presentations
- Use the slide master feature to create a consistent and simple design template. It is fine to vary the content presentation (bulleted list, two-column text, text and image, etc.), but be consistent with other elements such as font, colors and background.
- Simplify and limit the number of words on each screen. Use key phrases and include only essential information.
- Limit punctuation and avoid putting words in all-capital letters. Empty space on the slide will enhance readability.
- Use contrasting colors for text and background. Light text on a dark background is best. Patterned backgrounds can reduce readability.
- Avoid the use of flashy transitions such as text fly-ins. These features may seem impressive at first but are distracting and get old quickly.
- Overuse of special effects such as animation and sounds may make your presentation “cutesy” and could negatively affect your credibility.
- Use good-quality images that reinforce and complement your message. Ensure that your image maintains its impact and resolution when projected on a larger screen.
- If you use builds (lines of text appearing each time you click the mouse), have content appear on the screen in a consistent, simple manner; from the top or left is best. Use the feature only when necessary to make your point, because builds can slow your presentation.
- Limit the number of slides. Presenters who constantly “flip” to the next slide are likely to lose their audience. A good rule of thumb is one slide per minute.
- Learn to navigate your presentation in a nonlinear fashion. PowerPoint allows the presenter to jump ahead or back without having to page through all the interim slides.
- Know how to and practice moving forward and backward within your presentation. Audiences often ask to see a previous screen again.
- If possible, view your slides on the screen you’ll be using for your presentation. Make sure the slides are readable from the back row seats. Text and graphic images should be large enough to read but not so large as to appear “loud.”
- Have a Plan B in the event of technical difficulties. Remember that transparencies and handouts will not show animation or other special effects.
- Practice with someone who has never seen your presentation. Ask them for honest feedback about colors, content and any effects or graphic images you’ve included.
- Do not read from your slides. The content of your slides is for the audience, not for the presenter.
- Do not speak to your slides. Many presenters face their presentation onscreen rather than their audience.
- Do not apologize for anything in your presentation. If you believe something will be hard to read or understand, don’t use it.
The Seven Deadly Sins of PowerPoint Presentations
By Joseph Sommerville
It’s not surprising PowerPoint© slideshows have become the norm for visuals in most business presentations. Slideshows are quick to produce, easy to update and effective to inject visual interest into the presentation. However, slideshows can also spell disaster even for experienced presenters. The key to success is to make certain your slide show is a visual aid and not a visual distraction. For the best results, avoid these common “seven deadly sins” of PowerPoint© presentations.
- Slide Transitions And Sound Effects: Transitions and sound effects can become the focus of attention, which in turn distracts the audience. Worse yet, when a presentation containing several effects and transitions runs on a computer much slower than the one on which it was created, the result is a sluggish, almost comical when viewed. Such gimmicks rarely enhance the message you’re trying to communicate. Unless you are presenting at a science fiction convention, leave out the laser-guided text! Leave the fade-ins, fade-outs, wipes, blinds, dissolves, checkerboards, cuts, covers and splits to Hollywood filmmakers. Even “builds” (lines of text appearing each time you click the mouse) can be distracting. Focus on your message, not the technology..
- Standard Clipart: Death to screen beans! PowerPoint© is now so widely used the clipart included with it has become a “visual cliché.” It shows a lack of creativity and a tired adherence to a standard form. First, make certain that you need graphical images to enhance your message. If you do, use your own scanned photographs or better-quality graphics from companies such as PhotoDisc (www.photodisc.com) or Hemera’s Photo Objects (www.hemera.com). Screen captures can add realism when presenting information about a Website or computer program. Two popular screen capture programs are Snagit (www.techsmith.com) for Windows and Snapz Pro (www.ambrosiasw.com) for Macintosh. Both are available as shareware.
- Presentation Templates: Another visual cliché. Templates force you to fit your original ideas into someone else’s pre-packaged mold. The templates often contain distracting backgrounds and poor color combinations. Select a good book on Web graphics and apply the same principles to your slides. Create your own distinctive look or use your company logo in a corner of the screen.
- Text-Heavy Slides: Projected slides are a good medium for depicting an idea graphically or providing an overview. Slides are a poor medium for detail and reading. Avoid paragraphs, quotations and even complete sentences. Limit your slides to five lines of text and use words and phrases to make your points. The audience will be able to digest and retain key points more easily. Don’t use your slides as speaker’s notes or to simply project an outline of your presentation.
