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PowerPoint Presentation Best Practices: Tips & Resources

A guide to layout, design, best practices, and tips for creating a great PowerPoint presentation for your class.

Timing

Watch your timing, both while speaking and going through your slides. You don't want to go too fast, but make sure you don't go over your allotted time, either. (This is where practice comes in!) You might want to leave a few minutes at the end for questions.

Sort Your Slides

Try breaking your slides into smaller chunks or segments, and make sure they flow. But don’t use too many slides, either; find a nice middle ground. If you look at all of them in the slide sorter, do they seem to flow logically without your speech backing them up?

The "B" Key

During your presentation (on either PowerPoint or Keynote) you can press the "B" key on the keyboard, and the screen will go blank. This is useful if you need to go off topic for a minute, or you want people to focus on you while you say something extremely important. Just press "B" again and your presentation will reappear.

DOs

  • Keep it simple, but not simplistic
  • Have a theme and be consistent
  • Be smart with colors
  • Choose fonts wisely
  • Limit text
  • Use high-quality graphics, not clip art
  • Try using video or audio
  • Minimize distractions in your slides
  • Pace yourself
  • Break up your slides into small chunks
  • Check your spelling and grammar

DON'Ts

  • Don’t use stale built-in templates
  • Don’t throw off your audience with fancy fonts
  • Don’t use distracting animations and transitions
  • Don’t use clip art
  • Don’t put an entire paragraph in your slide
  • Don’t go too fast
  • Don't read from cue cards word-for-word
  • Don’t stress—act relaxed and natural, and your audience will be more receptive

Resources

Tips

Templates