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How to Create Great PowerPoint Presentations (With Top 2020 Examples)

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If you're in business, odds are great that you're going to have to create a presentation at some point during your career. And when you do, odds are also good that you'll use Microsoft PowerPoint to do it. According to statistics from iDatalabs over 150,000 companies use PowerPoint.

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If you give PowerPoint presentations, make sure they stand out. Not everyone knows how to make a good PowerPoint presentation. (Image source: Envato Elements)

There's a real need for people who can create relevant, engaging PowerPoint presentations. But creating a good presentation is more than just throwing together a bunch of slides. Not everyone knows how to make a good presentation.

In this tutorial, you'll learn the steps to making good PowerPoint presentations. The steps can be used for any presentation, of course, but they're especially relevant to Microsoft PowerPoint. I'll provide some tips on how to use a PowerPoint template. You'll also see how to make a good slide presentation with Slideshare examples.

For even more information about how to make a presentation, be sure to download our free eBook: The Complete Guide to Making Great Presentations. It'll help you master the complete presentation process.

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How to Make Great PowerPoint Presentations (Plan, Design, & Deliver)

Whether you're going to give your PowerPoint presentation as a speech or share it online, you'll want to make sure you create a good presentation that stands out. Here are seven steps you can follow to help you learn how to make a good PPT presentation:

Note: While these techniques specifically reference PowerPoint, most of them work well with other presentation author tools as well such as Keynote and Google Slides.

1. Know Your Target Audience

The target audience for your presentation is the group of people who you want to listen to or view your presentation. Not all audiences are the same. Audiences vary depending on your company's goals. A presentation that works well with one audience may not work well (or at all) with another.

Researching your target audience is a very important first step for creating any kind of marketing or informational material—that includes PowerPoint presentations. If you really want your presentation to be successful, learn all that you can about your audience.

For some guidance on how to define a target audience, study the following tutorial:

2. Target Your Presentation to Your Audience

Once you know who you're creating your PowerPoint presentation for, you can begin to customize it for them. Start by choosing a topic that you know will be relevant to your audience. Ideally, your topic will be something that interests your audience or solves a problem for them.

A good PowerPoint presentations targets your audience A good PowerPoint presentations targets your audience A good PowerPoint presentations targets your audience
A good PowerPoint presentation will target your audience. (Image source: Envato Elements)

You also need to consider your audience's existing knowledge when writing your presentation. How will they take in and understand your presentation? 

Obviously, it won't be helpful to create a presentation filled with industry-specific jargon if your listeners don't know what those words mean. At the same time, if you're targeting a group of experts for your presentation basic information may bore them.

3. Start With an Outline

Once you've researched your target audience and chosen a topic that's relevant to them it's time to start writing your PowerPoint presentation. The quickest, most efficient way to do that is to use an outline. Plus, an outline can easily be converted to individual slides when the time comes.

Be sure to use language that's geared to your target audience. For most audiences, a conversational style works best. Also, limit the amount of material you put on each PowerPoint presentation slide. Cluttered slides are hard for audience members to follow.

To learn more about how to write a presentation, study these tutorials on how to write a speech:

4. Use a Professional PowerPoint Template

One way to make sure that you've got a great, visually appealing PowerPoint presentation is to use a premium PowerPoint template such as those available through Envato Elements or GraphicRiver.

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Here are some great PowerPoint examples from Envato Elements of templates that can be useful in creating your presentation.

In fact, there are hundreds of creative PowerPoint presentations examples available on Envato Elements

All you need to do is pay one low monthly price and you can download as many templates as you want. You'll have access to other creative assets as well such as WordPress themes, stock photos, and even courses and eBooks.

Rockefeller - Creative PowerPoint Presentation DesignRockefeller - Creative PowerPoint Presentation DesignRockefeller - Creative PowerPoint Presentation Design
Rockefeller - Great PowerPoint Presentation Design Example. Available for download on Envato Elements.

