Which are the PowerPoint safe fonts?

screen displaying various fonts

There are thousands of wonderful (and weird) fonts available, and only some of them are PowerPoint safe fonts. So choosing which font to use in your presentation needs to be done carefully.

First, consider where it will be viewed. For example, if your audience is in-house only and all of your company have your house style fonts installed then there isn’t a problem with using them (just so long as everyone has them installed that is…). However, if your house style fonts are non-standard PowerPoint fonts and the presentation is going to be viewed externally or on any machine which does not have the font installed – that’s where you could have a nasty problem.

Why is this a problem?

If your chosen PowerPoint font is non-standard (i.e. not a PowerPoint safe font) and the computer used to view the presentation doesn’t have this font installed, PowerPoint will automatically substitute in a standard font (e.g. Calibri) instead. This can make the presentation look very different (for example, text may wrap in odd places or fall off the slide altogether) and no one wants that.

What’s the solution?

Happily, you don’t need to be a font geek to fix this, there are a few simple ways to stop it from happening!

  • You could only use the PowerPoint on machines that have the correct font installed. But, this may not be possible if you are sending the presentation out to clients or if it is being used at a conference or other meeting where it will be loaded onto a non-company machine which does not have your font installed.
  • There is the option to embed a non-standard font into the PowerPoint itself. This option is limited though because it this only works for .TTF* fonts (not .OTF* fonts) and it doesn’t work at all when presentations are viewed on a Mac.
  • If you are 100% sure that your presentation is finalised you can save it as a PDF before distribution. But, again, there is a downside to this. Although fonts are embedded automatically in PDFs, suddenly your presentation will be a lot harder to edit and any nifty animations you have added will be lost.
  • You could replace the font with images of the text. Yes, this will look the same, but again you have now made your presentation a lot harder to edit in the future.
  • The most effective solution is to replace the font with a standard (safe) PowerPoint font (e.g. Arial, Century Gothic, Calibri) instead. You can choose the font which is the closest match in terms of your house style font for a similar look and feel. The downside to this is if your house style font is particularly quirky you may not be able to find a suitable equivalent. In this case you can refer to the above options.

What are PowerPoint safe fonts?

We have already mentioned Arial, Century Gothic and Calibri – there are more to choose from. Other fonts that are safe to use cross-platform are Times New Roman, Times, Verdana, Courier and Courier New – to name just a few. You can find more listed here: http://presentit.blogspot.co.uk/2009/06/fonts.html.  Something else you should bear in mind is that the safe fonts list also depends on which version of Windows is being used – make sure your font is safe in all versions if your presentation is going to be widely distributed.

*What are .TTF and .OTF fonts?

TrueType Fonts (.TTF) came first and were designed to work with on both PCs and Macs. OpenType Fonts (.OTF) were developed later to work in Adobe and Microsoft packages. The main difference between .OTF and .TTF is in the advanced typesetting features which .OTF offers. There are some extra frills such as ligatures and ‘alternate characters’ (also known as glyphs) available, that give designers more options to work with.

Further information

There are a number of webpages that will talk you through all of this in more detail:




With font selection it is better to go with a safe option.

Face-saving PPT keyboard shortcuts (when you’re presenting)

Keyboard graphic with PPT keyboard shortcuts text

PPT keyboard shortcuts

How do PPT keyboard shortcuts come in handy?

It’s a scenario you may have bad dreams about… You are midway through your presentation when the clicker or the mouse stop working leaving you stranded on one slide. Everyone’s waiting and you want to keep their attention… Luckily, you are smart! You already know these PPT keyboard shortcuts in PowerPoint Slide Show mode which you use to keep things moving seamlessly.


To kick things off, you can access Slide Show mode by clicking F5 (or Fn F5 on some keyboards) to start the Slide Show from slide 1.
Click Shift F5 to launch from the slide you are on.


There are several ways to move on to the next slide: press Enter, the N key (for next), the down arrow or the spacebar. All will take your presentation to the next slide. (Similarly if you want to move backwards, press the P key (for previous), or the up arrow.)

Take me there.

Whilst in slideshow mode you can navigate to a particular slide in the deck and by typing the slide number and pressing Enter.  This takes you directly to that slide.

Where was I?

If you want to go to a particular slide but don’t know the slide number, clicking Ctrl S within a Slide Show will bring up a list of slides in the presentation. If your titles are set up correctly using title placeholders in the masters, then you’ll see the slide headings appear in that list. You can then use the keyboard arrows to reach your chosen slide. And simply press return when it is highlighted in the list and you’ll be taken straight there.

Give me a sec.

Should you want to pause the presentation briefly for any reason, this is a great tip.  Perfect for those times when you need to ensure your audience is listening to you and not distracted by what’s onscreen. You can temporarily blank out your slide: type ‘B’ for a black out screen, or ‘W’ for a white out screen. Press any key to return to the presentation.

You’re just showing off now.

