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  • Taylor Farace

A How-to Guide for Better PowerPoints

Nearly everyone is familiar with Microsoft PowerPoint, and most of us have used it at least once or twice. Users favor the functionality and foolproof usability of PowerPoint over comparable programs and enjoy the ease of modification within Microsoft's software.

Chances are, you’ve sat through your fair share of presentations and you know there is nothing worse than a lengthy, dull, uninspired presentation. It's time to step up your PowerPoint game by following a few easy steps I’ve laid out for you in this article. Continue reading for information on which websites are best for finding PowerPoint templates, as well as simple tips and tricks to guarantee a beautiful and effective presentation.

Better Websites

Whether you prefer selecting premade templates or making your own personalized one, we've got your back. The best website will vary depending on your needs; however, most sites offer template categories that range from the general to the very niche.

Free PowerPoint Templates is a good place to start, especially for someone who falls on the less creative side or is looking to save time. The website offers over 7,000 free downloadable templates that vary in focus from business and professional services to leisure and general everyday templates. The website also offers downloadable services for other PowerPoint features, including pictures and animations that will give your presentation that extra wow factor.

Slides Carnival is another valuable website for free business templates as well as templates that satisfy a wide range of other categories like inspirational, playful, and elegant. With the click of a button, Slides Carnival is the easiest way to make creative, customizable templates for your next presentation, without giving you all the headaches.

Slide Hunter can assist you in creating powerful professional presentations. Their templates satisfy presentation needs that may require the illustrations of business charts and other business models. This site offers many options to help present data to viewers in a more digestible manner. Choose between 4,000+ templates that are all free to download to Microsoft PowerPoint. Slide Hunter is also compatible with Keynote and Google Slides for those without Microsoft office.

Rules, Tips, and Tricks

For those looking to take a more personalized approach to your presentation, first consider how you can maximize on as many PowerPoint skills as possible. How can you use your skills to your advantage? Generally, there are a few structural rules to follow that will assist your efforts in achieving the best look and feel for your presentation.

Layouts Matter

One of the first things to consider is where and how you're placing your information. You want the information to be positioned to maximize readability and viewer comprehension. Consider how your slides are laid out and if the flow of your information makes sense. When doing so, keep in mind the natural reading order, which generally starts on the left of the page and moves to the right. Keep the most important information and key points to the left of the slide while adding any pictures or animations to the right.

Less Is More

In this context, “less is more” means that it may be better to choose a few keywords and phrases to include in your slides rather than densely packed sentences. You'll have better luck retaining your audience's focus with less on the screen, because the focus will land more on you and what you're saying and less on reading lengthy slides. Consider what point you want each slide to address and make your argument incrementally. Aim to keep each slide under six sentences.

Simplistic Color Palette / Over-Styling Text

Stick to either dark text on a light background or vice versa. When we start to overcomplicate the color palette or use colors that are too bold and bright, it can adversely affect the audience's ability to retain information and focus. You never want to overwhelm the audience with your slides. It’s wise to stick to your brand colors for both a primary and secondary color choice.

You can stylize text as an easy way to emphasize certain points or draw viewers' attention to specific places on the slide. While this is a great skill, it's important to use lightly and only when necessary. Another way to emphasize points without bolding and italicizing everything is to use contrasting colors. You still want to follow the same rule and make sure you’re not overdoing it, because again—less is more.

Choice of Font / Font Size

Sans-serif fonts are generally considered to be the best choice when reading from a screen is required. This is not to say they’re the only choice, but to emphasize the importance of legibility in your choice of font. Also, consider the size of your text, and whether someone viewing from the very back of the room will be able to read it easily.

Following these simple guidelines will give you and your presentation the leg up you've been looking for. Utilizing design and content to your advantage will allow you to create a beautiful theme for your PowerPoint presentation without taking away from its message. And if you need help along the way, contact us anytime!

About the Author

Taylor Farace handles project management and creative support at Parklife.

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