American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

PowerPoint Do's and Don'ts

Following are some simple tips for making the best use of PowerPoint to enhance your presentations.

Do's

Use legible type size. Titles should be at least 36 to 40 points, bulleted text or body copy at least 24 points.

Be brief. A good rule of thumb is to cut paragraphs down to sentences, sentences into phrases, and phrases into keywords.

Use key words to help audience focus on your message.

Enhance readability. Don't crowd your slides. Use normal case (not all caps) and punctuate sparingly.

Make every word and image count. Each one should help convey your message in the strongest possible way.

Limit the number of slides. A good rule of thumb is one slide per minute.

Don'ts

Don't overuse special effects. Use sound, animation, and other effects to emphasize major points, but don't let them become distracting.

Don't use more than eight words per line or eight lines per slide.

Don't use too many words or include non-essential information.

Avoid hard-to-read color combinations such as red/green, brown/green, blue/black, blue/purple. Aim for high contrast between background and text.

After you've created your slides, go back and edit. Take out sentences and replace them with key words and phases. Take out slides you can live without. Take out clip art, if you have used more than you really need. Take off punctuation. Cut your presentation by as much as half so that your slides are streamlined.

Remember, PowerPoint is a tool to enhance your presentation. Don't let it overwhelm you and your message!

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