Although PowerPoint has been around for 26 years, many users may not know even the most fundamental strategies for flawless design within the program. To aid those who may not be 100% confident in their ability to navigate through some parts of the presentation design platform, our team of expert designers compiled what they believe to be the top 4 PowerPoint best practices every presenter should know.

1. Avoid skewing elements

Oftentimes, designers will receive a presentation with photos on the slides that just don’t look quite right – either because they are pixelated, sized incorrectly, or some other kind of distortion. The good thing is that there is a simple way to avoid skewing any elements you insert into PowerPoint. When you go to resize an image, make sure you are pressing the SHIFT key at the same time as you are dragging the image handles. You can also move, rotate, change image proportions, and add text within PowerPoint.

2. Removing shadows 

Sometimes, a presenter may wish to add shadows to a certain element in his or her presentation to produce depth. However, you might want to eliminate those shadows to increase readability for your audience. Here’s what you should do:

Select the shape by clicking it.

Navigate to the menu bar and click Format.

Press the option Shape Effects under the Shape Styles

In the dropdown menu, select Shadow.

Finally, click No Shadow and it will disappear.

3. Applying proper alignment and spacing

If your presentation contains several instances of Inappropriate alignment and spacing, your audience will sense that something is wrong with it, even if they themselves don’t know the intricacies of PowerPoint. Use the following 4 methods to create a cleaner looking presentation:

Align: Select all of the objects you want to align on a slice, go to the menu bar and select Arrange, then choose the manner with which you want to align the elements (left, top, right, middle, center, or bottom).

Distribute: First, select an object. Then, navigate to the menu bar and select Arrange. From there, you will choose to distribute the object vertically or horizontally.

Group: Again, you will select the object(s), go to the Arrange section on the menu bar, and select Arrange. Align the objects following the steps explained above.

Why use align and distribute? These tools can help easily and equally space out icons and logos, or any other element on a particular slide.

4. Creating a consistent commenting system

This tip is probably most useful if you are sending your slides to another person to edit and redesign, however, it can drastically improve internal communications regarding any presentation if more than one person within the company is working on the project. At Ethos3, our designers really love when our clients use only one system of commenting. Whether you want to post your comments in the speakers notes, in comment boxes on the slides, or any other method, the most important practice is that you choose just one area. This will not only help us as we navigate your content and begin our process of crafting a presentation to match your unique vision, but it will also help you as you gather your thoughts and communicate your needs.

By having a grasp on these 4 essential PowerPoint best practices, you can set yourself on the path to creating a visually-compelling presentation with a professional and sophisticated touch. For more presentation design platform tips and tutorials, view the following articles:

Top Ten Slide Tips

How to Make Custom Shapes in PowerPoint

Microsoft Sway Tutorial: Intro to the Presentation Storytelling App

Prezi How-To Tips and Tutorials for Prezi Beginners

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