PowerPoint presentations – Do’s & Don’ts

The overall rule for PowerPoint presentations is KISS: Keep it short and simple, both for layout and content.


Do – Use color to communicate

Color can set a mood, show priority, or emphasize information. Here you can find more about the psychology of color: http://www.sensationalcolor.com/color-meaning-symbolism-and-psychology/

Don’t – Too many colors

Keep your palette simple. Four different colors are usually sufficient.

Don’t – Use complementary colors

Fully saturated complementary colors (red/green; blue/orange; yellow/violet) will appear to vibrate when placed next to one another.

Don’t – Bright background colors

Using bright background colors will strain your audience’s eyes.



Do – Bullet pointing with the 6/6 rule

Always align bulleted items flushed left. Use a maximum of six short, clear bullets per slide and a maximum of six words per bullet.

Don’t – Load slides with text

Presentations are not term papers. Avoid putting too much text on a slide. Use one slide per idea.



Do – Consider your audience’s needs

Bear in mind: What do you want to achieve? Who are you talking to? A vivid, flowery template is maybe good to sell flowers, but it’s distracting if you are talking about scientific topics. Choose a clean, professional template with a straightforward style.

DoKeep a consistent look throughout your presentation

Use the same font, size, color, and capitalization format within a given information group, e.g. title, bullet points, text body.

Don’t – Unnecessary layout elements

Avoid fancy borders, distracting fonts, and background graphics that aren’t clarify your message.

Don’t – Too many animation effects

They can be very distracting and make you look like a show-off.



Do – Select fonts for readability

Sans serif fonts are easier readable when projected.

Do – Select optimal font size

Titles > 32 pt with 5 words or less; Text > 20 pt

Don’t – Unnecessary typography

Avoid italics, bold, underlines, quote marks, all-caps, and parenthesis. Your voice should provide the emphasis.



Do – Add interest with images

An expressive image catches the attention and helps to memorize the content.

Do – Use data labels

Keep data labels horizontal so that they can be easily read by your audience.

Don’t – Use images as stopgap

Use images only to support your message and not simply as a space filler.

Don’t – Use excessive outlining

Too many borders, lines, and arrows can be distracting. Low-contrast boxes are a better choice.

Don’t – Use superfluous gridlines

Besides the fact that they are rarely elegant, they distract the audience’s attention.

Don’t – Use three-dimensional bar charts if not necessary

See superfluous gridlines…

DoHave fun when creating your next ppt presentation and a lot of success!

Further information? www.ansus-consulting.com | Communication and Thinking Skills

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