How to Create an Outstanding PowerPoint Presentation

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated January 4, 2021 | Published December 12, 2019

Updated January 4, 2021

Published December 12, 2019

PowerPoint presentations are a great way to present information visually and highlight key points. It’s important to create an effective PowerPoint that highlights key elements, communicates ideas and increases the audience’s retention on the subject matter.

Learning what to include and how to format PowerPoint slides can make your presentation more visually appealing. In this article, we’ll show you how to make a PowerPoint presentation and give you tips for creating effective slides.

What is a PowerPoint presentation?

A PowerPoint presentation is a collection of slides used to inform an audience on a particular topic. Created by Microsoft, PowerPoint presentations are often used for business or educational purposes. Slides within the PowerPoint include text, images, graphics and other elements that help illustrate the subject matter. It’s important to create an effective PowerPoint to maintain your audience’s attention throughout your presentation.

You can use a PowerPoint presentation:

  • To persuade an audience to buy a product or accept your pitch

  • To present data in the form of graphs or charts

  • To show a visual aspect of a project

A PowerPoint presentation can be an effective accompaniment for meetings, presentations or pitches for small or large groups.

How to create a PowerPoint presentation

You can create a PowerPoint presentation in Microsoft Office. The following steps will guide you in the process of creating your own PowerPoint:

  1. Open Microsoft PowerPoint.

  2. Click “Blank Presentation” on the opening screen and edit it to your liking. You can also create a new PowerPoint by clicking “File” to switch to “Backstage View” and then “New.” This will give you the option to choose a blank presentation, choose a template or search templates.

  3. On the “Home” tab, click the “New Slide” button in the Slides group to create as many as needed for your presentation.

  4. To select a different layout for subsequent slides, click the “Layout” button in the “Home” tab to display the gallery of slide layouts and select the layout of your choosing.

  5. You can then add text, images and graphics to each layout using the toolbar.

  6. Once you’re ready to give your presentation, click on the “Slide Show” tab and click “From Beginning.”

  7. To go to the next slide, click anywhere on the slide or press the right arrow key.

  8. Once you’re finished with your PowerPoint, you can press the Esc button on your computer.

Tips for creating a great PowerPoint presentation

When preparing a PowerPoint presentation, it’s a good idea to create with intention, cohesion and purpose. A slideshow should include a clean design and key visual elements to help improve audience engagement. Here are several things to consider in your approach and an in-depth look at each of them:

  • Outline your presentation.

  • Create a simple template.

  • Be consistent with fonts and colors.

  • Focus on your key points.

  • Use transitions with caution.

  • Avoid sound effects.

  • Use audio and video if necessary.

  • Use quality images.

  • Review your presentation.

Outline your presentation

The purpose of a PowerPoint is to highlight key information. Start by making an outline of what you’d like your presentation to look like. Minimize the number of slides in order to maintain a clear message. Creating an outline ahead of time will help you stay focused on what to present to your audience.

Related: 10 Tips for Giving a Great Presentation

Create a simple template

Once you have an idea of what you’d like your presentation to include, consider the visual elements that could correspond to your talking points. A well-designed presentation is important in keeping your audience captivated.

Built-in software templates are often outdated and it’s likely your audience has already seen them. Make your presentation stand out from the rest by creating one of your own that is simple, refined and professional. Consistent backgrounds and slide formats will present your message more clearly, as well. The content within each slide can vary, but the design elements should remain consistent.

Be consistent with fonts and colors

A sleek template paired with consistent design elements can increase your audience’s interest and comprehension. Choose fonts and colors that correspond with your subject matter and make the information easily readable.

Fonts

  • Limit your presentation to two to three fonts.

  • Opt for sans serif fonts like Futura or Gill Sans that are easier to read on PowerPoint slides.

  • Choose a font size (at least size 24) that your audience can read from afar.

  • Use bold type and varying sizes for subheads, captions or to accentuate overall importance.

  • Avoid italicized type as it can be difficult to read.

Colors

  • Limit the number of colors you use throughout your presentation.

  • Choose a color scheme that fits your subject matter. For example, you could use greens and blues if presenting a topic related to the environment.

  • Use modern colors and pairings such as teal and red, opposites like blue and yellow or a color scheme palette like blue, green and cyan shades.

  • Use contrasting colors in each slide (i.e. dark text on a light background and light text on a dark background).

Focus on your key points

When writing the text for your presentation, focus on the most important material you want to cover. Let your PowerPoint guide the flow of your speech. Keeping your points simple will help your audience better comprehend your message. Make sure each sentence has a purpose. Consider adding short sentences to keep your presentation concise.

Oftentimes, words can hinder more than help when explaining a point you’re trying to make. It’s important to keep in mind that visual elements such as photos, graphics, graphs and charts should be utilized in PowerPoint presentations in conjunction with the text.

Utilize the right type of chart when necessary

Charts are a great way to display a data set and add another visual element to a PowerPoint presentation. Choose a chart type that best showcases your data. The following are suitable choices:

  • Pie charts: Used to compare percentages

  • Horizontal bar graphs: Used to compare quantities

  • Vertical bar graphs: Used to show changes in quantity over time

  • Line graphs: Used to show trends over time

Read more: Types of graphs and charts

Use transitions with caution

Too many transitions between slides can easily distract your audience and make it more challenging to understand your message. If you’re using transitions, use no more than two types of effects, choose simple transitions and don’t use them between every slide.

Avoid sound effects

Sound effects can date your presentation and distract others from your message. Your audience can easily lose focus with sound effects that are unconnected with your presentation. Use music only when necessary to highlight a point and avoid unrelated sound effects altogether.

Use audio and video if necessary

Audio and video elements are a great way to gain the audience’s attention and will make the subject matter easier to comprehend. These multimedia elements can often illustrate your point more easily and will separate any string of text-filled slides. Use audio and video that adds value to your presentation and doesn’t deter from your overall message.

Use quality images

Images are a great way to separate the monotony of text and supplement content in a presentation. When adding photographs or graphics to your presentation, make sure the resolution is large enough to fit within the confines of your layout. If needed, use open-source websites for high-quality images to add to your presentation. Select images that will strengthen your audience’s connection.

Review your presentation upon completion

Once you’ve covered every topic in your presentation, review your slides from the beginning.

A well-edited PowerPoint is a great way to add credibility and value to your work. Read through every slide as if you’re seeing it for the first time, check for redundancy and remove anything that doesn’t add value. Simplify your wording and edit for spelling and grammar.

A PowerPoint’s purpose is to highlight key points in your message. Practice your presentation, time yourself and use the slides to navigate through your speech. Know your subject material and when you feel ready to present, do so confidently. Your attitude and engagement with the audience can help them see the importance of the topic you’re addressing.

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