PowerPoint Slide Styles               


        PowerPoint offers a lot of style templates to start out with - and the sheer number of styles can be intimidating!  However, not all styles are created equal.  There are some good rules of thumb to use when picking or creating a style, to keep the audience happy, visually pleased, and not confused.  So here we go...

  • Colors - When choosing colors in PowerPoint slides, the key is CONTRAST.  Whether it's a dark or a light background, make it pretty darn dark or light - and make the text pretty darn opposite.  Some colors can be tricky - if you want red, don't use pure red, but instead a darker or lighter red, depending on the situation.  Studies show that the most popular PowerPoint style is a dark blue background with light yellow text, by the way.  Huh.  One more thing - a good way to use colors tastefully is to LIMIT the number of colors involved.  Sure, use a different color for emphasis, for example - but only ONE other color.  Once your slide looks like a rainbow, you look like a fool!


  • Text - There should never be that much text on a PowerPoint slide, but let's make sure that whatever text there is looks good.  Other than the contrast mentioned above, make the text large enough to see (at least 24-point) and a legible font (non-serif fonts like Arial tend to read best).  Finally, I'd like to suggest a rule of thumb for all you bullet-point-list people out there:  6x6.  That is, have NO MORE than 6 lines of text on a slide, and NO MORE than 6 words per line.


  • Standardize - Whatever style you choose, make sure it stays the same across all the slides!  Consistent titling, coloring, fonts, capitalization, logos in the corners, etc.  You'd be surprised how much this rule is violated.  To help, try exploring the "master slide" feature in PowerPoint - it can automatically standardize any style changes across all slides.  Very useful!  Enjoy.


  • Navigation - It can help your audience to "know where they are" in your speech;  so, when moving from one section to another, go back to a "map" of the speech, and update them on where they are.  The slide below, for example, might be in between the "Define" and "Design" sections of a speech;  the audience then knows that the "Design" section is what's about to be done, and that "Deliver" will come after that.  


     Now that you know how to make your slides look good, what should you put in them, and how?  Let's find out - move on to Content...