Dr. Judith M. Newman

Preparing A Powerpoint Presentation

Before You Start

  • Audience
    • Who is your audience?
    • What is your relationship with them?
  • Purpose
    • Are you informing?
    • Arguing?
  • Occasion
    • Is this a professional presentation?
    • Are you at a conference, at a meeting, in a classroom?
  • Ethos
    • How do you want the audience to perceive you?
    • Are you representing a business or organization?

Design Options

  • Custom Design
    • User-designed combination of background and fonts
    • Very effective when done well
  • Design Templates
    • Pre-set combinations of background and fonts
    • Quick and easy

Custom Design Considerations

  • Simplicity
    • Moderate color palette
    • Clear, unadorned fonts
  • Consistency
    • Color and background graphics
    • Font style and sizes

Choosing a Design Template

  • Avoid templates with themes that don’t fit your information
  • If your content includes images, avoid templates with large background graphics
  • Streamlined templates with minimal background graphics present a professional image

Text & Content

  • Text
    • Facilitates presentation
    • Reinforces key terms and concepts
  • Images
    • Complement presentation
    • Illustrate or highlight main points
  • Tables and Graphs
    • Support presentation
    • Present information in a visually appealing way

Text Considerations

  • Keep text to a minimum
  • Use “white space” to set off blocks of text
  • Make phrase structure consistent within bulleted lists

Content Considerations

  • Keep content to a minimum
  • Use white space to set off visual content from text
  • Choose appropriate images

Text & Content Layouts

  • Text only
    • No images are needed
    • Images would be distracting
  • Text and content
    • Text refers to the content
    • Content reinforces point of text
  • Content only
    • Intriguing images intended for discussion
    • Complicated charts that need explanation


  • Allows presenter to control the appearance of text and content
  • Provides transitions between slides
  • Draws audience’s attention to the object being animated
  • Distracting when used to excess

Save Options

  • Disable Fast Saves
    • Keeps file size manageable

Print Options

  • Slides
    • Prints each slide on a separate page
  • Handouts
    • Prints a specified number of slides on each page
  • Notes Pages
    • Prints facilitator notes along with slides
  • Outline View
    • Prints the text of each slide


  • Consider your context
    • Audience
    • Purpose
    • Occasion
    • Ethos
  • Communicate Effectively
    • Simple designs
    • Concise text
    • Relevant content