Killer PowerPoint Formatting Tips

The scenario: you have thoroughly researched your subject, your content is superbly written and you have all the data you need. But creating the slides in PowerPoint leaves you stressed and despondent that it basically an 11 year old could have done better.

If this sounds familiar, here are tips that will make your life better….

1. Learn the shortcuts:
Knowing keyboard shortcuts will save you a lot of time. For example Ctrl+S will save your work, F5 will let you view the slide show and Ctrl+Z will undo the last action. F2 toggles between shapes and text. Ctrl+Y and F4 will repeat the last bit of formatting you did. Ctrl+G will group objects, and Ctrl+Shift+G will ungroup. Ctrl+> will increase font size, and < will decrease it. A full list of PowerPoint shortcuts can be found here.

2. Customize your slide sizes:
You don’t have to stick with the default PowerPoint size option for your slides. To alter simply go to Design, choose Slide Size and enter the dimensions you want. It’s wise to fill the screen (widescreen is now the PPT default instead of the 4:3 ratio that onscreen projectors favoured). Or you could go with square dimension if you’re using PPT for social media posts for example.


awesome PowerPoint tips

3. Alter the transition duration:
You can change the transition timing between each slide to be faster or slower than the default setting. Click on Transition and to the right you will see options to increase or reduce the timings. Do this in Slide Sorter View and you can apply to all slides at once (if you select them all!). You may wish for a morph to be slower, and you may wish for a fade to be faster. Use wisely to best suit your content.

4. Use picture borders:
If you have a range of images that vary in size or shape it can make your slides look a little messy. By adding the same style of border to each image you can add uniformity to an array of images. Simply highlight your image – select a picture border to apply. You can use Format Painter if you want to apply it again and again… (double click the icon to keep it “on”). Try to space photos out equally in a geometric pattern. You can sub in colour blocks if you don’t have enough images to fill the space (when using a grid).

5. Choose a colour scheme:
Loading your company colours into a palette is essential. Once done it will always be on your machine in the Themes Variants list. So you can apply in the future without having to type in RGB values. Using a palette gives presentations a consistent and professional feeling. To change the background colour of a slide go to Design, then Background and click on the style you want to use.

6. Use graphs:
Blocks of texts and tables full of information are hard for an audience to follow, instead create infographics and charts from Excel data. To insert a chart go to the Insert tab and choose Insert chart, you can then choose from different types of charts.

7. Line up your objects:
Lining up images and/or text makes slides look a lot neater but it’s often quite fiddly to do by hand. Instead, select each object by clicking the first and then pressing Ctrl while clicking on the other objects to select all. Once selected, click on Draw and select Align. You can then choose whether to align to the left, right or centrally. You can also distribute equally. Misaligned objects can be highly distracting for many in your audience. Don’t put them through that agony!

8. Turn off your pointer:
Another awesome PowerPoint tip is to turn off your pointer when presenting: Seeing your mouse pointer whizzing around the screen can be distracting. You can stop it from showing by pressing the Ctrl+H key during Slide Show view.

9. Create handouts:
Handouts can be useful for your audience to take away at the end of a presentation. To create handouts of your slides go to Print Preview and choose Page Set Up. Click on Print What and choose a Handout layout. Even better, if you style up your Notes Masters, and customise the Notes area on each page – you can give a really informative and useful leave-behind. (Highly recommended tip, read more about Designing Notes Masters in PowerPoint here)

10. Compress your slides:
If you have lots of slides containing a lot of imagery, your PowerPoint presentation is likely to become difficult to work with and might run slowly. You can fix this by compressing the media in your presentation for a smaller overall file size that runs much quicker. To do this go to File, click Info, and then in the Media Size and Performance section, click Compress Media. Or select any Picture, and use the Compress Picture function – you can do this to all images, or just the one selected.

We hope that these killer PowerPoint presenting tips will help you when working on your next presentation!
Keep reading our blogs for more tips.