Microsoft PowerPoint is the most popular presentation software used from university classrooms to the corporate board room. Apple's Keynote and Google Slides are worthy competitors, but few apps are as universal as PowerPoint.
While PowerPoint is easy to use and widely adopted, it can be overwhelming to get started with building a presentation from scratch. Each new, blank slide requires many content and design choices.
Fortunately, PowerPoint has plenty of time-saving features that help you make presentations quickly.
This tutorial will teach you how to make an easy PowerPoint presentation using templates that come with pre-built slide designs. You'll also learn how to use PowerPoint's powerful tools to skip the manual work involved with creating most presentations.
Let's walk through the steps of how to make a quick PowerPoint presentation using a professional theme:
5 Quick PowerPoint Presentation Tips
Here are five of my favorite tips to develop presentations quickly without sacrificing quality:
- Start Off With a Custom Theme - Unique PowerPoint themes are full of ideas for your slides. You can drop your own content in and save hours versus drawing them from scratch.
Use Ready-Made Slide Layouts - These are the blueprints for slide designs. Most themes have many distinctive layouts to choose from and they include placeholders for text, images, video, and more.
Reuse Key Presentation Elements - If you build a great chart, you can always paste it a second time and change the original data to build presentations quickly—without repeating yourself.
Plan Content First and Design Later - Before you open PowerPoint, decide what you'll say in your presentation first. The design options and themes will be a distraction if you don't have your content ideas in place already. Your presentation will come together quickly if you think content first.
- Remember, Less Is More - You shouldn't include everything you'll say on your PowerPoint. Slides are visual aids that support your presentation, not speak for you. With fewer slides to develop, you'll save time.
These are the quickest wins I know to create solid presentations without expending many hours.
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Now, let's break down those steps in more detail and walk through building a presentation in PowerPoint.
How to Make a PowerPoint Presentation - Quickly
Your PowerPoint file is just one part of giving a great presentation. You're likely doing research, reviewing data, preparing your talking points, and rehearsing.
With all of these preparation steps, you might be running short on building the PowerPoint itself. That's why we need all the help we can get when it comes to building presentations rapidly.
Here are five steps to creating a presentation in PowerPoint quickly:
1. Choose a Professional PowerPoint Template First
My favorite step is the first. Choosing a professional, easy-to-use PPT theme is the best way to cut many hours off of your production time.
When you start a new presentation, a blank side can be a bit overwhelming. You need a starting point with ideas for how to build your PowerPoint presentation.
If you're not a professional designer, it just makes sense to outsource your presentation's design to professionals. The biggest time savings that I've found is to leverage a talented designer's unique PowerPoint theme, and then I can easily customize it for my own needs.
The greatest value that custom themes bring to the table are pre-built slides full of ideas that you can add your own content to. Simplicity, for example, has 210 unique slide designs that act as starting points for your own content.
If Simplicity isn't your style or you want to check out more options, browse through this curated selection of simple PowerPoint presentation designs:
2. Review Your PowerPoint Theme Layout Options
Layouts are the built-in slide designs that are included with PowerPoint templates. Instead of manually placing your text boxes, images, and other content, layouts give you placeholder boxes that make the process easy.
The real value of premium themes is that they include countless layouts for your content. When I'm trying to decide how to present my information, it helps to have a number of visual slide ideas to browse through right inside the template.
To try out custom layouts, make sure that you're working on the Home tab on PowerPoint's ribbon. Find the Layouts dropdown and click on it. You can choose from a variety of layouts to start off a new slide.
For Simplicity, the author divides these into different sections, like "Team Slides" or "Slides with Images." Browse these categories and find one that fits the goal for your slide. When you choose one of these layouts, PowerPoint adds the placeholder boxes for your content.
For premium themes, the developer usually includes many pre-filled slides with sample content. Layouts are usually totally blank and just include elements with blank boxes. Both are handy for generating ideas for your presentation.
3. Make a Simple PowerPoint Presentation Quickly
Premium PowerPoint themes are a great starting point, but you'll want to customize them to fit your own presentation. Let's learn how to take the PowerPoint Simplicity theme and build out our own presentation from it.
For my example, I'm going to use the Simplicity theme to showcase the work that my design studio is doing to a potential new client. You can imagine this as being a showcase for your own business when you're trying to win new business or find clients.
Here are several key slides your presentation should include:
Step 1. Choose an Attention-Getting Opener
Above all, you have to grab your audience's attention at the beginning of a presentation! Getting off on the right foot will hold interest in your presentation.
