Powerpoint tips

2007/09/06 by Lassi A. Liikkanen

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o Tips

Making PowerPoint presentations

General tips for giving a presentation

  • Slides are not the focus of the presentation, they should only support the verbal presentation
  • People will read the slide before they listen to you
  • Do not read out the slides, chances are your audience won't pick up either source of information
  • Use maximum 6 lines and 6-7 words/line. Do not write full paragraps
  • Simplify figures and numeric data when ever possible
  • Give space for the text, use more slides if necessary
  • Use solid colors instead of patterns in your charts
  • Business and educational audiences have totally different requirements
  • Select readable fonts and colors, as usual
  • If there is lot of information that must located on a single slide, add it progressively
  • For educational purposes:

  • Text alone should be enough
  • Avoid all unnecessary cool extras (sounds, images, charts, transitions, animations and so forth)
  • Use only relevant and coherent extra. Other material will only distract audience's attention from the main point and resulting in poor learning
  • Things presented early on and at the end will be remembered best (attention span limit of about 10 minutes)

Technical tips

Q: When I insert Excel sheets, images or video clips things don't work as I would like

Look at my guide about media files in Powerpoint if you have problems with Copy Paste outcomes.

Q: PowerPoint doesn't display the number of slide, date or footer field

This can be turned on or off for each template or show. No matter if you edit the fields, the contents won't be visible unless you select to show them from View -> Header and Footer menu.

Q: Pasting figures, tables or other objects messes up the slide layout

There are AutoCorrect, AutoFormat As You Type options for this. I recommend turning off Automatic layout for inserted objects and Autofit body text to placeholder.


Few links containing helpful guidelines, tips, and rules for creating good powerpoint presentations

Professor John Sweller from University of New South Wales argues against verbal Powerpoints, see also his homepage about cognitive load theory.

Harvard Instructional Computing Facility (2002) Guidelines for Powerpoint presentations (http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/it/slides/)

P.D. Crispen (200x) Now That I Know PowerPoint, How Can I Use It to Teach? (http://netsquirrel.com/classroom/powerpoint/how_do_i_use_powerpoint_to_teach.swf - you must click the link on the linked page)

V. Chen (200x) Designing Effective PowerPoint Presentations (http://www.vetmed.iastate.edu/vetzone/pdfanddocs/Effective_presentation.ppt)

Psychologist Richard Mayer's opinions and research about using PowerPoint:
Atkinson (2005) Interview of Richard Mayer about PowerPoint's cognitive load

Mayer, R.E. and Moreno R. (2003) Nine Ways to Reduce Cognitive Load in Multimedia Learning. Published in Educational Psychologist Vol 38. pages 43-52. (http://www.leaonline.com/doi/abs/10.1207/S15326985EP3801_6)

Teach yourself PowerPoint:
Pinkerton Academy, contains beginner, intermediate and advanced level guides

Electric teacher's tutorial by Cathy Chamberlain

Links to several short tutorials

Keywords: [computers] , [usability] Document's status: Ok (Document dates explained)

This document created: 2005/07/25
Modified: 2007/09/06
Published: (date missing / pvm. puuttuu)

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