You’re probably using PowerPoint wrong.

Regardless of your level of PowerPoint expertise, you’re probably not aware of the plethora of features available to users that make life much easier and allow for better presentation design creation.

So here’s seven things you should be doing, but probably aren’t.

  1. STOP trying to style everything by hand and START using Master slide layouts.
    Master slides make life so much easier. They allow users to quickly recreate a similar layout within PowerPoint which ensures design consistency. Our presentation video series highlighted this in a :60 Sec PowerPoint Pro Tip on YouTube.
  2. STOP emailing raw PPT files and START sending PDFs.
    If you don’t want anyone to edit your presentation, the absolute best way to get your slides from point A to point B while ensuring formatting stays consistent is through PDF. We’ve also written in the past about PDF compression for presentations on our blog.
  3. STOP using animations and START NOT using animations.
    We’ve been pretty clear on this subject in the past. Read more about why you should stop using animations.
  4. STOP using autofitted text boxes and START keep text boxes the same size.
    To our earlier point on Master Slides, turning Autofit off in the text-box preferences menu in PowerPoint will keep text the same size. If you have it set to “Resize text to fit shape”, the more you type, the smaller the text will get causing your text size to be annoyingly inconsistent from slide to slide. Watch our video on formatting text within shapes for more info.
  5. STOP using standard Smart Art and START styling it to fit your design and template.
    I think Smart Art gets a bad wrap. Probably because most standard styles for Smart Art are absolutely hideous. But at it’s core, Smart Art is really useful for organizing information in a visual fashion. Use the base of a Smart Art layout and then style the individual elements to match your template colors and typefaces and remove any drop shadows – which leads us to…
  6. STOP putting shadows on everything and START using shadows very selectively.
    Shadows are a default feature on many built in PowerPoint elements like shapes and Smart Art. Also, PowerPoint makes it far too easy to put a shadow on things, so naturally, everyone puts a shadow on things. Avoid this feature! The only time when you should use it is when you want an element to look dramatically different from the rest of the page, e.g. a screen shot.
  7. STOP trying to align elements by eyeballing them and START using the Align and Distribute tools.
    I can’t believe more people don’t use these tools. Align and Distribute are my favorite tools in PowerPoint and I use them almost constantly. Never trust your eyes to line something up – instead use the Align or Distribute tools to make sure elements are evenly spaced out.

Check out our SlideShare of this post here:

Back to you…

What do you notice people should be doing differently in PowerPoint?


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