PowerPoint Style Skills

1. Don’t let PowerPoint decide how you use PowerPoint.

Microsoft wanted to provide PowerPoint users with a lot of tools. But this does not mean you should use them all. Here are some key things to look out for:

  • Make sure that preset PPT themes complement your needs before you adopt them.
  • Try to get away from using Microsoft Office’s default fonts, Calibri and Cambria. Using these two typefaces can make the presentation seem underwhelming.
  • Professionals should never use PPT’s action sounds. (Please consider your audience above personal preference).
  • PowerPoint makes bulleting automatic, but ask yourself: Are bullets actually appropriate for what you need to do? Sometimes they are, but not always.
  • Recent PPT defaults include a small shadow on all shapes. Remove this shadow if it’s not actually needed. Also, don’t leave shapes in their default blue.

2. Create custom slide sizes.

While you usually can get away with the default slide size for most presentations, you may need to adjust it for larger presentations on weirdly sized displays. If you need to do that, here’s how.

  • In the top-left corner, choose “File.”
  • Select “Page Setup.”
  • Type the height and width of the background you’d like, and click “OK.”
  • A dialogue box will appear. Click “OK” again.
  • Your background is resized!

Tip: Resize your slides before you add any objects to them or the dimensions of your objects will become skewed.

Change-Size-of-Background-PPT-2

3. Edit your slide template design.

Often, it’s much easier to edit your PowerPoint template before you start — this way, you don’t have design each slide by hand. Here’s how you do that.

  • Select “Themes” in the top navigation.
  • In the far right, click “Edit Master,” then “Slide Master.”
  • Make any changes you like, then click “Close Master.” All current and future slides in that presentation will use that template.

Change-Slide-Master-1

4. Write text with your audience in mind.

A significant part of a powerpoint’s content is text. Great copy can make or break your presentation, so evaluating your written work from a few different angles could make you seem more persuasive. Thinking about how your text is received differentiates good presenters from the best.

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