One of my favorite presentation principles is called BLUF, or "bottom line up front." Have you ever sat through an hour long presentation wondering what the key idea was, only to find out minutes before it ended? It's much better to make your key point at the beginning, and back it up with the subsequent slides.
In the slide below, I've used slide 4 with my own image as my BLUF. A slide design like this is perfect because it includes a short, concise text box and a large image placeholder. The text box offers the value of my design studio, and the image shows a recent project.
Simplicity has a ton of options for opening slides. I typically look for designs that include short text boxes (no need to overwhelm with bullet points) and plenty of space for an eye-catching image or illustration.
Step 2. Introduce the Team
In my freelancing career, I've found that clients primarily hire based on who they trust. Above all, building a meaningful relationship with a client will help you add and maintain clients.
Simplicity has a great slide (#71) for showing the members on your team. It has placeholders for images of each member, and text placeholders to introduce what they do for your team.
If you're going to build meaningful relationships with clients, show off the team that will be doing the work. Even if the entire team can't make it to the meeting, you can help your potential client get to know the team they'll be working with if they choose you.
Step 3. Make Your Portfolio Slide
Above all, a potential client wants to see the work you've done. A portfolio slide showcases your favorite projects and key details about them.
There are a number of slide designs that can be used as a portfolio in Simplicity. I like the slide template on slide 77, which includes three sizable placeholders for images of your work. Show a short preview of your favorite projects and show them why this makes you a good fit for their job.
I can't stress this enough: tailor this slide to the potential client that you're pitching to. If you're bidding to create a website for a photographer, make sure and share past success stories for other photographer designs. Put your best foot forward when pitching to a new client.
If you don't have relevant experience in your portfolio, find similar work in your portfolio and share the relevant parts. If you're pitching to a photographer but have only designed for local bakeries, focus on how you learned about their business and tailored the work to an individual client's needs.
Step 4. Add a Memorable Chart or Infographic
An eye-catching statistic shown in a chart or graph is a great way to show the audience the value of your business.
For a design studio, one idea is showcasing how a new web design for a client increased the traffic on their site. If you nailed the SEO and marketing, your clients will see more visitors and social media activity coming their way.
In the example below, I started with the template from slide 155 in Simplicity. These are circle charts that I used to show the increase in activity on my client's pages. I simply typed the numbers over the placeholder amounts, and adjusted the circle graphics to match.
Charts are an especially good idea when you plan to share the presentation with others. These key statistics are likely to be shared with others, which is like free marketing for your business.
Step 5. Remind the Audience of Contact Details
For the closing slide, it's a great idea to leave the audience with a reminder of your contact details.
Another approach would be to use a slide with bullet points to re-iterate the key ideas from your presentation. I prefer to leave these as talking points and use the final slide as a contact page.
The examples above are just a few scenarios of how you can use the built-in designs with your own content. With Simplicity and other premium templates, there are enough ideas to fit your content.
Discover More Great PowerPoint Templates
If you're interested in other PowerPoint themes, make sure and check out Envato Elements as another source of premium PowerPoint themes. Elements is an all-you-can download package of creative assets, including custom PowerPoint themes.
Or, browse through the Premium PowerPoint templates you can purchase individually on GraphicRiver. We have a number of the best featured here:
Also, if you need help with making a great PowerPoint presentation, be sure to quickly grab our free eBook:
Download Our New eBook on Making Great Presentations (Free PDF)
We have the perfect compliment to this tutorial, which will walk you through the complete presentation process. Learn how to write your presentation, design it like a pro, and prepare it to present powerfully.
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Recap & Keep Learning More About Making PowerPoint Presentations
The tips shared in this tutorial are the secret shortcuts for building great PowerPoint presentations. Using custom themes and the built-in layouts and tools is the best way to make a professional presentation quickly.
Here are several other time-saving Envato Tuts+ tutorials for building PowerPoint presentations fast:
- Microsoft PowerPointHow to Make & Give Great PowerPoint Presentations (In 5 Simple Steps)Andrew Childress
- Microsoft PowerPointHow to Quickly Change PowerPoint Templates (Download & Import)Andrew Childress
- Microsoft PowerPointHow to Modify PowerPoint Templates With Slide Design VariantsAndrew Childress
How do you produce your presentations quickly? Which steps do you skip or speed up to save time when you're preparing your presentations? Let me know in the comments below.