Proactive Troubleshooting .ppt Tips

DO: To insert a picture, go to ‘Insert > Picture > From File’
DO: Use JPG and PNG image formats.
DON’T: Copy/paste images into powerpoint, drag images from the internet

DO: Use MPEG and AVI video formats.
DON’T: Use Quicktime movies.

DO: Embed all graphics.
DON’T: Links to external graphics files will break.
DO: Copy all media files to a folder with the PPT.
DO: Copy the whole folder for presentations.

DO: Use safe fonts like: Arial, Times New Roman, Courier, Symbol, Tahoma and Verdana.
DON’T: Use wacky fonts that may not be present on a host computer.

DO: Use Powerpoint 2004 or earlier and save the file as a .ppt.
DON’T: Use Powerpoint 2008 and save the file as a .pptx or .pot.

DO: Use RGB color for images.
DON’T: Use CMYK for images ­ you may get a red X.

DO: Leave some room in text placeholders.
DON’T: Squeeze text too tightly into placeholders.

Saving your .ppt document

  • For most of the time, and unless you're doing something fancy, all Turro group computers have powerpoint installed and so you should just use the normal powerpoint (.ppt) format.

  • You can save your powerpoint in a number of different formats, none of which are actually very good:
    • Quicktime Movie — unless you have rehearsed all of your settings in powerpoint, this will simply scroll through all slides without stopping.
    • Webpage — this format is good if you will be posting your presentation to a website, but not good for the actual presentation. Transitions do not seem to translate well to html.
    • Adobe .pdf — you can print your document as a .pdf, and this option is useful if you are presenting on a computer that does not have powerpoint. That said, the formatting and color of the slides is somewhat altered and would take tweaking to make them look correct. Additionally, transitions do not appear (for those who use transitions). To remedy this, you must print all slides (with transitions), and edit the transitions in Adobe Acrobat (Professional). This is ultimately a hassle because the transitions are slow and not as good-looking as directly from Powerpoint. There is not a direct way to export a .ppt as a .pdf on a Mac, but for Windows machines there are several freeware options to do just this. Luckily, we all have Powerpoint and we shouldn't be afraid to use it.
  • There is an option when you save your presentation to save it as a 'Powerpoint Package' - this will automatically include all of the external files you have included in your presentation (i.e. movies, images, etc.) - the file size will be a bit larger, but this is only because all of the images you have included are included in the 'package'. Use this when embedding movies, large images, etc.

  • If there are movies embedded, you should also use a folder that will keep both the ppt file and the movie. This will help in playing movies across various platforms (mac/PC)

  • It is better to check for "computability" to see if there are any issues when you migrate it to PC and vice versa. This will help to fix the issues you have in your .ppt. This is especially important if you are using any fancy fonts that are not available only in mac or PC versions.

  • Try to get the resolution of pictures down. Do not go beyond 200-300 dpi. It will make your .ppt large and will take lot of time to load. Also, there is a good chance that Powerpoint will crash when you have more than 100 slides.

  • Include page numbers on all slides for easy reference.

  • Designing your .ppt document
    (additional links below)


    When creating a PowerPoint presentation, content creation and design are the most important elements. It’s easy to focus so closely on those key elements that the details go by the wayside. However, those formatting details are what separate you from your competitors.1

    The way your presentation looks will strongly influence customers’ impression of your company. If your presentation is sloppy and full of errors, prospects will assume your work will be sloppy and error-ridden as well.1

    Of course, many other elements of your presentation need to be reviewed for accuracy, consistency and data entry errors as well, but the bottom line is that the devil is in the details when it comes to a professional looking presentation. Keep an eye out for inconsistency and errors and your presentation will look clean, credible and professional.1

    Design Choices For Effective Presentations3

    In designing a presentation remember: less is more. Keep wordiness to a minimum and don't crowd your slides. If you have a long list under a general heading, divide it into two slides or more and put a "cont'd" after your title in the succeeding slides.3

    Additional Presenter Tips:2

    • Arrive early
    • Check out the equipment, lights, and set-up
    • Get oriented to rooms, lighting, and A/V
    • Brush up on giving your presentation
    • Give yourself time to feel prepared and confident

    Layout, Design

    Layout — a good way to make a presentation look a little “off” is to have margins or spacing that changes from slide to slide. Be careful to have the same margins on each slide, to have the top line start at the same point and have bullets indent by the same number of characters. Pick a standard for justification, left, right or center, as well as for top and bottom justification.1

    Power Point Layout and Design:2

    • Avoid an illegible projection
      • View your presentation on your computer screen from a distance of 10 feet. If you are having trouble reading your monitor, the effect will be the same when projected.
    • Text placement should be consistent
    • Make sure there is good contrast between the text and background


    Power Point Background:2

    • Stick with a single and simple background. Too many "busy" items detracts from the content


    Power Point Colors:2

    • Select colors that are easy on the eye for several minutes of viewing
    • Keep intense colors to a minimum

    Color choices:3
    Keep things simple; don't use many different background colors. Unless you are doing a presentation for Crayola, keep to one color scheme. Often, gradient and semi-transparent fills can achieve a nice subtle effect between two colors on the background.3