- The “Me” Paradigm: Presenters often scan a table or graphical image directly from their existing print corporate material and include it in their slide show presentations. The results are almost always sub-optimal. Print visuals are usually meant to be seen from 8-12 inches rather than viewed from several feet. Typically, these images are too small, too detailed and too textual for an effective visual presentation. The same is true for font size; 12 point font is adequate when the text is in front of you. In a slideshow, aim for a minimum of 40 point font. Remember the audience and move the circle from “me” to “we.” Make certain all elements of any particular slide are large enough to be seen easily. Size really does matter.
- Reading: A verbal presentation should focus on interactive speaking and listening, not reading by the speaker or the audience. The demands of spoken and written language differ significantly. Spoken language is shorter, less formal and more direct. Reading text ruins a presentation. A related point has to do with handouts for the audience. One of your goals as a presenter is to capture and hold the audience’s attention. If you distribute materials before your presentation, your audience will be reading the handouts rather than listening to you. Often, parts of an effective presentation depend on creating suspense to engage the audience. If the audience can read everything you’re going to say, that element is lost.
- Faith in Technology: You never know when an equipment malfunction or incompatible interfaces will force you to give your presentation on another computer. Be prepared by having a back-up of your presentation on a CD-ROM. Better yet is a compact-flash memory card with an adapter for the PCMCIA slot in your notebook. With it, you can still make last-minute changes. It’s also a good idea to prepare a few color transparencies of your key slides. In the worst-case scenario, none of the technology works and you have no visuals to present. You should still be able to give an excellent presentation if you focus on the message. Always familiarize yourself with the presentation, practice it and be ready to engage the audience regardless of the technology that is available. It’s almost a lost art.
Joseph Sommerville has earned the title “The Presentation Expert” for helping professionals design, develop and deliver more effective presentations. He is the principal of Peak Communication Performance, a Houston-based firm working worldwide to help professionals develop skills in strategic communication.
Tips for Effective PowerPoint Presentations
- Select a single sans-serif fonts such as Arial or Helvetica. Avoid serif fonts such as Times New Roman or Palatino because these fonts are sometimes more difficult to read.
- Use no font size smaller than 24 point.
- Use the same font for all your headlines.
- Select a font for body copy and another for headlines.
- Use bold and different sizes of those fonts for captions and subheadings.
- Add a fourth font for page numbers or as a secondary body font for sidebars.
- Don’t use more than four fonts in any one publication.
- Clearly label each screen. Use a larger font (35-45 points) or different color for the title.
- Use larger fonts to indicate importance.
- Use different colors, sizes and styles (e.g., bold) for impact.
- Avoid italicized fonts as these are difficult to read quickly.
- Avoid long sentences.
- Avoid abbreviations and acronyms.
- Limit punctuation marks.
- No more than 6-8 words per line
- For bullet points, use the 6 x 6 Rule. One thought per line with no more than 6 words per line and no more than 6 lines per slide
- Use dark text on light background or light text on dark background. However, dark backgrounds sometimes make it difficult for some people to read the text.
- Do not use all caps except for titles.
- Put repeating elements (like page numbers) in the same location on each page of a multi-page document.
- To test the font, stand six feet from the monitor and see if you can read the slide.
Design and Graphical Images
- Use design templates.
- Standardize position, colors, and styles.
- Include only necessary information.
- Limit the information to essentials.
- Content should be self-evident
- Use colors that contrast and compliment.
- Too may slides can lose your audience.
- Keep the background consistent and subtle.
- Limit the number of transitions used. It is often better to use only one so the audience knows what to expect.
- Use a single style of dingbat for bullets throughout the page.
- Use the same graphical rule at the top of all pages in a multi-page document.
- Use one or two large images rather than several small images.
- Prioritize images instead of a barrage of images for competing attention.
- Make images all the same size.
- Use the same border.
- Arrange images vertically or horizontally.
- Use only enough text when using charts or graphical images to explain the chart or graph and clearly label the image.
- Keep the design clean and uncluttered. Leave empty space around the text and graphical images.
- Use quality clipart and use it sparingly. A graphical image should relate to and enhance the topic of the slide.
- Try to use the same style graphical image throughout the presentation (e.g., cartoon, photographs)
- Limit the number of graphical images on each slide.
