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How to Illustrate Data in Financial PowerPoint Presentations

We previously covered tips for designing financial PowerPoint presentations. We mentioned then that you should take the time to curate the data you have on hand, and choose only the ones that will help move your story forward. At the same time, you can’t just present this data as it is. Majority of the population are inclined towards visual learning, and chances are, your audience members are, too.

Make use of visual tools to enhance your presentation. Present the data in your financial PowerPoint through charts, graphs, and other illustrations. Each type has its strengths and weaknesses suited for the type of data you’re presenting.

Choosing how you’ll present the information will depend on its complexity and what it represents. In this post, we’ve come up with a guide explaining the basic ways you can showcase data in your slides.

Here are a few tips on the types of visual data you can use to spice up your slides:


For a financial PowerPoint, graphs are best used to show trends and patterns in your data. It’s a great way to illustrate how your market performance has improved throughout time or how the sales of products under your brand compare with each other. There are two common types of bar graphs:

Line Graph

  • Line graphs: Use this type of graph for illustrating changes in your data throughout time, like growth or decline in finances.

Vertical Bar Graph Horizontal Bar Graph

  • Bar graphs: Bar graphs are perfect for showing comparisons in the data. Make use of vertical bar graphs if you’re comparing less than 8 different sets of data. Otherwise, go with a horizontal bar graph. This helps compress the information without making it look confusing.

Pie Charts

Pie Chart

Make use of pie charts if you’d like to illustrate how different numbers correspond to a whole. For example, a pie chart can easily show how your finances are distributed. There are variations of the pie chart, like the donut, or wheel. While this also has a similar function to the pie chart, it’s a matter of preference what you feel would be more effective in conveying your points.


Sample Flowchart
Image from Wikimedia Commons

You can use a flowchart to explain how your data was gathered, or any other important process that is pertinent to your financial PowerPoint presentation. A flowchart visualizes steps or procedures through a progression of shapes.

Other Illustrations

There are other types of diagrams you can make use of in visualizing your data. This abundance of types can be narrowed to two of the more common kinds:

Venn Diagram

  • Venn diagrams: Used to showcase the relationship between different sets of data.

Sample SlideGenius design with map

  • Maps: If you want to show data that corresponds to a specific location. This is great for illustrating statistics gathered from market surveys and the like.
Data is definitely an important element of financial PowerPoint presentations. When translating numbers into illustrations, take note of these pointers and consider the rules of presentation design.



Present your data in a doughnut chart.” Office Blogs. Accessed June 20, 2014.

Numbers Abound: Tips for Designing Financial PowerPoint Presentations

Designing financial PowerPoint presentations is a balancing act.

As the presenter, it’s easier to simply copy data from spreadsheets and paste them onto slides. But your audience might find the barrage of numbers overwhelming and hard to understand.

On the flip side, you can try to engage bored audience members with graphics and slide transitions. But use too much and your financial PowerPoint might end up looking ill-designed and uninspired.

How do you find the balance between ‘too much information’ and ‘too many distractions’?

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you’re preparing a financial PowerPoint presentation.

Identify the financial data that moves your narrative forward

A financial PowerPoint presentation shouldn’t just be about showing off balance sheets, profit-and-loss statements, or market reports.

Consider these questions: What is the story that your audience came to hear? What is the narrative behind your presentation? Are you presenting the story of your company’s successful attempt to meet market challenges? Or are you talking about the promising growth of a start-up client company?

Think of the data you have as details in a story. Identify the scenario and decide which of your data is the most crucial to your story and the audience.

Illustrate numbers through diagrams, charts, and graphs

Once you’ve decided on the most important data, you can begin to translate numbers into illustrations. Doing so will help your audience follow patterns and trends that might otherwise seem confusing.

Visualize your data through diagrams, charts, and graphs. It’s also a great way to condense useful information into one slide. Data that spans several years can be summarized into a bar graph.

A financial PowerPoint slide designed by Slide Genius

Keep text to a minimum

Don’t be tempted to explain your illustrations with ten bullet points each. Instead, according to presentation trainer Dave Paradi, what you can do is to write sentences or ‘headlines’ that summarizes key points in the data.

It’s important to keep the text in your financial PowerPoint slides to a minimum. Long-winded paragraphs analyzing your pie charts can prove to be just as overwhelming as the numbers you’ve worked to condense.

Remember: it’s your job to expound on the data you’re presenting. You can’t just let your PowerPoint slides do the talking.

Opt for a design that matches content and context

With over 500 million users, most people are probably tired of seeing generic PowerPoint templates again and again. Instead of using default templates, get creative by customizing your financial PowerPoint slides.

Opt for a design that matches your content and the context of your presentation. For example, you can use color schemes that match your client’s logo if you’re presenting about their financial statements.

Here are a few other things to remember:

1. Font Type & Size

Choose font types that are easy to read. You don’t always have to go for the classic Arial or Times New Roman, but try to avoid blocky and ornate fonts unless they’re big enough to read. Venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki explains that the general rule for font size is 30 points or greater. This font size is readable for most audiences, which makes it safest to use.

2. Contrasting Backgrounds & Colors

The color of your background should contrast with everything else on your slides—from font colors to the colors you use in your graphs. You can’t go wrong with using a dark blue background and white text (like Steve Jobs). You can also opt for a white background with black text. This option is easier to see in a bright room, so you won’t have to dim too many lights during your presentation.

For a time-saving, optimized financial presentation, consider working with professional PowerPoint designers. SlideGenius has an extensive portfolio of financial PowerPoint presentations.



“The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint.” Guy Kawasaki. December 30, 2005. Accessed June 16, 2014.
Paradi, David. “Presenting Financial Data: Put Your Numbers on a Diet.” Presentation Xpert. Accessed June 16, 2014.