Tried and true, PowerPoint has been the best known presentation software for the last 30 years. Its strength is often the familiarity we have with using it, and many other apps and services are based on its look and feel.
For the below suggestions, you can visit Microsoft’s PowerPoint support site to support your learning and troubleshooting.
The below best practices offer some best practices when preparing PowerPoint slides for teaching.
Start in the Slide Master view
Often, we inherit PowerPoint slide decks in courses and need to update these before teaching with them.
To make sweeping overall changes to text, themes, and styling, use PowerPoint’s Slide Master view.
- To get there, click the View tab.
- In the Master Views section, choose Slide Master.
- Once there, select the top most slide.
- This is the overall Slide Master. Changes here impact all other slides.
Make changes to:
- the Master Layout (keep titles at the top, text below);
- the Theme (bring in the template you downloaded or choose something simple);
- the font style (Arial, Calibri, or another sans serif font)
- the font size of each level of text (at a minimum 18 pt)
- any other universal components.
Then, close the Master view. Your changes will apply across your presentation.
Use a Clean Slide Design
Choose a slide design that has a simple, high contrast colour combination and design. Avoid over-designing slides, or reusing the same slides prolifically, as this can create banner blindness.
Conestoga has a PowerPoint slide template. Download your own copy and use it as a template. Use this to follow some of the tips below to adapt and update your presentations for the coming semester.
Use Default Slide Templates
Use the Insert tab to add a New Slide, choosing from the slide templates available.
- Don’t build Blank slides. These create accessibility issues.
- Make sure each slide has a Title.
- Change the layout of a slide by right clicking the slide and choosing Layout from the menu. Resize the boxes as you need.
Use the Notes area for Presenters Notes
Avoid “death by PowerPoint” by leveraging the notes section to collect notes for your reference. In class, extend the display on a podium monitor, in order to use this feature. Alternatively, refer to the notes on your mobile device, using the PowerPoint app.
Reduce Presented Text by using Presenters Notes
By relying on putting all text on a slide, you run the risk of overwhelming your audience. Use the presenter’s notes area to collect notes about key speaking points or questions. Save the slide space for active learning and activity anchors.
Add Alt Text to Images and Videos
Use images from open sources, and cite according to APA @Conestoga. Right click on an image or video to Format Image or Edit Alt Text. Describe what the image is about briefly – 6 or fewer words should do the trick.
Check for Accessibility
Run the Accessibility Checker in PowerPoint. Click on File, then Check for Issues. Select Check Accessibility. A window will open with any unresolved issues.
- Make sure all Errors and Warnings are resolved; Tips do not need to be resolved.
- Learn more about making PowerPoint presentations accessible.
These tips may help you get started with adapting PowerPoints, but you may want to extend your skills.
Check out the LinkedIn Learning course “Redefining PowerPoint in the College Classroom.” This course aims to provide some tips and suggestions for adapting PowerPoint to the college classroom.