Standing Out from the
Crowd
Effective PowerPoint Design
Adapted from Designing Effective
PowerPoint Presentations by Victor Chen
Effective Presentations
• Using Text
• Using Graphics
• Using Special Effects
• Introducing Subjects Gradually
Using Text Effectively
Make text
BIG
Make Text Big
•
This is Arial 12
•
This is Arial 18
Too Small
• This is Arial 24
• This is Arial 32
• This is Arial 36
• This is Arial 44
How to Check Font Size
• Look at slides from 6 – 7 feet away
• If you can read it, you’re good-to-go
Photo by Jeff Bettens
Photo courtesy Stock.xchng
Headlines bigger than text
• Headlines should
be bigger than text
– Headlines: 40-44 pt.
– Text: 24-32 pt.
Photo courtesy of Stock.xchng
Using Font Styles
• Never use all caps
– ALL CAPITAL LETTERS ARE DIFFICULT
TO READ
• Upper and lower case letters are easier
• Use san serif fonts
–Verdana
– Arial
– Helvetica
Make Fonts Clear
Sanserif font
Serif font
Easy to read
Hard to read
Use Easy-to-read Fonts
• Serif fonts are difficult to read on screen
– Sanserif fonts are clearer
• Italics are difficult to read on screen
– Normal or bold fonts are clearer
• Underlining signifies hyperlinks
– Instead, use colours to emphasize
Make Lists Clear
Use numbers for lists with sequence
For example:
How do you put an elephant into a fridge?
1. Open the door of the fridge
2. Put the elephant in
3. Close the door
From Chen, Victor. Effective PowerPoint Design.
Make Lists Clear
How do you put a giraffe into a fridge?
1.
2.
3.
4.
Open the door of the fridge
Take out the elephant
Put the giraffe in
Close the door
From Chen, Victor. Effective PowerPoint Design.
Use Bullets Effectively
Use bullets to show a list without
• Priority
• Sequence
• Hierarchy, …..
From Chen, Victor. Effective PowerPoint Design.
Keep Text Simple
• Follow the 666 rule
– No more than 6 lines per slide
– No more than 6 words per line
– No more than 6 text slides in a row
• Avoid TOO many colors
• Avoid Too Many
Fonts
and Styles
Do Not Overdo Text
Lindstrom (2000) states that each of the optic nerves
uses 1,000,000 nerve fibers to send information
simultaneously to the cerebral cortex of the brain. In
contrast, each auditory nerve consists of only 30,000
fibers. In the brain’s cortex, about 30 percent of the nerve
cells are devoted to visual processing, whereas touch
accounts for eight percent and hearing only three percent.
Humans experience the world visually, reading five times
faster than the average person speaks and registering a
full-color image, a megabyte of data in a mere fraction of
a second. In addition, seeing photos often triggers
emotional responses in individuals.
Way too many
details!
Use Bullets to Explain
• Eyes have 1,000,000 fibers to brain.
• Process visuals 60,000 times faster
Much Simpler
than text.
• Ears have 30,000
fibers to the brain.
to follow
• Words processed sequentially.
• Images processed simultaneously..
Keep Text Simple
• The most elegant design
– Uses same font throughout
– Emphasizes differences using style
»Bold, italic, bold italic, normal
• Or headlines one font, text another:
Headline Times New Roman
»Text Arial
Use Contrasting Text
• Use contrasting colours
This is hard to read.
This is easy to read.
Use Contrasting Text
• Dark on light better than light on dark
This is easy to read.
This is even easier to read.
Use Differences
Differences draw attention
• Differences may imply importance
• Use surprises to attract not distract
The check draws attention
Do Not Use Too Many

