Microsoft Software

5 tips for working with text in Microsoft PowerPoint

Image: wachiwit/Adobe Stock

The finest graphics don’t make a presentation. Regardless of how graphic-heavy a presentation is, it’s going to nonetheless include essential text. With all of the grand formatting and animation instruments, you would possibly need to throw a little bit of a celebration and see what number of completely different fonts and the like you need to use. At the danger of spoiling the enjoyable, don’t. The 5 tips lined in this text will assist information you to provide elegant and easy-to-read content material.

SEE: Windows, Linux, and Mac instructions everybody must know (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

I’m utilizing Microsoft 365 desktop on a Windows 10 64-bit system, however you need to use an earlier model. For your comfort, you possibly can obtain the demonstration .pptx and .ppt information. These tips apply in each the desktop and net variations.

A notice on fonts in basic

Regardless of which app you’re utilizing, you may have three varieties of fonts from which to decide on: Serif, sans serif and show. You’ll must find out about them to decide on the fitting ones. It’s fairly alright to decide on the default, which for now’s Calibri, a sans serif font. It’s the default for a motive. Figure A exhibits an instance of those three font varieties.

Figure A

Image: Susan Harkins/TechRepublic. There are three font varieties out there.

Serif is old-fashioned: You’ll discover it in print books, newspapers and so forth. By old-fashioned, I don’t imply to demean it and say it’s now not in use, as a result of it’s nonetheless fashionable, however in the fitting medium — the world of print. Serif fonts have small bars connected to the primary a part of the letter known as serifs. This is a traditional look and finest used for formal or conventional content material. You’ll discover few makes use of for serif fonts in a PowerPoint presentation.

Sans serif fonts don’t have the small bars. That’s how this kind will get its title: Sans in French means with out. On display screen, such a font is extra readable, not simply on laptop computer screens but in addition on cell gadgets and tablets. You most likely already know {that a} sans serif is the only option for textual content material when displaying on display screen.

Display fonts are normally giant and make a visible assertion. You’ll use these for headings, titles or attracting focus to a selected level. This means the design should match the second’s temper, which might be troublesome to do. For occasion, you don’t need to use the Chiller font on a commencement invitation or a loss of life discover.

Now let’s transfer on to making use of these fonts appropriately.

5 tips for font formatting

Choose one sans serif

You would possibly suppose with so many fonts out there that you must attempt to use a number of, however don’t. Unless you’re a designer by commerce, select one sans serif font and use it for your physique all through the presentation.

If you resolve so as to add a second font for the primary physique content material, be certain the 2 are critically completely different. If they resemble each other an excessive amount of, it’s going to appear to be you made a mistake. In the top, my recommendation remains to be the identical: Stick with one font for the primary physique of your content material.

Figure B exhibits three quotes and their authors. The physique of the primary and third quotes is Inherit and the italicized title is Calibri. They go collectively nicely, in reality, they’re so comparable that there’s no motive to make use of two completely different fonts.

Figure B

Image: Susan Harkins/TechRepublic. Using two fonts appears to be like like a mistake, and typically you possibly can’t inform the distinction.

The second quote, the one on the left, makes use of Arial Narrow for the quote and Calibri for the title. The drawback right here is the quote font — it isn’t the identical as the opposite two quotes, and it appears to be like simply completely different sufficient to distract your viewers. They will squint their eyes and check out to determine why they’re disturbed by the slide as a substitute of listening to you.

You would possibly attempt to match the tone of every quote to a selected font, however don’t. Matching a font to the message is troublesome even for skilled designers.

Align content material to the left

There’s a spot for centered and right-aligned content material, however the primary physique of text isn’t it. We learn left to proper (in case your presentation is geared toward a language that reads proper to left, alter this tip accordingly). Fight the urge to middle every little thing, as centered text is the toughest to learn of the three alignments. Save it for titles.

Don’t use Justify to distribute text equally between two margins. Instead, go away the fitting edge ragged. Justify is troublesome to learn. If you may have paragraphs (and also you most likely shouldn’t) keep away from indenting the primary line to create extra readable content material. Figure C exhibits just a few examples. Which do you discover the simplest to learn?

Figure C

Image: Susan Harkins/TechRepublic. Use left justify and jagged proper edges for your predominant physique text.

Avoid vertical text

Just as a result of the software program enables you to do one thing, doesn’t imply you must. Vertical text is a nightmare, and I can’t consider a single motive to make use of it. You actually don’t need to pressure your viewers to crane their necks to learn one thing, do you?

If you’re tempted due to a spacing problem, rework issues so you may have sufficient horizontal house. Try to learn the title for the second quote proven in Figure D. Instinctively, your head tilts to the left a bit.

Figure D

Image: Susan Harkins/TechRepublic. Avoid vertical text.

Avoid crowding

The default font dimension in PowerPoint is eighteen, and it’s okay to go even bigger if wanted. Consequently, a slide can maintain much less text. That’s okay, however don’t be tempted to crowd extra text in by altering margins and so forth. You need white house; white house improves readability.

For instance, you may add two or three extra quotes to the demonstration slide, however don’t. Readability will drop and your viewers can be misplaced for a bit whereas taking part in catchup. Not solely is it harder to learn, however it is usually an excessive amount of to learn at one time.

Avoid text on a busy background

It appears so cool to drop text on prime of an image or graphic, till you notice you possibly can’t see all the text. There’s simply no approach round this drawback: There’s no coloration, font sort nor font dimension that can utterly treatment this example. Move the text. If shifting the text doesn’t work, then add a frivolously clear background to the text to dam out a lot of the busyness.

Figure E exhibits an affordable repair for dealing with text in a busy slide. I hope you agree that the one with out the background is troublesome to learn.

Figure E

Image: Susan Harkins/TechRepublic. Don’t place text on a busy slide.

These tips are simple to implement. Your purpose is to maintain your viewers engaged, and more often than not, holding issues easy is one of the simplest ways to take action.


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