How to Make an Effective Powerpoint Presentation
If You are Not a Graphic Artist

by Charles Maurer

In a presentation, if people notice the graphics, then the manner of presentation has distracted attention from its content. This is fine for business, when the showman is really selling himself, but in an academic presentation, you want the audience to remember the data, not how the data are presented. For a presentation of research, fancy graphics are self-defeating. Your data will be the most memorable if you present them with slides that are as plain as possible. Here are some rules of thumb:

A good way to draft a slide is to use a broad, felt-tipped marker on paper. Don't write any more than will fit comfortably.

Note that colours on projectors can be remarkably different from colours on your screen. If chromatic accuracy matters to you, get to the room ahead of time and calibrate the projector. If you are using a Macintosh, this is done the same way you calibrate the colour of any display.

Never paste TIFF files into a presentation. Use JPEGs instead.

If you use TIFFs, files grow like Topsy. They can rapidly fill up a drive when you copy them from one presentation into another and another.

Always check the size of the graphic before you import it. It should not be more than a few hundred kilobytes. Compress any file that is larger.