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20 Basic PowerPoint Guidelines to Design Effective Presentations in 2020

No matter what kind of presentation you’re working on, make sure it's engaging and also well designed. Otherwise, you run the risk of dealing with death by PowerPoint and nobody wants to see their presentation flop. 

Rhea Presentation Template
Rhea Presentation Template from Envato Elements

To make sure your presentation is effective, there are a few PowerPoint presentation guidelines you need to follow. In this post, we’ll share those guidelines. We’ll also show you examples of engaging presentation designs so you can save time and make sure your presentation looks polished and professional. 

Guidelines for Planning Your PowerPoint Presentation

Before you start with the design part of your presentation, plan your presentation. Here are a few PowerPoint presentation design guidelines to follow when it comes to planning:

1. Decide on the Presentation Goal

Decide on Presentation Goals

First, decide on the presentation goal. Are you sharing an annual report or creating a pitch deck? Is the goal to increase sales or get the higher-ups onboard with a new marketing tactic?

Whatever the case may be, the presentation goal helps you decide what to include in your presentation and how that information should be presented. It'll also help you with all the other steps involved in creating an effective and engaging presentation. 

2. Create an Outline 

With your presentation goal in mind, create an outline for your presentation. You'll save time in the long run. Plus, you'll be sure that your presentation covers everything you need to cover for your idea or data to be understood. 

3. Think About the Slides You Need to Include

The next step is to think about the slides you need to include in your presentation. For example, if you’re creating a pitch deck for potential investors, sharing information about your company on an About or Team slide is a must. 

But if you’re creating an internal presentation to share your sales report, including those slides would be a waste of time. Instead, your presentation should focus on numbers and data as well as individual product or product line performance. 

Sparrow - Creative Agency PowerPoint Presentation

4. Decide on Visuals

Your planning stage should account for visuals that'll help back up your story. This can include photos, icons, charts, infographic elements, graphs, tables, and anything else you need to make your data more visually appealing. Envato Elements is a great source for a wide variety of design assets.

Once you’ve decided on the visuals you want, gather them all in one place so you can easily locate them. Don’t forget that you can create charts and graphs from your Excel data if needed. Be sure to gather those spreadsheets as well. 

5. Establish Your Call to Action

Finally, decide what’s the next step your audience should take once you’re done delivering your presentation. Should they email you or call you to set up an appointment? Do they need to send over information? 

Make sure your last slide includes your call to action along with specific instructions on what to do.

PowerPoint Presentation Design Guidelines

Once you've get your presentation planned out, it’s time to tackle the design part of creating a presentation. When designing your presentation, keep the following guidelines in mind: 

1. Keep the Text to a Minimum

When it comes to your presentation, PowerPoint should assist you in delivering the presentation. It shouldn't be the main source of information. Less is more, so keep the text to a minimum. 

Stick to one main idea per slide and limit yourself to using no more than three bullet points per slide. This will help keep your audience engaged and not zoned out. 

Minimal Presentation PowerPoint Template

2. Use Large Font Sizes

Another thing to keep in mind is that not everybody in your audience will be close to the slides. Make sure to use larger font sizes. Consider using 40 pts for headings and going no smaller than 28 pts for the content text.

3. Make Sure Fonts Are Readable

While we’re on the topic of fonts, avoid using script or decorative fonts. They're hard to read. Stick to sans-serif fonts for body text. To emphasize your headings, use a readable serif font. 

4. Use Color Sparingly

Color can make your presentation more visually appealing. But that doesn’t mean you've got to color every slide differently or use different colors for your fonts. If you’re presenting in a dark room, consider using a dark background for the slide paired with a light color for the text. It'll make it easier for your audience to follow along. 

Avoid using light text on light background or clashing colors. They'll distract your audience. 

5. Enhance the Data With Charts and Graphs

Graphs and Charts in a Presentation

We mentioned earlier you need to decide on the visuals you'll use in your presentation. Using charts and graphs is a great way to make abstract data easier to understand. So, don’t shy away from using them. 

6. Design for Wide Screen Formats

Keep in mind that most projector screens are optimized for widescreen 16:9 ratio. As such, design your presentation following those PowerPoint presentation guidelines. If you design your presentation in 4:3 ratio, your presentation will still work. But some parts of your slides might get cut off or not display properly. 

7. Be Consistent With Style Settings

Another important bit of PowerPoint design guidelines is to keep your design style consistent across all slides. This will reinforce your brand image as well as ensure that the entire presentation is visually appealing.

Batagor PowerPoint Presentation Template

8. Use Animations Sparingly

There's nothing wrong with using subtle animations or slide transitions to keep things interesting. But, avoid animating every single word or slide as this will make your presentation look amateurish and unprofessional. 