Differences draw attention
 Differences may imply importance
 Use surprises to attract not distract
Too many differences distract
Different Colors for Focus
• Differences draw attention
• Differences may imply importance
• Use surprises to attract not distract
This implies importance
Too Much Color Distracts
• Differences draw attention
• Differences may imply importance
• Use surprises to attract not distract
Too many differences Distract
Using Graphics
Do Not Overuse Graphics
• Graphics may distract your audience
• Artistry does not substitute for content
Be Consistent in Style
• Graphics have different looks
• Graphics and photos don’t mix well
Be Consistent in Style
• Graphics have different “looks”
• Use graphics that have similar styles
This graphic doesn’t “fit”
Use Big Pictures
• Big pictures imply
importance
• Big pictures are
easier to see
• Big pictures have
greater impact
Photo by Jason Hochman
Use Focal Points
• Focal point directs attention
To here…
Photo from http://www.sxc.hu
Focal Points Emphasize
• Focal point lead the eye
Photo from http://www.sxc.hu
Off the page…
Make Simple Charts
RAM sales after Vista released
Month
BuyBest
USA Comp
City Circuit
February
$ 12,652.446
$ 23,456,654
$ 3,123,456
Mar
$ 11,234,456
$ 12,654,321
$ 16,678,910
April
$ 14,321,444
$ 6,543,423
$ 12,123,543
May
$ 16,188,888
$ 11,654,545
$ 9,944,444
$ 4,736,799
$ 12,234,567
$ 10,876,678
$ 9,234,345
$ 1,554,165
$ 1,123,456
August
$ 8,732,355
$ 12,344,343
$ 12,123,456
July
$ 7,654,244
$ 12,207,222
$ 12,234,567
$ 16,678,910
$ 11,234,456
$ 6,543,423
June
July
Too much detail
August
Simple is Easier to Read
RAM sales after Vista released
Dollars in 103
BuyBest
USA Comp
City Circuit
12,652
13,457
14,123
11,234
12,654
16,679
14,321
11,543
12,124
16,189
11,655
12,944
9,737
12,234
10,877
9,234
11,554
11,123
August
10,732
12,344
12,123
July
14,654
12,207
12,235
August
16,679
14,234
15,543
February
Mar
April
May
June
July
Much easier
to process
Make Simple Graphs
RAM sales after Vista released
18,000
16,000
14,000
12,000
10,000
8,000
6,000
4,000
2,000
0
BuyBest
USA Comp
City Circuit
t
gu
s
Au
Ju
ly
t
gu
s
Au
ly
Ju
ne
Ju
M
ay
ril
Ap
M
ar
Fe
br
ua
ry
Too much
detail
Graphs Should Be Simple
RAM sales after Vista released
19,000
17,000
15,000
Much easier
to process
13,000
11,000
9,000
7,000
5,000
3,000
Fe
y
ar
u
br
ar
M
ril
p
A
ay
M
BuyBest
ne
u
J
ly
Ju
USA Comp
A
st
u
ug
City Circuit
t
ly
Ju
A
us
g
u
Use Special Effects Wisely
Use Transitions Carefully
• This transition is annoying, not enhancing
• So is this
• And this, too.
• "Appear" and "Disappear" are better
• Fade can be used (sparingly)
• Zoom can be used more sparingly
Use Animations for Effect
This is a photograph.
Too distracting !
This is clipart
Photograph by Randy Aryanto.
Keep Animation Simple
This is a photograph.
This is clipart
Not distracting
Photograph by Randy Aryanto.
Animated Gifs Distract
Surgery as a Career
• Requires substantial school
after baccalaureate
Distracting
• Allows you to work in
hospital or private practice
• Can specialize in surgical
area
Animated gif from http://www.animationfactory.com
• Pays well
Focus is on Content
Surgery as a Career
• Requires substantial school
after baccalaureate
Not Distracting
• Allows you to work in
hospital or private practice
• Can specialize in surgical
area
• Pays well
Photo from http://www.photos.com
Surprise Emphasizes
• Differences draw attention
• Differences may imply importance
• Use surprises to attract not distract
This surprise attracts
Do not Overdo “Surprise”
• Differences draw attention
• Differences may imply importance
• Use surprises to attract not distract
These distract
Use Sound Carefully
• Sound effects may distract too
• Narration or soft background music better
Introduce Content Gradually
Advance Organizer
data
data
Integrative
Reconciliation
data
data data
data data
Integrative
Integrative
Reconciliation Reconciliation
Too
much
at
once
data
data
data
data
data
data
Integrative Reconciliation
data
data data
data
data data data data
data data data data data
data
data data
Slide courtesy of Dr. Howard Jones
Advance Organizer
data
data
data data
data data
Integrative
Reconciliation
Integrative
Integrative
Reconciliation Reconciliation
data
data
A bit easier to follow
data
data
data
data
data data
Integrative Reconciliation
Integrative Reconciliation
data data
data
data data data data
data data data data data
data
data data
Slide courtesy of Dr. Howard Jones
G-E-O Triangle
Both teacher
and observer
recognize a bad
lesson
Experienced
Teacher recalls a
rotten lesson;
observer
recognizes a
pretty good one
lesson
Goal
realism
Teacher recalls a
great lesson;
observer
recognizes a bad
lesson
Observed
Teacher recalls a
great lesson;
observer
recognizes a bad
lesson
G-E-O Triangle
Goal
Experienced
realism
Observed
G-E-O Triangle
Both teacher and
observer
recognize a good
lesson

Goal
Experienced

Observed
G-E-O Triangle

Goal
Both teacher and
observer
recognize a bad
lesson
Experienced

Observed
G-E-O Triangle

Goal
Experienced
Teacher recalls a
great lesson;
observer
recognizes a bad
lesson

Observed
G-E-O Triangle
Goal

Experienced

Observed
Teacher recalls a
rotten lesson;
observer
recognizes a
pretty good one
lesson
G-E-O Triangle Slides Courtesy of Dr. Howard Jones
Summarizing
• Use text effectively
• Use graphics effectively
• Use special effects carefully
• Introduce content gradually
Some Final Words
•
•
•
•
•
•
Communication is the purpose
Use text to support communication
Use pictures to simplify complex concepts
Use animations for complex relationships
Use visuals to support, not to distract
Use sounds only when absolutely
necessary
From Chen, Victor. Effective PowerPoint Design.
References
Atkinson, C. (n.d.). Sociable media. Retrieved August 4, 2007 from
http://www.sociablemedia.com/
Bajaj, B. (n.d.) Using text effectively in PowerPoint. Retrieved August
10, 2007 from
http://pubs.logicalexpressions.com/Pub0009/LPMArticle.asp?ID=543
Burmark, L. (2007). Visual literacy: Learn to see, see to learn.
Thornburg Center for Professional Development:
http://www.tcpd.org/Burmark/Books/VisualBook.html
Chen, V. (n.d.). Designing effective PowerPoint presentations:
http://www.uctl.canterbury.ac.nz/documents/presentation.ppt
Sommerville J. (n.d.). Peak communication performance. Retrieved
August 6. 2007 from
http://desktoppub.about.com/od/microsoft/bb/powerpointrules.htm
Using PowerPoint effectively (n.d.). Retrieved August 6, 2007 from
http://www.worsleyschool.net/science/files/powerpoint/page.html
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Effective PowerPoint Design