PowerPoint Best Practices

Content Tips

  • Keep Powerpoints simple and non-dense. They are often best used for summary information, recapping key concepts/themes described and discussed elsewhere.
  • Exclude extraneous information, and keep the focus on primary points. If you are distributing the slide deck to students for note-taking after your presentation, then consider placing more detailed information in the notes section of your slides or in the course’s reading material.
  • Show (graphs, charts, illustrations) rather than tell whenever possible. PowerPoint at its best is a visual tool.
  • Start your presentation with an overview of what will be covered and the expected learning outcomes for students – provide a road map for what you will be presenting.
  • Begin with primary and sub points, then the reasons they’re important, and how they might connect to previous material. Next, provide the evidence or details. Summarize before moving to the next topic. Breaking each subject up in this way allows learners to follow you without being overwhelmed.
  • Consider breaking bulleted lists up into separate slides for each point as they are introduced. If it’s important to see the entire list at once, then consider that for your summary slide.

Aesthetic Tips

  • Generally keep backgrounds to a simple solid color or gradient that does not interfere with text. Title slides are one exception and could have an image as a background.
  • Use 30pt fonts or larger for all primary text. Text such as footnotes or trivial labels may be smaller.
  • Avoid using clip art, animations, and other visual elements that are unrelated to the slide’s content or are otherwise extraneous. This is particularly important on slides that already contain a lot of information.
  • Use high-quality images, illustrations and data representations whenever possible. Consider making your point visually, and refer to this list of multimedia resources for content.

Examples and Further Information

Practical Tips For Large Group Presentations Using PowerPoint

Example #1

Example #2