9. Proofread Everything

Be sure to proofread each slide to make sure there are no embarrassing typos. If you’re mentioning other associates or colleagues in your presentation, make sure their names are spelled correctly to avoid any awkward moments. Ask another person to go through your presentation and make sure it’s error-free.

10. Consider Using a Template

Akhara Template

Our last guideline for making an effective PowerPoint presentation is to consider using a premade PowerPoint template. A premade template will have a professional design. It'll also have all the slides you'll need: from section break slides, company and team slides to charts, galleries, and more. This will save you a lot of time in the design stage and ensure that your presentation looks polished. 

Presentation Guidelines for Delivering Your PowerPoint

Now that your presentation is designed, the last thing you need to do is deliver it. Here are a few PowerPoint presentation guidelines to follow for delivering your PowerPoint presentation:

1. Do a Practice Run

Before the actual presentation day, do a practice run. This will help you memorize the contents of your presentation, not to mention it'll help you build up the necessary confidence.

2. Test the Equipment

Show up early before the presentation and test the equipment. The last thing you want is tech difficulties or malfunctions that'll delay the start of your presentation. 

3. Maintain Eye Contact

Throughout your presentation, maintain eye contact with your audience. This will make them feel like you’re talking to them. Plus, it'll help keep them engaged and interested instead of losing interest. 

4. Ask Questions During Your Presentation

Ask your audience questions during the presentation. Get them involved or ask if they've got any questions that need to be clarified. Getting your audience involved is a great tactic for making your entire presentation feel more engaging. It also allows your audience to feel like they're active participants instead of being bombarded with data.

5. Don’t Read the Slides

The last bit of PowerPoint guidance we've got for you is to avoid reading the slides. If you read the slides you’ll not only bore your audience, but you’ll also come off as disinterested in your own presentation. This will make your audience disengage and forget your presentation as soon as it’s over.

Best PowerPoint Presentation Template Examples

Following the basic PowerPoint guidelines outlined above is a great way to ensure your presentation has an engaging design and is easy to follow. But there's no doubt that designing an entire presentation from scratch is a time-consuming task. That’s why using a premade PowerPoint presentation template is a great alternative. 

You can find thousands of beautifully designed PowerPoint templates over on Envato Elements. If you buy design templates on a regular basis, Envato Elements is a logical choice. You get access to unlimited PowerPoint and other design templates for one low monthly price. 

Look at some of our top presentation templates from Envato Elements: 

1. Galaxi PowerPoint Presentation Template

Galaxi PowerPoint Presentation Template

The Galaxi PowerPoint template has a clean and modern design. It’s versatile enough to use for all kinds of presentations and comes with five premade color schemes. The template comes with 30 premade slides based on master slides, image placeholders, and editable shapes. 

2. Buizi PowerPoint Presentation

Buizi PowerPoint Presentation

The Buizi is another minimal presentation template for PowerPoint with a versatile design. This template is a great choice for portfolio presentations and comes with 30 total slides, all based on master slides. You’ll also find custom vector icons and fully editable shapes. 

3. Aiony Creative PowerPoint Template

Aiony Creative PowerPoint Template

If you’re looking for a more creative solution, the Aiony template is a great choice. It’s very photo heavy. This is perfect for any presentation that relies heavily on images and photos. You’ll get a total of 50 slides and drag and drop image placeholders for easy editing. 

4. Agio PowerPoint Presentation Template

Agio PowerPoint Presentation Template

The Agio template is best suited for corporate presentations. It's got an elegant look and feel. Customize colors and fonts to your liking. 

Easily add photos using the image placeholders. You’ll get a total of 630 presentation slides designed in full HD resolution. 

5. Over PowerPoint Presentation Template

Over PowerPoint Presentation Template

The Over PowerPoint presentation template is a multipurpose PowerPoint template. Use it for corporate presentations as well as for pitch decks and webinars. The template comes with 32 slides designed in both standard and HD resolution. 

Envato Elements is a great choice if you need design templates on a regular basis. But, if you prefer buying individual PowerPoint templates one at a time, check out GraphicRiver

Find More PowerPoint Template

And if you want to see more beautiful PowerPoint templates from both Envato Elements and GraphicRiver, check out the following articles: 

Envato Elements: Design Without Limits

Design Without Limits

Envato Elements has a compelling offer. For a low monthly price, you get access to thousands of unlimited use PowerPoint templates, web templates, stock photos, fonts, and more. 

What’s more, you can download as many templates as you want and customize them to your needs. Sign up for Envato Elements and start downloading PowerPoint templates today.

Design a Stellar Presentation With the Help of PowerPoint Presentation Guidelines

Designing a stellar presentation might seem daunting. But once you’re familiar with and follow the basic PowerPoint guidelines for creating effective PowerPoint presentations, the task becomes easier. 

To save time while you’re designing your presentation, use one of our top PowerPoint presentation templates from Envato Elements or GraphicRiver. Why not get started today?

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