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Helpful Hints for Using Powerpoint Slides in Presentations

Vikki Krane
Bowling Green State University

Using slides are a great way to guide your audience through the main points of your presentation. Slides that are clear and concise will complement, and even enhance, your verbal presentation. However, slides also can become a source of distraction. There is a fine balance between providing enough information so that slides make sense and overwhelming the audience with too much information or activity. The following guidelines will help you find this balance. 

1.  Use readable font - make your slides easy to read from anywhere in a room

  • Use bold font for all text on a slide
  • Make all text at least 32 point
  • Do not rely on the default settings, they may not be as legible when projected onto a large screen as they are on your computer screen
  • Use contrasting colors for text and background
  • Be consistent, use the same size and color font throughout the whole presentation  

 2.  Use key words and phrases – be concise on slides

  • Use bullet points (phrases instead of complete sentences)
  • Your slides should guide the reader to your main points; make only 3-4 points per slide
  • However, include enough information so that the slide makes sense

3.  Use Charts and Figures – when it is difficult to describe something briefly, display the information in another format

4.  Keep it simple - too much animation, color, or text will be distracting

  • Use simple design templates or backgrounds
  • Use animation sparingly
  • Keep text out of the slide design 

    (example of what to avoid)

5.  Talking with your Slides – remember that no matter how great your slides look, content is the most important part of your presentation

  • Use your slides as your outline for the presentation
  • Use the same words in your speech as appear on the slide; this will help the audience follow along
  • Be sure to discuss the text on the slide; try not to make the audience choose between reading the slide or listening to you
  • Reference your information by including citations on slides
  • As a general rule, have one slide per minute of presentation (e.g., for a 12 minute talk, have 12 slides)
  • Practice your talk so you stay within your allotted time

  RELAX and have FUN during your presentation. This is your time to shine!