- Repetition of an image reinforces the message. Tie the number of copies of an image to the numbers in your text.
- Resize, recolor, reverse to turn one image into many. Use duplicates of varying sizes, colors, and orientations to multiply the usefulness of a single clip art image.
- Make a single image stand out with dramatic contrast. Use color to make a dramatic change to a single copy of your clip art.
- Check all images on a projection screen before the actual presentation.
- Avoid flashy images and noisy animation effects unless it relates directly to the slide.
- Limit the number of colors on a single screen.
- Bright colors make small objects and thin lines stand out. However, some vibrant colors are difficult to read when projected.
- Use no more than four colors on one chart.
- Check all colors on a projection screen before the actual presentation. Colors may project differently than what appears on the monitor.
- Plan carefully.
- Do your research.
- Know your audience.
- Time your presentation.
- Speak comfortably and clearly.
- Check the spelling and grammar.
- Do not read the presentation. Practice the presentation so you can speak from bullet points. The text should be a cue for the presenter rather than a message for the viewer.
- Give a brief overview at the start. Then present the information. Finally review important points.
- It is often more effective to have bulleted points appear one at a time so the audience listens to the presenter rather than reading the screen.
- Use a wireless mouse or pick up the wired mouse so you can move around as you speak.
- If sound effects are used, wait until the sound has finished to speak.
- If the content is complex, print the slides so the audience can take notes.
- Do not turn your back on the audience. Try to position the monitor so you can speak from it.
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PowerPoint Tips - Simple Rules for Better PowerPoint Presentations
Powerpoint tips -, simple rules for better powerpoint presentations, powerpoint tips simple rules for better powerpoint presentations.
PowerPoint Tips: Simple Rules for Better PowerPoint Presentations
Lesson 17: simple rules for better powerpoint presentations.
Simple rules for better PowerPoint presentations
Have you ever given a PowerPoint presentation and noticed that something about it just seemed a little … off? If you’re unfamiliar with basic PowerPoint design principles, it can be difficult to create a slide show that presents your information in the best light.
Poorly designed presentations can leave an audience feeling confused, bored, and even irritated. Review these tips to make your next presentation more engaging.
Don't read your presentation straight from the slides
If your audience can both read and hear, it’s a waste of time for you to simply read your slides aloud. Your audience will zone out and stop listening to what you’re saying, which means they won’t hear any extra information you include.
Instead of typing out your entire presentation, include only main ideas, keywords, and talking points in your slide show text. Engage your audience by sharing the details out loud.
Follow the 5/5/5 rule
To keep your audience from feeling overwhelmed, you should keep the text on each slide short and to the point. Some experts suggest using the 5/5/5 rule : no more than five words per line of text, five lines of text per slide, or five text-heavy slides in a row.
Don't forget your audience
Who will be watching your presentation? The same goofy effects and funny clip art that would entertain a classroom full of middle-school students might make you look unprofessional in front of business colleagues and clients.
Humor can lighten up a presentation, but if you use it inappropriately your audience might think you don’t know what you’re doing. Know your audience, and tailor your presentation to their tastes and expectations.
Choose readable colors and fonts
Your text should be easy to read and pleasant to look at. Large, simple fonts and theme colors are always your best bet. The best fonts and colors can vary depending on your presentation setting. Presenting in a large room? Make your text larger than usual so people in the back can read it. Presenting with the lights on? Dark text on a light background is your best bet for visibility.
Don't overload your presentation with animations
As anyone who’s sat through a presentation while every letter of every paragraph zoomed across the screen can tell you, being inundated with complicated animations and exciting slide transitions can become irritating.
Before including effects like this in your presentation, ask yourself: Would this moment in the presentation be equally strong without an added effect? Does it unnecessarily delay information? If the answer to either question is yes—or even maybe—leave out the effect.
Use animations sparingly to enhance your presentation
Don’t take the last tip to mean you should avoid animations and other effects entirely. When used sparingly, subtle effects and animations can add to your presentation. For example, having bullet points appear as you address them rather than before can help keep your audience’s attention.
Keep these tips in mind the next time you create a presentation—your audience will thank you. For more detailed information on creating a PowerPoint presentation, visit our Office tutorials .
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12 PowerPoint Tips to Make Your Slides More Effective
The design of your PowerPoint presentation is often underestimated. Everyone knows the saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” but in PowerPoint land, it seems to be quite the contrary.
