We’re always fans of providing you guys with PowerPoint tips, because we’re dedicated to improving the way people design and deliver presentations. Let’s have a look at our best tips for planning and creating an impactful presentation in PowerPoint.
First and foremost – keep it simple! This point cannot be emphasised enough. Limit your ideas or key points to one per slide to ensure your audiences understand and retain what you’re presenting.
Simplicity comes from planning, so write out your presentation first. By boiling down your presentation into three core points, you’ll be able to script and storyboard your presentation more comfortably.
While we’re talking about synthesising ideas and writing them down, all PowerPoint presentations should utilise the power of storytelling. Narratives help audiences connect with content and empathises with what’s being said, so be sure to convert your facts and figures into a cohesive story with a compelling beginning, middle, and end.
Structure is critical in PowerPoint, which includes your design process too. A simple structure for your workflow should be something like, brainstorm > outline > structure > storyboard > design > delivery.
Consistency is another important element to presentation design. To do this, it’s important to establish a theme. There are a couple options here. A language theme uses one word to sum up your message. Is your message serious? Inspiring? Establish that word, then apply it to every aspect of your design.
Colour themes are easy since PowerPoint is excellent for building custom colour palettes. This is essential for making your presentation flow while establishing consistency. While a design-asset theme is based on fonts, icons, and/or images that flow across your PowerPoint. By repeating the same elements, you can create continuity across your slides while streamlining your design process.
When deciding on fonts it’s always wise to find ones that complement the theme and purpose of your presentation design. Helvetic is a classic, timeless font that always looks clean and impactful. For example, iPhone iOS uses Helvetica Neue and rap group Run DMC’s logo uses Helvetica Black.
Another important tip regarding your fonts is embedding them once you’ve finished designing. Simply click ‘File’ then ‘Options’. Go to the ‘Save’ menu and check ‘Embed fonts in the file’. This won’t just reduce the size of your presentation but ensure that your text will display correctly when presented on screen.
Reducing your presentation size is useful if you intend to share or present your PowerPoint file. Compressing imagery is a great way to reduce file size. Just click on an image, then ‘Format’, followed by ‘Compress Pictures’. We suggest doing this once you’ve completed the presentation so you can deselect ‘Apply only to this picture’, which will compress all images within the presentation. For more ways to reduce your PowerPoint file size, check out our Ultimate Guide here.
If you’re tired of inputting the same actions during your design process, you can use macros and hotkey shortcuts to work faster and more efficiently. PowerPoint Macros let you automate processes, while hotkeys are keyboard shortcuts for quick actions. For example:
Insert a new slide: CTRL + SHIFT + M
Duplicate the current slide: CTRL + SHIFT + D
Select all: CTRL + A
Centre text within a box: CTRL + E
Right align text within a box: CTRL + R
Left align text within a box: CTRL + L
Make text smaller: CTRL + SHIFT + <
Make text bigger: CTRL + SHIFT + >
Another critical thing to remember about PowerPoint is that it’s there to support your argument – not make it for you. Your PowerPoint slides should be there to help pursued your audience rather than distract them.
Also, while it can be very tempting to do, please don’t read from your PowerPoint slides. Nothing will switch off your audience’s attention like seeing you read directly from your slides – after all, they can read that stuff themselves.
PowerPoint was created to make presentation design easier, which means there is no shame in using free templates and stock imagery in your own designs. A little repurposing, editing, and customisation can go a long way in PowerPoint, so don’t be afraid to use ready-made resources for your creations, so long as you make enough amendments and touch-ups to make it your own. Also, keep a library of free images, old PowerPoint presentations, templates, and other design resources to save yourself time and sanity.
Presentation is about clarifying information in a way that audiences can engage with it and understand what’s being said. This means presenters should be focused on making things simple and clear – utilising graphs, charts, infographics, and imagery to help illustrate their overarching point. The idea is to speak on the subject and use graphic elements to display information that’s better seen than explained.
Once you’ve written and designed your PowerPoint presentation, it’s about practice and preparation. This means testing any animations and visual elements to ensure they look correct onscreen. It can be very jarring for your audience if things aren’t aligned right, an animation doesn’t work, or your fonts come out wrong – essentially undoing all your good work. If you’ve embedded your fonts, tested your animations, and preformed a quality check prior to presentation, you should be good to go.