Perfecting PowerPoint

I know what you may be thinking – “I’ve been using PowerPoint since middle school – what more is there to know?” Answer: there could be a lot.

Creating a PowerPoint is just like writing a news release or blog post – it needs to follow particular formatting guidelines and rules. While your company may follow its own customized format, there are some universal principles to keep in mind. Therefore, we have compiled what we feel are the best text and graphic guidelines for an effective PowerPoint presentation.

Text guidelines:

  • No more than six words per line and six lines per slide. This will help keep the PowerPoint clean and easy to read. Viewers of your presentation will be happy that they can easily navigate the information and find what they are looking for.
  • Use large fonts to emphasize important information. Based on personal experience in editing and creating PowerPoint presentations, I’ve seen that appropriate font sizes generally range from 18-48 point. I find that font size 24  is a happy medium between small and large text.
  • Avoid fancy fonts – while they can be fun to use, I assure you that they are not kind to your viewers’ eyes.
  • Avoid abbreviations and, acronyms and limit punctuation marks.

Graphics guidelines:

  • If you use graphics in a PowerPoint they should speak for themselves. In other words, graphics should be clear and easy to understand. Examples of good graphics include tables and charts.
  • Use colors that contrast.
  • Be consistent with effects, transitions and animations.
  • Absolutely no more than two graphics per slide.

And remember, a PowerPoint presentation is used as an aid to emphasize key presentation findings and reports – concentrate on quality NOT quantity.

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