Things from the mind of Xynth and Koari

PowerPoint: the unspoken rules

PowerPoint: The unspoken rules

Be Consistent.

Use one to two fonts only, keep the colors of titles and body text the same throughout each slide. When you think you are done, check each slide for consistency in text size and position, color use and formatting. You’ll want to check things like, did you end each point with a period or not?


Never put too much, of anything, on any one page. That includes images, text, accent colors, graphs, info & animations


You can make more slides, there is no fee. Respect the text and image borders, refrain from over-sizing content boxes.


Margins exist to help lead the eye, not as buffer overrun zones. Never go outside the slide. Crop the image if you have to.   Exceptions to this are when animating content to come from “off stage.”


Photo rules

Use small file sizes. Using PowerPoint to downscale an image does not decrease the file size of the image. Use a graphics program to resize, crop and compress the photo.


Text Rules:

Keep text simple.

A nice cursive script might look nice to you, but it can be hard on many readers. If you must choose a non-traditional font, it must meet these criteria:

1. Font is large enough to easily read. The more intricate the text, the larger it should be.

2. Font should not go above 45 pts (for headers) or below 8 (for footers)


Slide notes:

To support communication, information should be presented in as many ways as possible. Images, illustrations, audio, slide text, and written transcript of the audio. The audio should accurately reflect the audio notes.

Slide notes are also a great place to put sidebars, references and citations.



If you are going to use a photo, make sure you have permission to do so. Many government and private sites offer images that are free to use, and many more allow educational use of photos. Buy images from stock photography sites like If you use a picture you have taken that clearly identifies people, make sure that you have permission from the individuals that may be in the photo before using them.


Remember, you may not be creating the final PowerPoint, but how well you make your template determines how easy it is for your user to create a professional looking presentation.


Anticipate their desire to use bright, bold, even gaudy colors. If you supply them with colors that they feel are ‘bright’ and ‘energetic’ enough, they will not feel the need to find their own. This gives you a modicum of control over the final look of their presentation.

Anticipate their desire to fill the entire window with text and images. Using your background image, design a way for the borders to be subtly visible. They will naturally create within those areas. This can be done with lines, color, even the use of positive and negative space. But make it subtle, some images and diagrams necessarily ‘go outside the lines;’ don’t make that impossible.

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