Check out some of our best PowerPoint templates with creative ideas from Envato Elements in this quick video. Also, discover a handful of helpful PowerPoint presentation slide design tips.

You can find some more great creative PowerPoint presentation template examples in this article:

5. Keep Slides Short

When it comes to making great PowerPoint presentations, it’s important to remember that your slide deck is a helpful tool that highlights the main points of your presentation and serves as a visual representation of the data and facts you’re sharing. 

To make a really great PowerPoint presentation, keep the slides short to avoid boring your audience and losing their interest.

6. Practice Your PowerPoint Presentation (For Live Presentations)

Great PowerPoint presentations don't happen without practice. So, if you'll be presenting your PowerPoint personally, set aside some time to practice it after you've created it. If you can, practice with a friend or family member. But if no one's available you may still be able to practice giving it alone.

For a helpful checklist for practicing a speech, study this tutorial:

If your job requires you to give a lot of PowerPoint presentations, you may benefit from improving your public speaking skills. Consider joining Toastmasters International to become a better speaker. Or you can attend a Public Speaking Meetup.

7. Stay Focused

While you're giving your presentation, stay focused on your topic. If you're making the presentation in person, it's easy to lose track of what you're talking about.

Focus is another reason why practice is so important. If you've practiced your presentation, you're less likely to get off track. Also, if people have questions, ask them to wait until the end. That way you can stay focused on your topic.

If you're creating a presentation to be shared online, focus is still important if you want your PowerPoint presentation to be a great one. Review the copy you've written carefully to make sure that it fits with your target audience and goals. Be careful not to include irrelevant information.

8. Study Great PowerPoint Presentation Examples

One great way to learn how to make a great PowerPoint presentation is by example. Studying great PowerPoint examples can serve as inspiration for your own PowerPoint slideshow. By studying great PowerPoint examples, you'll be able to pick up common design elements that they use, notice how the slides are laid out, and how the whole PowerPoint presentation is structured. You can use that knowledge to your advantage, and it'll serve you well when it comes time to make your own great PowerPoint presentations.

5 SlideShare Examples of Great Presentations

In this section, I'm going to share five great presentations examples from SlideShare to help inspire you to create your own great PowerPoint Presentations. 

Each of these great presentation examples currently has over a million views on SlideShare, so you know that they must have done something right. For each example, I'll explain what works.

Now let's look at some great presentation examples:

1. Work Rules - Great Visual PowerPoint Presentation Example

This presentation from Laszlo Bock, former Senior Vice President of People Operations at Google, Inc., clearly explains the importance of culture at tech giant Google. He does it with engaging illustrations and a nicely coordinated yellow and blue color theme. Notice how each slide contains enough information to make his point, but none are too cluttered.

2. Pixar's 22 Rules to Phenomenal Storytelling

Consultant Gavin McMahon brings us this engaging slideshow on the importance of storytelling. Drawing inspiration from filmmaker giant and master storyteller, Pixar, was a great idea for this presentation. It gives the audience something they can relate to. Notice the use of bold colors throughout.

3. 25 Mission Statements From the World's Most Valuable Brands

Does your business have a mission statement? If it doesn't, it needs one. Palo Alto Software solves a problem for their target audience by using the mission statements of some of the most successful corporations as examples (good and bad). The presentation also links to a companion article from company founder, Tim Berry, with more details on the same subject.

4. Congratulations Graduate! Eleven Reasons Why I Will Never Hire You

With the shocking opening statement, PR Managing Director Mark O'Toole is sure to capture the attention of his intended audience of young graduates. Add to that a bold red and black color scheme and plenty of engaging graphics and you've got a slideshow that's gotten over two million views. Incidentally, viewers who read to the end will gain some valuable job-hunting tips.

5. Thirst - Good PowerPoint PPT Presentation Design Example

The one word in the center of the compelling graphic on the cover of this slideshow from Jeff Brenman of Apollo Ideas draws the viewer in. As you begin to scroll through the slides, arresting images combine with startling quick facts to convey an urgent message: the world is facing a serious water shortage. This compelling presentation is sure to stick in the viewer's mind for a long time.

