Microsoft PowerPoint launched in 1990 and has become the most popular presentation software – being used by over 500 million people worldwide. More than 120 million people are using PowerPoint to create business and educational presentations worldwide – of which 30 million presentations are created everyday.
With figures like this, how do extensive PowerPoint users still make the same mistakes! A PowerPoint presentation can make or break your pitch. Make sure your slides are perfect with UpSlide‘s top tips.
Here are eight of the most common problems, along with practical solutions on how to avoid them…
#1 When you place contents outside the content area
This is frustrating because it means when you present slides, some of the information will be cut off the screen, there will be parts not printed off and by not keeping content in the specified area you create more clutter on the slides.
Solution: PowerPoint helps you with this by providing you with ready made templates and you can even use guide lines to make sure everything is aligned and consistent with margins for every slide.
To use Guides:
- To show the guides, in Excel, PowerPoint, or Word, click the View tab.
- Then check the Guides box. To hide the guides, uncheck the Guides box.
To add Guides:
- Right click on the slide.
- Choose add vertical guide or add horizontal guide.
- The guide then appears and drag it to the best position. For more precision when setting guides: Hold ALT + click the line.
Benefit: There’s a reason we have templates – content is easier to digest and read with space around it. To keep all slides consistent it is important that you keep all text, visuals and media within the contents designated. This will give your presentation the highest impact.
#2 Unaligned elements
When elements are misaligned in a PowerPoint slide it can be very disconcerting and not a good visual to see. Having elements aligned makes the slides look concise, perfect and professional.
Solution: PowerPoint offers a tool to help arrange elements be it images or text called Arrange and Distribute.
To use Arrange and Distribute:
- To show the arrange function, in Excel, PowerPoint, or Word, click the Home tab.
- Select the elements you want to arrange.
- Click on Arrange -> Position Objects -> Align.
- Then choose the option which you find best.
- Click on Arrange -> Position Objects -> Distribute.
- Then choose the option which you find best and that’s it.
Benefit: When creating slides every item should be aligned to the left and distributed vertically – and you should respect the margin. This makes the slide clean and easy to read.
#3 Non-Brand Colours
The one aspect of designing that has always been a pain for many marketing pros is matching their design work with the same colors used in their branding. By using non brand colours you show unprofessionalism and a bad image for your company!
Solution: UpSlide always recommend using a color palette when you build slides. You will get your work done faster, enjoy building the slides more and the slides will look more professional. This can be quite easily set in PowerPoint, Word and Excel. If you have a colour palette already set up then use it!
If you don’t have a colour palette – then this is how you set it up:
- On the Design tab, click Colors.
- Then click Customize Colors.
- Add your brand colours using RGB #.
- Name it as your Brand and save the new palette.
- Now you can reuse this palette every time you create a new Office document.
Benefit: If you are designing a corporate PowerPoint presentation for a brand then following the visual identity guideline is a must. Brand colours associate with loyalty and easy recognition – they are there for a reason so use them!
#4 Using too many bullet points
Bullet points make information more difficult to read and remember – slides with visuals are undeniably more effective than slides with text. Too many bullet points clutter a slide and take the audience’s focus away from listening to you.
Solution: Don’t use too many bullet points – instead use text levels and different slides to break up focus points. UpSlide suggest using icons for the most impactful effect. These are sites where you can find and use icons in your presentations:
Benefit: By using visuals to break up text, it allows people to really understand the point you are making and for everything to be clearly and easily displayed.
#5 Too much content in one slide
Never put too many ideas on one slide, if there is too much going on nobody will understand what they are meant to focus on and what is the main point you are emphasising! If you cramp a slide full of text, images, charts or other media you lose people’s attention and nothing will be absorbed by your audience.
Solution: The way to design a strong presentation slide is to:
- Have no more than six lines of text per slide.
- Have short, clear headings separate from the rest of the text.
- Use words or short phrases rather than long sentences.
- Use a large font.
Benefit: By using less words on your slides, it means people will focus more on what you are saying and the slide will only reflect the main point you want them to takeaway.
#6 Punctuation Errors
When you see double spaces or punctuation errors it shows unproffesionalism. Placeholders are often used to remind the author to insert the correct information especially when using templates however as it is in the text – people can often forget to replace the placeholders with the information!
Solution: These errors are often hard to detect. PowerPoint allows you to use the ‘Find & Replace’ function to help fix these errors.
How to use Find & Replace to fix double space errors:
- Launch the Replace function.
- Click to place your cursor in the Find what field, then press the Space bar twice.
- Click to place your cursor in the Replace with field, then press the Space bar once.
- Click Replace All.
Benefit: Any presentation for a company should be perfect and professional – to achieve this you need to ensure mistakes like spacing or empty placeholders aren’t prevalent!
#7 Issues with formatting when you copy and paste slides
When you copy paste slides from Presentation A to Presentation B, a lot of things can go wrong and you might have to manually change the layouts of each slide, one-by-one, remove the master and layouts created by copy/pasting etc and much more. This is time consuming and painful!
Solution: When you want to copy slides and paste them in a presentation with a different style and format – CTRL + A and copy all the content and then paste it in the new slide. Do not copy slide and then paste slide – as this is where you see all the formatting errors.
Benefit: This is super useful when a company changes their visual identity and old contents have to be adapted or inseted into new. A tool called Slide Converter enables you to convert a set of slides from one presentation master to another. Start your free trial of UpSlide and try Slide Converter here.
#8 Not using the correct text formats
If you use different bullet points, text formatting, text spacing and text margins in the same PowerPoint presentation – it just looks inconsistent and unprofessional. This makes you look like an amateur and gives your presentation less credibility.
Solution: Use the layouts available in your PowerPoint so you know you are using the correct slide.
If your slide doesn’t have the correct formatting:
- Right click on the slide.
- This will display all the layouts available – with different types of placeholders in their correct format.
- Choose the best layout to match your content.
Benefit: You gain consistency throughout your slides and it saves you time from constantly editing the different text levels.
If you spend alot of your time creating and reviewing slides then it’s highly likely you will have come across these obvious but very common mistakes made in PowerPoint. We hope you find our tips to be useful!
UpSlide contains a feature which will check, review, correct and fix any of these mistakes in your presentation….
What is Slide Check?
Slide Check, by UpSlide, reviews your presentation to ensure your content is up-to-date and meets design quality standards. Warnings are grouped by slides and by type. Hovering over a warning displays a preview of what is wrong directly on your slide. The list of potential warnings are:
- Double Spaces
- Misaligned Shapes
- Empty Placeholders
- Outdated library slides or shapes
- Punctuation spacing