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PowerPoint FAQ: Five Common Slide Design Questions You’ve Always Wanted to Ask

May 25, 2015 / Blog PowerPoint FAQ, PowerPoint questions, presentation design

You’ve probably read many articles about creating a good PowerPoint presentation. You may even have viewed a couple of them, either live or online. Maybe even  experienced using slides to present at work. In spite of what you know, it’s still possible that you have questions about designing a memorable and impressive PowerPoint. You just don’t ask them. Either you don’t know who to ask or you’d rather find the answer for yourself.  But asking questions is good. You’ll be surprised by what you’d learn if you seek the answers to your PowerPoint questions.

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Before your turn to present another PowerPoint comes up, whether for your colleagues or clients, here are five common questions about presentation design for you to consider. A number of these may be things that you’ve been meaning to ask for quite some time. That’s okay. You may also want to view this PowerPoint FAQ as some sort of technical review.

Let’s get started:

How many slides should my presentation have?

The number of slides that you can feature would depend on how much visual aid you need to support your topic. Many professional presenters swear by the 10/20/30 PowerPoint rule by venture capitalist and author Guy Kawasaki. It refers to using 10 slides within a 20-minute presentation, featuring fonts no smaller than 30 pt. This rule is especially useful if you’re pitching an idea to venture capitalists. With this rule, you categorize your slides as follows:

  • Problem
  • Solution
  • Business model
  • Underlying magic/technology
  • Marketing and sales
  • Competition
  • Team
  • Projections and milestones
  • Status and timeline
  • Summary and call-to-action

Should I include audio-visual elements to my presentation?

Yes, but you need to proceed with caution. Apart from the aesthetic aspect, you have to consider some technical matters such as playback problems. To keep the audio, video, and animation of your presentation from breaking up, save the corresponding files locally or to the USB drive you’re going to use.

How about slide transitions? Is it advisable to use them?

You may use slide transitions as long as you incorporate them carefully. Your transitions should reinforce the visual metaphor you’re trying to achieve or at least create a smooth flow between slides. Avoid using too many fancy transitions. Otherwise, your presentation will look amateurish and ridiculous.

What images should I include in my slides?

As with any other PowerPoint design element, the images you use should support your topic. Therefore, your presentation’s imagery would depend on your subject matter. Here’s one hint, though: People tend to connect with other people. So, as much as possible, add human elements such as faces, eyes, hands, etc. in your slides. Just make sure that the images are of high resolution and look professional, not some cheesy clip art that you Googled at the last minute.

Is there any presentation design trend that I should be aware about? Something to inform my own design?

It’s hard to pinpoint a particular trend since, like what we’ve already mentioned, there are other factors that come into play. For one, some design trends may not be applicable to your specific topic. But you may want to refer to this list for some ideas.

These questions may not be all-encompassing but it should help you get some ideas the next time you create a presentation, either on your own or with the help of a professional.

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