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Applying the Rule of Thirds to Your PowerPoint Presentation

May 22, 2015 / Blog

The rule of thirds is one of the most essential photography techniques. By dividing images into three vertical and horizontal lines, you create a grid with four intersecting points. These are called “power points.”

This guideline isn’t just for professional photographers, graphic designers, or artists. When applied properly, this principle allows stronger visuals in your PowerPoint design.

Image Credits: Conca
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What makes a good presentation design?

The good thing about this rule is that anyone can do it. Since visual communication is just as important as verbal communication, applying this to your presentation design can make it more interesting and striking especially when you’re conveying your message visually.

Where did it come from?

As mentioned by Conca’s Nico Simpson, the first mention of the rule of thirds appeared in the book Remarks on Rural Scenery (1797) by author and painter, John Thomas Smith.

Smith mentions the rule of thirds as a guide for good nature paintings. This principle works by dividing visual elements into three vertical and horizontal lines.

How can you apply this rule to your slides?

Here are three ways to incorporate the rule of thirds in your deck images:

Look for images that follow the Rule of Thirds.

With a simple Google search, you can easily find free-for-use photographs that already obey the rule of thirds.

Crop and position images to follow the Rule of Thirds.

If you can’t find an existing image, you can crop your own photographs so they follow this rule. You can use any photo editing software, such as Photoshop and GIMP, to edit your images.

Combine images with texts so that one or both obey the Rule of Thirds.

Prioritize images that have large areas of uniform color. You can also select those with a solid color background. If you’re doing business presentations, white works best in contrasting against images and text.

The example below shows how the blue piece is placed in the upper left focal point to make the layout visually striking.

Image Credits: Six Minutes


Placing images or texts over one of the intersecting grid’s power points creates balance to your presentation slides.

Once you successfully achieve this, your audience will be more interested in looking and appreciating your visual presentation.

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