    The contrast between text and background should be high to be readable. Think of light shining through your slide instead of shining on a piece of paper when you are giving a presentation. A dark text and light background combination is okay but I prefer light (white or yellow) text on a dark color background. You should take the following factors into consideration:3

    1. Your computer screen brightness
    2. The distance you are projecting your slide; i.e. the room size.

    The saturation of color will be directly proportional to the distance projected. If you are using a large room to show your material, your colors will be more diffuse than you are seeing them on your computer monitor. Remember that your monitor is a small screen, viewed by you at only 2 or 3 feet.3


    Capitalization — be consistent in your use of capital letters. In a title or headline, you can choose to capitalize each word, or just the first word of the sentence. In addition, you can choose to capitalize all letters in a word, or you can just capitalize the first letter of the word. In each case, either is fine as long as you are consistent and repeat the formatting throughout your presentation.1

    Dates and numbers — display dates and numbers in the same format throughout your presentation. Not just within a particular slide, but maintain the standard from slide to slide. If you display a date as day/month/year in one place, do not use day-month in another slide. For numbers, standardize the number of zeros or decimal points to be displayed across chart and graphs. Choose the format that best illustrates the information in a concise and clean manner for readability.1


    Fonts and type size — choose one main font for your entire presentation. You can have complementary fonts for specific types of data or sub headlines, etc. Be consistent as well with font size. Choose a size for headlines, sub headlines, body text, etc., and maintain that style guide for each slide.1

    Power Point Text Size:2

    • Projected text should be large enough to be read by all viewers (even the people in the back of the room).
    • 24 point is a minimum for many situations.
    • Remember, as text size decreases, it becomes more difficult to read
    • For individual playback, text size can be reduced to no smaller than 12-14 points

    Font Style:2

    • Select simple bold styles
    • Select a standard system font. This helps ensure visual consistency when the presentation is displayed from a different computer than the one it was created on.
    • Choose “Sans serif” fonts, such as: Arial, Comic Sans MS, Microsoft Sans-Serif, Tahoma, Verdana, Trebuchet MS
    • Delicate “Serif” fonts, such as Times New Roman may be more difficult to read when projected or used on the web.
    • Sentence case (use of upper and lower letters) is recommended.

    Text choices:3
    Use fonts consistently. For example, use the same font for headlines in every slide. The body of your slide should have no more than two font types in it, unless you have a special logo or graphic you want to include. Use a typeface that is easy to read so you can get the message across quickly. It is tempting to try a snazzy font that may not be easily read or may not really go with your message. Don't clutter up your presentation with too many WordArt fonts or Autoshapes. Use special effects to emphasize one idea. Also, all caps are hard to read if placed within the main body of your text. Try to use all caps in the title only, if at all.

    Choose your fonts well4

    Fonts communicate subtle messages in and of themselves, which is why you should choose fonts deliberately. Use the same font set throughout your entire slide presentation and use no more than two complementary fonts (e.g., Arial and Arial Bold). Make sure you know the difference between a serif font (e.g., Times New Roman) and a sans-serif font (e.g., Helvetica or Arial).4

    Serif fonts were designed to be used in documents filled with lots of text. They're said to be easier to read at small point sizes, but for onscreen presentations, the serifs tend to get lost due to the relatively low resolution of projectors. Sans- serif fonts are generally best for PowerPoint presentations, but try to avoid the ubiquitous Helvetica. I often choose to use Gill Sans, as it is somewhere in between a serif and a sans-serif font and is professional yet friendly and "conversational." Regardless of what font you choose, make sure the text can be read from the back of the room.4



    • Do not center bullet points. It makes the text ragged, hard to read, and hard to follow with your eyes.
    • Keep bullet points left justified.


    Power Point Images:2

    • DO use images to supplement your message
    • DO use images to emphasize your point
    • DO NOT use an image as a space filler
    • DO NOT use redundant images
    • Image File Size:
      • Save Image as
        • JPEG, GIF, Bitmap, PICT, TIFF
        • 72 ­300 dpi
    • Hint: Save image to desired size prior to inserting in presentation. Decreasing image size in Power Point does not shrink actual file size.


    Power Point Animation:2
    Animation can help focus the viewers attention. But it should be kept simple and used sparingly. It's very easy to get carried away and use too many animated effects which may result in a viewer confusion.


    Power Point Sound:2
    Sound can be used to enhance or detract from a presentation. Rule of thumb: unless the sound is integral to communicating an important item in your presentation, it should not be used.

    Things to Avoid

    Data entry errors can be costly for professional presentations

    In addition to errors that can damage your credibility and convey an unprofessional image, data entry errors and a lack of detail-oriented proof-reading can create real problems. If you have data in your presentation that conveys important information, perhaps to stock holders or potential investors, and that data has been entered incorrectly, you could be, at best, creating confusion and, at worse, presenting misleading or fraudulent information. Data, especially financial data, must be accurate ­ so check and recheck your numbers.1

    • Data entry — you cannot eliminate human error, so you need to check and proof the data entry for your presentation. Bad numbers can mislead your prospects or investor, confuse your sales staff, and just look unprofessional and sloppy. Data entry errors happen, so always have a second set of eyes proofread your content and double check all your figures to ensure an accurate and error-free presentation.1