“A thousand words are worth a single picture” would seem to be a more fitting slogan. Slides are often filled to the brim with text, which the presenter literally reads out loud. And that’s why PowerPoint has a reputation for being dusty and static. A missed opportunity!
A well-designed PowerPoint presentation can help deliver your message to the audience. We talked to PowerPoint expert Ferry Pereboom, who shared 1 2 PowerPoint tips and tricks to help you steer your presentation in the right direction.
You can go through the following list to improve your entire presentation quickly with these tips. It’s a good idea to use it as a checklist to ensure that your slides are alright in three major aspects: text, design, and navigability.
Now, let’s cover recommendations for each of these aspects in more detail.
Texts on slides support your oral presentation and aim to emphasize the key points. It’s common knowledge that using too much text on slides is a sure sign of a bad PowerPoint presentation.
However, many speakers still try to cram a truckload of information into their slideshows. That makes it especially important to do a good job on the text aspect in the first place.
1. Keep it short and to the point
As mentioned, one of the most important things to remember is that PowerPoint is a tool made to support your story. So, it’s wise to avoid putting the entire text on the screen, because your audience will prefer listening to, and not reading the things you plan to say.
Instead, try to reduce the text, shorten your bullet points, and keep them short and sweet. You can use the 5×5 rule as a reference: have up to 5 text lines on each slide, each of them with no more than 5 words per line.
Keeping your texts concise will help engage your audience and make them focus on you instead of the slides on the screen.
Pro tip : Optimize the use of white space – that’s what we call empty space, that’s devoid of any color, text, and other elements. Keeping it empty helps to direct the viewer’s gaze.
In the realm of texts, you can bring a breath of fresh air to your slides by adding extra margins, splitting up long paragraphs, and generally trying to place objects in no more than half of the slide.
2. Choose the appropriate font
Try to pick a classic font instead of a creative one. Choosing the wrong font can easily make your text unreadable to your audience. And besides, if the computer you are presenting on doesn’t have the font you used installed, PowerPoint will replace it with another one at random.
Sans serif fonts like Verdana, Calibri, and Helvetica are all safe choices. These fonts are quite popular and available on all computers.
3. Enhance readability with the proper font size
Generally, for more effective PowerPoint presentations, it’s always a good idea to make important lines of text and facts look bigger, bolder, and brighter than the others. Fonts can help with this as well. But picking the right font size can be difficult.
On the one hand, your audience needs to be able to read the slide. And on the other hand, you don’t want your text to dominate the space, as you’d probably like to add some visuals to your slide as well.
Still, there are quite precise font sizes that you can refer to in order to make good PowerPoint presentations.
For headers, the minimum is around 20pt, while for the body you can have a minimum of 18pt. With these sizes, you can be assured your text will be legible in every situation. Learners will feel comfortable viewing your presentation on laptops, computers, tablets, TVs, and large screens.
Pro tip : You can manage the hierarchy of headings and subheadings on your slides with the Slide Master feature. Here you can also apply color schemes and a logo to any number of slides and achieve a consistent, unified look.
Simple, yet brilliant design can enhance your message and facilitate communication. So, when you design your slides, try to find balance and remember that less is more.
It’s always better to use 3 or a maximum of 4 colors that you know will combine well, instead of an entire palette, and align objects to establish symmetry.
Below are a few more simple PowerPoint design tips that will help you create a good presentation.
4. Increase contrast
Besides the look and size of your font, it is important to take contrast into account to facilitate reading. It’s natural to use dark text on a light background, and vice versa. But if you’re using text on a photo, things can get a little more tricky.
It’s a good idea to either place a border or cast a shadow around the text to ensure that it’s readable. Or you can place text in one of the PowerPoint shapes.
5. Use coloring wisely
Colors are often used to give the slide some ‘flair’ and manage attention. When picking colors, it’s important to keep your audience in mind and define the purpose of the actual presentation.
For instance, it’s good to use vibrant colors in a presentation for a primary school. However, if you prepare your presentation for business professionals to deliver it in a formal setting, you’ll need to define your colors according to your target audience.
6. Select relevant, adequate visuals
When people are talking about a car, we often see that the first picture is taken from Google images, or even worse, that clip art is being used.
