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PowerPoint Basics

Learn basic tips on how to create a Power Point presentation.

Choosing a Template

First, open PowerPoint on your computer. You will be prompted to create a new presentation using a pre-made template. Templates come with preselected font types, colors, and backgrounds, which can be helpful if you're unfamiliar with design or would rather focus your energy on the content of your presentation, rather than how it looks. 

You have the option to select a suggested template or search for a different template using keywords. For example, you can type "teacher" into the search box and a list of teacher-oriented templates will be displayed.

If you decide that you do not see a template that you like, select a blank presentation. Then select the design tab and look for templates there. Each template has a recommended font color. For darker backgrounds try to select lighter font colors and for lighter backgrounds try to select darker font colors. 


Be Consistent

Be consistent with the selection of the template or design. This allows for a more professional look for the presentation. Remember that you want your presentation to be visually interesting to the audience, but not distracting. If you choose to show more than one template in your presentation, try to choose templates that are similar to each other (for instance, both templates have green backgrounds).

Below is an example of one presentation with multiple templates: 


Background Images

Instead of using a template from the Design tab, an image can be used as the background of a slide. Watch the video below to see how to add a background image to your presentation.

Choosing a Font Face

When selecting a font, there are a few things you should keep in mind:

  1. Is my font visible?
    • Dark fonts on dark backgrounds or light fonts on light backgrounds won't be easy for your audience to read. Similarly, if text is too small to read, your audience may not be able to absorb vital information from your presentation.
  2. Is my font easy to read?
    • Fonts that are difficult to read will lower the effectiveness of your presentation. For instance, a font is in a script or cursive-type style, many people find cursive difficult to read and understand. You should choose fonts that are easiest to read, for example, Times New Roman or Verdana.
    • In addition, making your font color very bright or neon colors will make the text difficult to read, as the color of the font will clash with the background of the presentation. Text should be neutral colors, such as black (for a light background) or white (for a dark background), with neutral colors like green or blue as accent colors to add emphasis and make your presentation more visually interesting (as shown in the image below).
  3. Does my font match the tone of the presentation?
    • Some fonts are more professional than others. For example, Lucida Sans is a professional font face used in many business presentations. Comic Sans, on the other hand, is a font face that is generally considered to be more "unprofessional." 
  4. Does my font match the template I've chosen?
    • Certain fonts may have a different "style" than your presentation. Courier New looks like newspaper type. That may be an effective and visually interesting font if you were giving a journalism presentation, but in a presentation about a play or historical event, it may be distracting. It also may clash with the template you've chosen for your presentation.