For even more great examples of good presentations, look at these articles:

5 Tips for Working With PowerPoint Presentation Design Templates

We've already mentioned some of the advantages of using a PowerPoint template to create your presentation. Here are three tips to make sure you get the most from the PowerPoint templates you select:

1. Don't Fall Into the Free Templates Trap

If you've decided to use a PowerPoint template, you may be tempted to download a free PPT template. However, downloading a PowerPoint template for free is usually not the bargain you might think it is. Here are some disadvantages to free PowerPoint templates:

  • Little to No Support. Often free templates don't have support or aren't updated. If you run into problems, you're on your own.
  • Lack of Uniqueness. Since free templates are available to everyone, it's more likely your audience will have seen the template before.
  • Limited Slide Designs. Free templates are often limited to only a few simple slide designs that you may or may not be able to use.

2. Look for a Reputable Template Provider

Your best bet for selecting great PowerPoint templates is to choose a reputable provider, such as Envato Elements or GraphicRiver. These services have thousands of creative assets available (including PowerPoint presentation templates)—all created by professional designers. 

Examples of our best-selling PowerPoint templates on Envato ElementsExamples of our best-selling PowerPoint templates on Envato ElementsExamples of our best-selling PowerPoint templates on Envato Elements
Examples of our best-selling PowerPoint templates on Envato Elements

Each template offers the flexibility and design options you need to make your presentation really unique.

What’s more, when you sign up for Envato Elements low monthly plan, you'll get access to thousands of other creative design assets such as fonts, images, and more. Each asset, whether it’s a PowerPoint presentation or a font, can be used in an unlimited number of projects and you can download as many items as you need.

You can then use these elements in your PowerPoint presentations and take them to the next level.

3. Do Incorporate Creative Elements

If you're creating a presentation, you might hesitate before adding a truly creative element such as an infographic or timeline to your presentation. After all, designing a creative element can add a lot of extra time and work to your project.

This is exactly where pre-built templates can help. Many templates include pre-designed creative elements that you can simply adapt to your own needs. Here are a few creative PowerPoint presentation examples:

Even if you can't find a template specifically tailored to your field, it's easy to customize these templates to suit your need.

4. Choose a PowerPoint Template That Matches Your Topic

When you’re going through the process of choosing a PowerPoint template, be sure to keep your presentation topic in mind. This will make it a lot easier to customize the template as you won’t have to spend time looking for extra elements such as the right icons or the right presentation elements.

For example, check out this great PowerPoint example that was tailored made with the architecture industry and topic in mind:

Picazo PowerPoint templatePicazo PowerPoint templatePicazo PowerPoint template
Picazo PowerPoint Template

5. Experiment With Slide Layouts

When you’re creating a PowerPoint presentation, take advantage of all the different layout options that the template offers. You'll make your presentation more visually engaging and interesting. Take a look at this professional PowerPoint example that offers a number of different layout designs for each slide type:

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Lorem Ipsum PowerPoint Template

How to Make Great PowerPoint Presentations Quickly (With PPT Templates)

It's easier to learn how to make a good PPT presentation when you start with a template. You'll find the pre-built slide designs that are sure to spark ideas and creative designs. But, how can you make them your own?

Have no fear: templates help you master how to make a great PowerPoint presentation. They're flexible enough to adapt to your presentation purpose.

Let's work with The X Note in this section. We'll customize two slides in five steps. This section will show you how to make a good PowerPoint presentation with the help of a template.

1. The Team Slide - Update Images

Team Slide Starting PointTeam Slide Starting PointTeam Slide Starting Point
A team slide works in practically every PowerPoint presentation to show key contributors.

One tip I advise every presenter learning how to make a good presentation PPT: remember your team! You've got to credit and showcase the key members that contribute to your project. Let's use slide 7 to do that.

As a first step, let's update the images on this slide. We need to add the members of our team in the image placeholders. 

