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5 Crucial PowerPoint Design Mistakes to Watch Out For

September 12, 2014 / Blog, PowerPoint Tips PowerPoint Design, powerpoint mistakes

PowerPoint often gets a bad reputation. Thanks to all the lifeless presentations commonly given by professionals all over the world, the classic presentation software is said to be responsible for the death of innovation in boardroom meetings. But is it really the main culprit?

Like any other tool, PowerPoint is only as powerful as its user. And these five things are probably the reason why your slides are putting people to sleep:

1. Default themes

powerpoint design mistakes - default themes

Choosing from default themes will definitely make things easier for you. But it can also make your presentation look dull and unimaginative. Think about it. About 500 million people use PowerPoint. If each of them resorted to any of the themes available, just imagine how many presentations all look alike? Take the extra step to customize your own slides by learning more about the Slide Master function.

You can also play around with the themes to produce your own custom template, or ask the help of a professional to make one for you.

2. Too much transitions and animations

powerpoint design mistakes - animation

Animations and slide transitions can definitely add an element of fun and novelty to your slides. But as the famous saying goes, too much of a good thing can also be a bad thing. Loading your presentation with one animation after the other will easily overwhelm your viewers. It will also make your slides look unprofessional.

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3. Clipart

before after

Clip art may have been an effective way to illustrate your points back when PowerPoint first launched in the 90’s. Make sure your slides aren’t stuck in the past by upgrading to a different way of adding visuals to your slides. The Internet provides an abundance of sources for images you can use. If you’re looking to amp up your creativity, you can give clip art a makeover by following this tutorial.

4. Too many bullet points

powerpoint design mistakes - wrong use of bullet points
Bad PowerPoint slide via PC World

There’s nothing wrong with using bullets to list down key details. But using it throughout your presentation makes you look lazy and unorganized. According to bestselling author Seth Godin, bullet points also tend to cut off the logical progression of your arguments, so it’s better to just use them for listing.

5. Text in paragraph form

powerpoint design mistakes - too much text
Bad PowerPoint slide via PC World

On the opposite side of the spectrum, some PowerPoint users insist on piling down lengthy paragraphs in their slides. This defeats the purpose of using a PowerPoint presentation. Your slides are supposed to visually enhance your presentation, so your audience can pick up on important points. It’s not there for you to use as a teleprompter.

What other PowerPoint design mistakes have to observed in meetings you’ve attended? List down your own ideas and share it with us via Twitter.


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Kapterev, Alexei. “Death by PowerPoint.” Slide Share. Accessed September 12, 2014.
Most Presentations Aren’t Bullet Proof.” Seth’s Blog. Accessed September 12, 2014.


Featured Image: Laurel L. Ruswwurm via Flickr