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Top 10 Powerpoint Don'ts

Updated on October 3, 2012

Power point presentations have become very popular in recent years. The presentations are so simple to compose that at times some people forget that there is certain etiquette to presenting information in the form of a power point.

1. Colors

This is very important, never choose colors that clash or if you are going to be putting text on the slides be sure to use contrasting colors so as to make it easier on the audiences eyes. Never put dark writing on a dark background or light colors on a light background.

2. Pictures

Pictures are very nice and keep the audience interested, but they must be relevant to the presentation. I was at a lecture last night where the lecturer threw in a picture of her family and it was not connected to the presentation at all. If you are going to use pictures I would suggest that you use higher quality pictures since they are going to be shown on a big screen, and if you cannot find the picture that you want in high quality then don't stretch it to the point where the audience can no longer tell what you are showing.

3. Background

There is nothing wrong with a solid white background, aside from the fact that it may be a little boring. You can have fun with the background of your power points but if you are going to be creative give it something like a boarder or a few lines of color. Never ever put an image as the background unless you are NOT putting text on the slide. When you use an image as the backdrop finding a color of text that will show up nicely if very difficult and it makes the power point look amateur.

4. Text A

This is where the fun begins. When you are making a text based power point you have to be very careful. Never put more than 10 lines of text. You must keep in mind that power points are meant to be used as an aide, they are not the focus, you are. Many presenters see the power point as a wall to hide behind, but its not. If everything is written on the screen then you have no reason to be standing there talking. Use the power point as a que card, put up a few words and elaborate. This will keep the audience from feeling bored and having to read all the text that is being thrown at them.

5. Text B

Text in power points is a very big topic, which is why I have broken it into two parts. This part is about the size of the text. I have already told you to never put more than ten lines of text in your presentation, but if you must then you must know how to do it properly. Lets say that you want to incorporate a quote that is on the long side. There is nothing wrong with cutting it down so that it will fit better and only use the parts that you want. Just be sure that the text is big enough to read at a distance. Never use small and thin font they tend to not show up well, on the flip side text that is too big and bold could intimidate your audience. Always test various different sizes and font types to find the right one.

6. Font

I touched on this a little before. But try and test different fonts. Skinny loopy fonts are pretty but hard to read. stick to standard fonts that are basic and easy to read. Additionally if you are going to be using a foreign language you must be 1000% sure that the computer you are going to be using to present your presentation supports your language. There is nothing worse then coming to a presentation and not being able to read it because the right fonts are not available.

7. Animations

Animations are fun and cute, but they are immature. Small animations here and there are good and keep the audience interested in what you have to say. Just don't go over board, making pictures bounce and spin give off the impression that you don't want to be the center of attention and are really hiding behind the presentation. So cut back on the animation because you're topic is important and so are you!

8. Sound

Just don't use them unless extremely necessary. They are annoying and detract from your message. The audience is here to see you not the presentation.

9. Videos

videos are nice, be sure that you check how to incorporate them properly and that when you are using a youtube video that it is open and ready to use before you being. No one wants to sit there and wait while you look it up.


I cannot stress this enough. Test your presentation before you present it. Check for everything from spelling mistakes to too much animation. Make sure to use a computer other than your own to test. Check the videos to make sure they work, show it to someone and ask if they can read it, test the projector before the lecture beings and make all your final changes before you begin. Never stop to change things in a lecture it is just embarrassing for you and and the audience will lose their interest.

Using these helpful hints you're presentations should go more smoothly and audiences will be more engaged. Keeping up with new technologies is hard, but Power Point makes it simple to make great presentations. Just make sure that you don't go over board because it is so simple to make a "cool" looking presentation.


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