To do that, start by right-clicking and choosing Group > Ungroup on the circle graphics. This helps us select just the shape that we can fill with an image.

Ungroup Images Ungroup Images Ungroup Images
Choose Group > Ungroup to break apart the profile image stacks so that you can add your own.

Now, right-click an image and choose Format Pictures. You'll see a new menu open. on the Fill settings, choose Picture or texture fill, then browse to your replacement profile image.

Picture Fill The X NotePicture Fill The X NotePicture Fill The X Note
Use File > Picture or texture fill with your image to update the slide with profile photos.

Just repeat this process with the other image placeholders. Soon, you'll have a totally personalized and people-focused PowerPoint slide.

2. The Team Slide - Update Text

Now that you've added your team's photos, there's another crucial step: updating the text! As you'll see in templates that help you master how to make a good PPT presentation, the included text boxes tell the story.

To update text, all you need to do is type over the placeholders. Use the pre-built text boxes to help you avoid the hard work of selecting fonts, sizing, and colors each time.

Updated Text in The X NoteUpdated Text in The X NoteUpdated Text in The X Note
Just type over the text placeholders to update your slide.

You can also delete any text boxes that you don't need. Just click and select them, then press Delete on your keyboard. That removes text boxes. Less is often more, according to pros that know how to make a great PowerPoint presentation.

3. The Team Slide - Update Branding

You might have noticed while working with this slide that there are a few objects that don't seem to be selectable. That includes the logo in the upper corner and text in the lower-left corner.

That's because this text lives on the Slide Master. To adjust it, we'll need to edit the lower-level slide design. Go to the View > Slide Master menu. Now, you'll find that you can select and edit elements that were previously locked.

View and Edit Slide MasterView and Edit Slide MasterView and Edit Slide Master
Use the View > Slide Master menu to adjust locked elements like the logo and placeholder text.

Consider replacing the logo with one of your own, plus adjust the text reading Presentation name goes here. That makes your slide totally customized. Let's move onto editing another slide.

4. The Data Slide - Update Data

Update PowerPoint Presentations DataUpdate PowerPoint Presentations DataUpdate PowerPoint Presentations Data
Update PowerPoint presentation data to show a numeric-driven story.

Let's switch gears and work on a second slide. Slide 27 includes a pre-built chart. This is a great example of easing the learning curve of creating a good PowerPoint presentation. Use the starter chart template with your data.

Right-click on the chart and choose Edit Data. You'll see an embedded Excel window. This table controls the data that shapes the chart. Just type over the start data to update it.

Update Data in PowerPoint PresentationsUpdate Data in PowerPoint PresentationsUpdate Data in PowerPoint Presentations
Update data in PowerPoint presentations using the embedded Excel window.

When you're finished, close the embedded Excel window. The chart will automatically update with your new data. You can always update data by returning to this same menu.

5. The Data Slide - Update Text

This last tweak is an easy one. Just like our prior slide, typing over the text boxes is all that it takes to finish rounding out the slide.

Growth in PowerPoint PresentationsGrowth in PowerPoint PresentationsGrowth in PowerPoint Presentations
Type over the text boxes and remove any that you don't feel reinforces the slide's key message.

As you can see in the example above, reducing the text helps too. I deleted the sub-headline so that there's more focus on the data.

As you saw, templates are like the answer key to a test of how to make a good presentation PPT. Use templates like The X Note to tap into the secrets of great PowerPoint presentation design.

5 Great PowerPoint PPT Templates for 2020

If you're learning how to make a good PowerPoint presentation, don't forget that templates are a major advantage. They're the antidote to creating designs on a totally blank canvas. They help you leverage the learning and design work of others.

With the help of Envato Elements, you unlock unlimited downloads. That includes PowerPoint presentations plus stock photos and graphics that really complement your content.

Envato Elements PowerPoint Presentation LibraryEnvato Elements PowerPoint Presentation LibraryEnvato Elements PowerPoint Presentation Library
Use Envato Elements to accelerate learning how to create a good PowerPoint presentation.