This results in inconsistency because some images tend to be illustrations and drawings, making your presentation look unprofessional or simply ruining the viewer’s impression of it.
To make your PowerPoint presentations effective, don’t use low-quality visual aid. Make sure you select good quality images that support your message.
7. Use mock-ups instead of screenshots and diagrams
Diagrams, schemes, and screenshots usually don’t help your presentation. Although this information is usually quite important to your story, it can be excessive.
To turn the slides into a good PowerPoint presentation, it’s a good idea to combine the diagram, scheme, or screenshot with an image, such as an image of an iPad, laptop, digital projector, or computer.
In the example below, you can see that the slide looks much tidier when an image is added.
8. Present data visually as much as possible
Whenever your presentation contains a lot of data, it might be easier to communicate this data by using visual formats instead of just using text.
Graphs might give you the results you’re looking for. PowerPoint offers a wide variety of ‘doughnut’ charts, which are ideal for making comparisons.
For example, pick the doughnut graph to show your percentages in the middle of the graph. That way, your audience immediately understands your message.
9. Simplify your tables as much as possible
Tables are usually crammed with information and numbers. This causes a slide to look crowded and chaotic. In this case, it is important to make the tables as simple as possible.
Delete unnecessary outlines, colors, and borders. Again, “keep it simple” and “less is more” are key phrases to keep in mind when designing tables.
Navigability applies more to the way you deliver slides to the audience and manipulate the playback. However, you need to plan this in advance as well, and pay attention to transitions, notes, animation, and other aspects that will result in an effective slideshow and save you time.
Here are a few essential PowerPoint tips for easy navigation in your presentation slides.
10. Minimize the variety of transitions in your PowerPoint presentation
After creating a PowerPoint slide show, people usually conclude that the presentation comes across as boring or static. So, they start to use transitions. Different transitions are then used to ‘breathe life’ into the presentation.
However, this is not the way to go. PowerPoint offers the most diverse transitions, which are usually experienced as distracting and unsophisticated. A simple ‘fade’ effect to segue from slide to slide is sufficient.
11. Rely on Presenter View in PowerPoint
Presenter View can help you greatly when delivering your presentation to viewers. With this functionality, you don’t have to keep everything in your head or question your own presentation skills.
When presenting to the audience with Presenter View activated, you’ll be able to see what’s on the next slide, keep track of the time, use a laser pointer and/or pen, and be able to see your speaker notes.
You can also paste your script or lecture notes here and avoid making your slides text heavy.
12. Provide an outline of the presentation
Giving an outline at the beginning of your presentation will help you start off on the right foot, especially if it’s long or you deliver it with other speakers. It’s good form to include at least these three types of slides:
- Welcome slide . Presenters typically place the title and description of the presentation and their credentials here.
- Menu slide . You can place the contents of your presentation here to jump to the needed part quickly when needed (e.g., to refer to a particular idea during a Q&A session).
- Summary slide . This will summarize the ideas you’ve presented and will be of great help when you’re wrapping up your presentation.
Here are a few more effective tips to structure your presentation – check them out.
Unlock Learner Engagement with iSpring
Over the years, PowerPoint presentations have made their way out of classrooms and conference rooms to different audiences and evolved into truly informational products that people download, study, and share. That’s why searching for the best PowerPoint presentation tips is as relevant as ever.
If you rely heavily on PowerPoint in your work, you can improve your slides greatly with iSpring Suite – an authoring toolkit that works in Microsoft PowerPoint.
iSpring Suite can replace several design tools and PowerPoint add-ins at once. It provides hundreds of design templates, color schemes, and visual elements, allowing you to create compelling presentations and gain and maintain an audience’s attention. The software comes with Content Library, which offers access to over 89,000 slide templates, backgrounds, and characters.
In addition to the pre-designed characters, iSpring Suite also allows you to create your own unique ones. You can change their hairstyles, pick accessories, and choose clothing that matches your brand or storyline and resonates with your learners.
Since you already know how to use PowerPoint, it won’t take much time at all to master iSpring Suite and create an engaging presentation or a full-fledged online course. You can populate it with quizzes, interactions, web objects, quality audio narrations, and videos in a breeze.
Also read: How to Convert PowerPoint to MP4 Video on Windows & macOS
With iSpring Suite, you can convert your slides into HTML5 format, so your audience can view them online, right in their browsers, with no downloading necessary. You can also share your presentation as a YouTube video in a click.