If you want to draw the audience’s attention to something specific on your slide but, as we know, your mouse has abandoned you. Try Ctrl P – this will turn your cursor into a pen on the screen. You can then use your finger on the mouse pad to move the pen to where you want it on the screen, and then click and hold on the mouse pad to draw on the slide with your finger. To get out of pen mode, Ctrl P again and you can carry on through your presentation.

Don’t have nightmares, you don’t need a mouse when you have the nous!

6 PowerPoint features that make PPT awesome

6 features from PowerPoint that make it totally underrated

PowerPoint, yippee! Well it’s no surprise that we think PowerPoint is a fantastic bit of kit, but some of the (new) features may surprise you.

1. It’s constantly improving!

PPT has moved on enormously from the bleak days of the 1990s. Microsoft’s constant updates means that new features have steadily enhanced the design experience since Office 365 began. Yes, I said the “design” experience…

Even though 99%* of PowerPoint’s users are NOT trained designers, the software boasts the following features:

  • Design suggestions. Pretty much as soon as you add a photo to a blank page, PPT’s side bar will pop up with half a dozen design suggestions for layout. You can choose one, be inspired by one to do your own, or of course, turn it off!
  • Icon library. What’s taken them so long? Yes, farewell clipart, and hello icons! These small items of graphical 2D and 3D art can be enlarged without any pixellation and recoloured. Just like a PPT shape in fact. It’s free, built-in, and well worth using!
  • Whizzy features. Additional transitions, zoom tools and animations. More on these in point #5 below. +Warning+ please use wisely!

* I made 99% up. It’s probably 90% correct

2. Save PPT as a video

Save your PPT in mp4 format. Simply “Save As” or “Export” and choose the right options!

PowerPoint converts the click animations and timings automatically. This means the video version of your presentation can play without pause.  Wait! If you’re picturing slides with bulleted lists just appearing one by one as a movie: stop that mental image right now. If you seen PowerPoint videos before, take a look at Presented’s vimeo channel. You’ll see examples of great animation in our PowerPoint videos.

Remember, videos can be any dimension, can be used to sell your product, show your company creds, and so on. Video marketing can be so powerful. PowerPoint also lets you choose from various export qualities. Low res for mobile social media shares, or high quality 4k!

PowerPoint videos can be good, really good. And, the key selling point here is that they are editable. Compare this to using a professional video making company. You’d certainly get a great result, but all future edits or simple text or stat updates need you to go back to that company and pay. When you have a video in PowerPoint and you need to make text changes: well, you have the software, you go ahead and make the changes and resave. You’ll be able to keep your videos up to date yourself. We think this is far more cost-effective.

3. PowerPoint as a fully hyperlinked and interactive document (and saved as PDF)

Need an interactive PDF? PowerPoint can be your base document.
Need an interactive “screen”, like a website, but off line? A PowerPoint screenshow is the answer.

Hyperlinks can be applied in PowerPoint to any object, shape or text. You simply point the link to other slides within the presentation. So, you can jump around a presentation – or a document – and be led by the flow of the questions arising in your meeting. Or perhaps your own curiosity will lead the way, or your specific area of interest, or your client’s! You can assign a “home” hyperlink to an icon, to return to Agenda slides, or main level slides.

Obviously hyperlinks are perfect for menu style navigation. But you can also use hyperlinks for extra detail in slides that you might otherwise skip over. For example, you might want to include the full spec of a product, but only to show it if the customer displayed an interest. This way you can keep the nice layout you have and not lose the impact of a great photo and the product overview. The spec list would simply sit elsewhere, and only be visited if you chose to click. If you don’t want to show it – simply don’t click!

If you’re an advanced PowerPoint user, you can combine hyperlinks with “Custom PowerPoint Shows” to best show mini-sections within a deck, but that’s a feature that’s too in depth for this particular blog!

In short, hyperlinks are great. More and more of our clients are looking for interactive PDFs and PowerPoint does a fantastic job in this respect.

Extra bonus content: HTML5

HTML5 conversion will maintain hyperlinked content. So when you want to share your presentation online, you can do really give the viewers an interactive experience. See this short example of HTML5 interactive PowerPoint.

4. PowerPoint has trigger actions

Closely linked to hyperlinked navigation is the world of triggers. By clicking an object onscreen an action is triggered. For example, a quotation could appear when you click a client logo. And then it disappears again on a click.  This type of animation action is simply called a “trigger”.

We love using triggers to reveal pop-out menus. They can also be useful for advanced animations within a presentation. They can be great for interactive quizzes too. For example, see our Pop Quiz on the link below.

Other examples of a trigger event could be a spec list popping or sliding onto the slide. If you want a video to play, without taking up slide space, consider storing it offscreen. A trigger clicked event could then make the video appear.

We have a short presentation here which contains several triggers. It’s a highly interactive PowerPoint slideshow, and it is full of features that maybe you didn’t know PowerPoint has. Perhaps you haven’t thought about how those PowerPoint features could be used to add value to material that you have? If you’d like to see the original PPT, just drop us a line to ask!