You don't have to learn how to make a good PowerPoint presentation design on your own. Instead, see what makes a great PowerPoint presentation when you use templates.

Let's look at five of the best PowerPoint presentations included with Envato Elements:

1. The X Note - PowerPoint Template

The X Note PowerPoint PresentationsThe X Note PowerPoint PresentationsThe X Note PowerPoint Presentations

Time and time again, presenters learning how to make a great PowerPoint presentation choose The X Note. It's easy to see why. The slides feel like a professionally designed presentation that a seasoned executive would trust. A PowerPoint presentation design like this instantly gives your content credibility.

2. Fashioned Stylist PowerPoint

Envato Elements Fashioned Stylist PowerPointEnvato Elements Fashioned Stylist PowerPointEnvato Elements Fashioned Stylist PowerPoint

Here's a tip while learning how to make a good presentation PPT: use on-trend designs. When your presentation matches trendy and modern designs, your audience knows that you stay up-to-date. That's why a template like Fashioned Stylist is so powerful. It instantly builds credibility and trust so that you command attention from the audience.

3. SINDE -  Business PowerPoint Template

Business PowerPoint Sinde TemplateBusiness PowerPoint Sinde TemplateBusiness PowerPoint Sinde Template

Templates like Sinde hold the secret of how to make a good slide presentation. With 30 slides and five color schemes mean that you've got all of the combinations you need to create a polished and professional presentation. You'll find slides like portfolio layouts that help you put your best foot forward.  

4. Oceania - Sea & Ocean PowerPoint Template

Oceania Sea and Ocean PowerPoint TemplateOceania Sea and Ocean PowerPoint TemplateOceania Sea and Ocean PowerPoint Template

Isak Dinesen once said, "the cure for anything is saltwater: sweat, tears or the sea." The last of those options is the inspiration for this template. Oceania evokes feelings of relaxing on the beach with the sea in sight. As you learn how to make a good presentation PPT, keep this in mind: templates are only the starting point. Use the ocean-inspired view to start your design, but remember that it works with any content.

5. Galaxi PowerPoint Presentation Template

Galaxi PowerPoint Presentation TemplateGalaxi PowerPoint Presentation TemplateGalaxi PowerPoint Presentation Template

Blast off to success with a PowerPoint presentation like this one. It's got infographics that help you master how to create a good PowerPoint presentation, easily. The graphics serve to explain complex ideas with easy-to-follow visuals.

Still want to learn how to make a good presentation slide? Try out even more templates. Jump to our articles below for more PowerPoint presentations:

Make Great PowerPoint Presentations (Free PDF eBook Download)

Our free eBook makes a perfect complement to this tutorial. It'll take you through the complete presentation process—from start to finish. Learn how to make a good PowerPoint presentation from writing it, designing it like a pro, and preparing it to present powerfully.

Free PDF ebookFree PDF ebookFree PDF ebook

Download our new eBook: The Complete Guide to Making Great Presentations. It's available for free with a subscription to the Tuts+ Business Newsletter.

Learn More: How to Make the Best PowerPoint Presentations Fast

We also have a number of helpful PowerPoint tutorial resources on Envato Tuts+. Learn more about working creatively with PowerPoint to make great presentations quickly

Start Making Your Own Great PowerPoint Presentations Today

You've just learned the steps for making great PowerPoint presentations. I've also shared some good presentation examples with creative ideas that could apply to your PowerPoint presentation design. You now have the information you need to begin making your own great presentation.

As we discussed earlier, one way to give your PowerPoint presentations a head start is to use a premium template designed by professionals. We've even shared some tips on how to design a PowerPoint presentation by working with top PowerPoint presentation templates

Why not download a presentation template from Envato Elements or GraphicRiver and begin creating your own great PowerPoint presentations today?

Editorial Note: This tutorial was originally published in October of 2018. It's been comprehensively revised to include new information—with special assistance from Brenda Barron and Andrew Childress.

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