Try iSpring Suite and create a stellar presentation now!
FAQ on How to Make an Effective PPT Presentation
People often look for some ready-made formulas of a great PowerPoint presentation on the Internet. We’ve found several of them for your quick reference. Feel free to use these rules along with our tried-and-true PowerPoint tips.
What is the 5–5–5 rule in PowerPoint presentations?
The 5-5-5 rule stands for having a maximum of 5 text lines on a slide with no more than 5 words in each, and up to only 5 slides in a row that use that format. Apparently, this encourages creators to reflect on the way they’re making slides, be concise, and do so knowingly.
What is the 5–second rule in PowerPoint?
The five-second rule prescribes that it should take no more than 5 seconds to grasp the idea of a slide. You can ensure that this happens by using brief and clear text lines, and convincing design.
What is the 10-20-30 rule in a presentation?
The 10-20-30 rule is a fun rule that Guy Kawasaki, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist, introduced after watching hundreds of exhausting presentations and pitches. The rule says that a presentation should be strictly 10 slides and 20 minutes long, with a 30-point font size. Learn more about this rule and how it was devised on Kawasaki’s website .
Which PowerPoint tips and tricks do you know? Which one is your favorite? Feel free to share with us below!
About the author
Ferry Pereboom is co-founder of PPT Solutions, a design agency in the Netherlands.
The company specializes in developing inspiring PowerPoint presentations. PPT Solutions has approximately 1,500 clients, and 28 PowerPoint specialists, and delivers work to clients in about twelve countries around the globe. Ferry is mainly responsible for helping both new and existing clients overcome their presentation challenges.
Please check the website www.pptsolutions.nl for more information on professional PowerPoint tips.
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Passionate about design and tech, Paulina crafts content that helps customers delve deeper into iSpring products.
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7 Tips for Designing and Delivering PowerPoint Presentations
PowerPoint presentations are a great way to support a speech, visualize complicated concepts or focus an audience’s attention. However, a bad presentation can achieve the opposite. Poorly designed slides with too much text or distracting graphics can lead the audience away from your message. Consider these tips to avoid common mistakes:
1.Create a simple design template.
Use the slide master feature or a provided template to create consistency in your design. The method of content presentation (list, image, text) depends on the content, but consistency with other elements such as font, colors, background, throughout the presentation is essential. Establish consistent contrasting colors (dark/light) for text and background.
2. Use appropriate font and size.
Choose your font and size carefully. Use sans serif fonts (such as Arial Rounded MT Bold) and 32 point font size for text. Anything smaller is difficult to read. Avoid all caps. Use color to highlight. Limit punctuation. Follow the 6×6 rule: No more than 6 lines of text per slide and no more than 6 words in each line of text.
3. Use good quality images.
Images should reinforce and complement your message. They should be impactful, not space-fillers. Empty space on the slide will actually enhance readability. Don’t clutter the slide with images unless they add value. Also, test your images to make sure they retain quality when projected on a larger screen. Clip art generally lacks emphasis. If you are willing to purchase quality images to enhance your presentation, try corbis.com .
4. Avoid too many special effects.
These features seem impressive at first, but they tend to distract from your message and get old quickly. Transitions, text fly-ins, animations and sounds may reduce the professionalism you desire to portray. Special effect are similar to graphics, they should impact the presentation not detract from the presentation.
5. Limit the number of slides.
Limit the number of slides according to the time you have available for the presentation. Flipping to the next slide constantly and rushing through the presentation not only distracts the audience, but typically does not get your message across. A good rule of thumb is one slide per minute.
6.Learn to navigate your presentation in a non-linear fashion.
PowerPoint allows the presenter to move forward and backwards without paging through interim slides. Practice moving forward and backward within your presentation. Your audience may want to see a previous slide or you may want to skip ahead to something of immediate relevance. Know these shortcuts:
7. Do not read from your slides or speak to them.
Don’t face the screen and read your slides. The bulleted information on your slides should be supplementary to what you are saying. Use the slides to trigger your comments or to pace yourself, but do not read them. The audience can read. Remember that your slides are only there to support, not to replace your talk! You’ll want to tell a story, describe your data or explain circumstances, and only provide keywords through your slides. If you read your slides, the audience will get bored, stop listening and not get your message.
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