Triggers and Interactive PowerPoint designers

Get trigger happy!

5. PowerPoint has whizzy animations to help understanding AND look fab…

Everything in moderation – especially when it comes to animation. At Presented we follow the rule that animation must serve a purpose: and these are:

Preventing your audience from reading ahead: If you are presenting a list of bullet points (although we recommend you don’t!), then it’s crucial that the audience stays with you and the point you’re discussing. Avoid splitting their attention when they skim read everything they can see ahead on the slide. Animation helps keep your audience with you.

Avoiding cognitive overload:  Even when presenting a visual – a flow diagram, a business process – it’s still valuable to introduce that diagram piece by piece. Avoid overwhelming your audience with all the information at once. As a presenter you might be familiar with the content and not find it at all taxing, but for an audience seeing something for the first time is draining. So slide after slide of this can be exhausting. Cognitive overload is to be avoided as much as you can.

Attracting attention: Another good thing about animation is to know that movement attracts attention. You can use animation to draw attention to areas of the slide where you want audience focus. As we say: use it wisely. Don’t animate too many things: that might be distracting.

Being impressive: For those occasions when you must impress the room and elevate PowerPoint to the highest level (as we try to do) then you can use slide transitions as well as animation. A transition is how the slide changes, rather than how the objects on the slide animates (animation). Different transitions can enhance the overall feel of the presentation. The push transition for example can create a “big canvas” feel that you get with online apps like Prezi. PowerPoint now includes a “morph” transition. The morph transition means that objects will move, grow, and shrink so smoothly that PPT will look nothing like PPT as you knew it. For example, the following is just 2 slides: See our Clint Eastwood example here.

And still more impressively, PowerPoint can now handle 3D objects. Yes, 3D objects can rotate around freely. It’s going to change how you think about this software. If you have Office 365 you may already have this feature… and if you don’t… then yes, you should get 365!

When you want an Agenda or Contents page that shows hyperlinked images of your sections: ANOTHER cool extra that PowerPoint has is a way to create an agenda or contents page that features a thumbnail of the dividers in your slideshow. The thumbnails will not only hyperlink to each section, but they will also zoom in to travel there. It’s a nice feature, and so long as you design the dividers nicely and lay them out well, it can help your audience understand the navigation and structure of your presentation. Simply drag the divider slide from your left hand navigation bar on to the surface of your contents page. PPT does the linking automatically.

Dashboards are another PowerPoint feature. Take a look at this type of big canvas way to show the big picture.

6. PowerPoint is fantastic for print layout and design

I know, you should be using InDesign, but few people have the right skills let alone the licence for that lovely package. Here at Presented we also offer Word and InDesign layout services, although we don’t tend to shout about it because we are, obviously, PowerPoint specialists.

Indeed, PowerPoint offers a very good option for brochures. Unlike Word, but like InDesign, PowerPoint can follow templated layouts for consistent display. The main disadvantage is the lack of “text flow” from slide to slide, or text box to text box. If PPT could add a linked text box option for pagination issues then it could potentially take over from Word. Even with that limitation, we find it to be a very easy to use software for posters, leaflets, forms, documents and brochures. If you wanted to see some samples, please drop us a line to ask.

There we have it. Just 6 reasons here, but there are heaps of further advantages to using PowerPoint, and also heaps of further reasons to prove PowerPoint is both a very good software, and probably not the software that you thought it is.

Drop us a line if there’s anything we can help you with.

Raising the bar of video animation in PowerPoint

Advanced video animation in PowerPoint

You’ll know that PowerPoint can handle videos. But did you also know that we can also overlay text, illustration and music on top of that video? Take a look at the short sample below: the first part shows a “clean” video alone (the original version), the second part shows the same video with custom illustrations, graphics and text, animation and audio. All on top of the video. All within PowerPoint.

Advanced video animation in PowerPoint from Presented on Vimeo.

The video shows a short before and after sequence (51 seconds)

How do you enhance videos in PowerPoint ?

The simple answer is layers. The video plays in the background, and we show / hide various layers on top of the video, with animation applied. At times we pause the video and animate a static frame, then we resume the video and apply different effects. It’s simple when you know how!

Of course, because it’s in PowerPoint it’s very easy for anyone to edit in the future. Anyone can type over text to update key info and simply re-save as a video.

PowerPoint saves in video format as an .mp4: simply “Save as…” and wait! It might take some time, depending on the length and complexity of the file… and the speed of your computer! We regularly save high level PowerPoint animations as mp4 files so we can upload to websites, share on vimeo or youtube, and use for social media like twitter, linkedin and facebook. The above video is a PowerPoint file, with an embedded video, then the whole thing saved in mp4 format.

Hopefully this will give you some inspiration for your future presentations!

There are lots of ways to use advanced PowerPoint animation to really enhance your presentations. This is just one idea, we have lots!

If you need any help or advice – simply drop a line to hello@presented.co.uk.