CIS4398: Independent Study
Summer 2002
Emerging Issues in Information Technology

PowerPoint Presentations

PowerPoint can be a useful tool to assist presenters in developing dynamic and creative presentations. Templates are provided to reduce the time needed to create your presentation and to present a unified appearance. 

Tips for Developing Effective Presentations

To make your PowerPoint presentation effective and visually appealing, please keep the following tips in mind:

Use a sans-serif font for readability. Suggested fonts are Arial and Verdana.

Keep fonts uniform throughout presentation. Use features like bold, underscore, italics, and animation sparingly and for emphasis.

Make font size (minimum of 24 point) large enough for everyone in the room to view. Remember that the audience will be comprised of varying age groups with varying eye sights.

Use font colors that are visually kind to the eyes. Consider the background color of the presentation. Use light font color with dark backgrounds and vice versa. Do not match light with light and dark with dark...very hard for audience to see. Be sure to use no more than two or three color choices. More than three color choices can create confusing slides.

Refrain from using long text sentences/paragraphs on slides. Use bullet points with clear, concise information.

Limit the number of bullet points on one page, no more than 5 or 6 bullets to a slide. Too many bullets can discourage audience from listening to the oral presentation because they are reading the slides.

Use minimal wording to state a point, no more than 5 or 6 words to a bullet. Detailed explanation of the point can be explained verbally or circulated on session handouts that expand on the points presented in the presentation. Remember, PowerPoint should complement an oral presentation, not replace or mirror it.

Keep text from running too close to margins and graphics. Provide a space between elements for easier audience viewing.

Set bullet alignment to be uniform throughout the presentation. Misaligned bullets make a presentation look unpolished.

Check for consistency of text including capitalized words, abbreviations, tense, etc.

Use graphics to break up slides with text. Pictures are great eye candy and help break the monotony of the standard text slide.

Use simple graphics and pictures in presentations to minimize loading time and improve readability. Complex or highly detailed graphics will be difficult for the audience to see and may slow the pace of your presentation.

Avoid huge file sizes by importing "small" graphics. Adjust the size and resolution of your pictures in Photoshop (or other software) before importing into PowerPoint. This will significantly reduce the size of your presentation file and speed loading times.

  • Open the photo in Photoshop, go to the Image menu and click on "Image Size." Reduce the Print Size and Resolution. You should notice a significant reduction in the file size. Average file size should be less than 50 kb after this process.

Ensure that graphics and/or pictures are appropriate for the presentation.

Create balance on pages that use both graphics and text. Ensure that one aspect does not dominate the other. Break the graphics and text into separate pages if needed.

Time the presentation to ensure that it will fit within the given time parameters.

Provide at least 10-15 seconds (minimum) for each slide that features pictures, especially if there are a series of pictures to be displayed. If the presentation moves too fast, it will confuse participants. If it is moves too slow, it will bore participants.

Make your presentation available on disk or CD to pass out to participants.

Use animation constructively. The animation features of PowerPoint can help emphasize points; however, overuse can make a presentation confusing or even induce motion sickness in viewers.

Electronic Specs
Use the templates provided below to create your presentation. Your file should be PC-compatible.

You are encouraged to use only standard fonts in your presentation. If you incorporate any non-standard fonts, be sure to send those font files with your presentation so your presentation will load properly.