Creating Distinctive Presentations in PowerPoint 2007 - dummies

Creating Distinctive Presentations in PowerPoint 2007

By Geetesh Bajaj

Content templates in PowerPoint 2007 enable you to create presentations easily — but using a template means that your presentation ends up looking similar in appearance and content to millions of others.

Here are some guidelines to help you create a truly cutting-edge and distinctive presentation:

  • Start with an outline. Create your presentation on paper first — or maybe Notepad or Microsoft Word. When you are not distracted by backgrounds and multimedia, you might end up with a stronger focus on the subject of your presentation. Then you can move the outline to PowerPoint and work with all the fancy stuff.
  • Look at the background. Avoid shocking and fluorescent backgrounds. Stay away from bright photographs as backdrops. Whichever color or image you use as a background, make sure that all text is readable and other content on the slides is visible over it.
  • Color combinations are important. Choose combinations that are both appealing and utilitarian. Also, use company-specific colors to further the corporate identity of your client or end user. For a sophisticated effect, try using black and white as your color combination!
  • Keep font sizes readable and paragraphs short. Many great presentations have been marred by long, 20-line paragraphs that no one in the audience can read. Also, if you have to use a lot of text, make it a point to incorporate white text on a dark background, rather than the other way around.
  • Avoid long sentences. Break your sentences into small points. Try different line-spacing options in your text boxes.
  • Avoid using ALL-UPPERCASE characters in a sentence unless it is indispensable. Unless you’re typing in a company or product name that you want to highlight, all-uppercase letters give the impression that you’re yelling.
  • Always cross-check any factual references in your presentation. Nothing is more annoying for your audience than a blatant mistake. Don’t point out mistakes for which you can’t offer any solutions.
  • Don’t get carried away by the multitude of clip art available with PowerPoint. Many excellent presentations have been made without using any clip art. In fact, the general professional trend nowadays is to use specific collages and subdued pictures instead of comic-style clip art.
  • Optimize and resize your images in an image editor such as Photoshop. Don’t insert a full-screen picture into PowerPoint and then resize it to a quarter of the screen.