do's and don'ts of powerpoint

Don’t Present Without These 16 PowerPoint Dos and Don’ts

Have you ever struggled to hold your audience’s interest during a presentation? Painstakingly created slide after slide only to be met with bored, disengaged faces? 

Even the most confident speakers can falter when it comes to crafting compelling PowerPoint decks. Without proper slide design best practices, it’s easy to lose your audience in a sea of dense text, chaotic graphics, and disorganized content.

You don’t have to suffer through presenting lackluster slides anymore. In fact, following simple PowerPoint best practices can totally transform your deck from meh to marvelous.

In this post, we’ll share 16 PowerPoint dos and don’ts to level up your presentations and captivate audiences. These tips will help you create professional, visually striking slides your viewers will remember.

A man presenting on stage


16 Dos And Don’ts Of Powerpoint Presentations

Here are some important 16 presentation dos and don’ts you need to keep in mind while creating slides and presenting them.

PowerPoint Dos

Let’s start with the best practices and strategies to implement when designing PowerPoint presentations. What techniques should you use to create memorable, polished slides?

1. Keep It Simple With Minimalist Design

Let’s start with a common mistake – overcrowded, distracting slide design. We get the temptation to tart up slides with fancy backgrounds. But resist the urge! Fancy templates with complex colored patterns or photos unrelated to your content just make it harder to digest key information.

Instead, embrace the power of simplicity. Stick to minimalist templates and avoid template themes with extra decorations. Use neutral backgrounds and empty negative space to let your content shine. Remember, your audience came for your message, not for clip art kittens. Keep slides clean and attention stays where it should be.

2. Cut the Clutter – Follow the 6×6 Rule

Now for another slide buzzkill – mammoth blocks of dense text. You may be tempted to pack slides with long sentences and paragraphs. Don’t give in! Text-heavy slides are guaranteed to lose audiences fast.

For easy-to-digest nuggets, follow the handy 6×6 rule. Limit slides to just 6 lines of text maximum, with each line containing 6 words max. Anything more turns into an overwhelming wall of words.

Stick to concise phrases, short sentences, and bulleted lists. Use just keywords and supporting stats – leave nonessential info out. With this less is more approach, key points will stick better.

SlidesAI is a text-to-presentation add-on tool that converts walls of text into beautiful slides. It does this automatically generate condensed phrases and bullet points from your text ensuring clutter-free slides throughout your presentation.

3. Boost Engagement With Quality Visuals

Speaking of key points sticking better…you know what helps even more? Quality graphics and visuals!

Research shows we process images 60,000 times faster than text. So reinforce your points with strong visuals. Use high-resolution photos, charts, illustrations, and infographics. But avoid clipart or random stock photos – ensure every graphic clearly supports your narrative.

Well-designed visuals make presentations more memorable and engaging. Just remember to optimize graphics for high-resolution viewing and include alt-text (alternative text) descriptions for accessibility. Then watch those visual aids boost information retention and audience interest.

SlidesAI has a library of 1.5M high-quality premium stock images that you can select and include in your slides.

4. Create Brand Consistency With Formatting

Imagine a presentation where every slide had a totally different layout, colors, and font… no visual consistency at all. It would look sloppy and amateurish, right?

Formatting matters – big time! Brand your presentation by using consistent design elements throughout all your slides.

Pick one professional font combination and stick to it. Limit your color palette to 2-3 colors max. Maintain alignment and space elements consistently.

With unified branding, your deck will feel polished, intentional, and visually pleasing. Bonus – consistent branding also boosts memorability as the audience becomes familiar with your “look”.

SlidesAI ensures complete branding consistency across all presentation slides by applying your color schemes, fonts, etc to designs through artificial intelligence.

5. Check Accessibility Settings

Speaking of memorability, if some audience members can’t actually view your slides, they certainly won’t remember your message.

Ensure your presentation is inclusive and accessible to all by checking key settings. Use color contrast and legible fonts so those with visual impairments can still grasp the content. Optimize images with alt text descriptions. Verify videos are captioned.

It may take a bit more effort up front but making your presentation accessible opens your message to a wider audience. It also demonstrates corporate responsibility.

6. Create Custom Icons and Illustrations

Most PowerPoint templates come with generic icons. However, you can amplify brand personality and memorability by creating custom icons and simple illustrations.

Don’t just use a generic checkmark when you can insert your own branded indicator relevant to your company. Design illustrated characters to represent concepts. Even use emojis strategically to inject fun and improve recall.

Handcrafted visuals, even if basic in style, make presentations stand out and drive home key points better than generic clip art ever could.

7. Use Subtle Animations – But Not Too Many!

Animations, when used well, can help guide the audience’s eye and transition between ideas smoothly. Emphasize key points and important transitions with subtle animations.

Entrance and exit effects can focus attention while builds and motion path animations can demonstrate processes dynamically. Use sparingly and subtly for the best impact.

But avoid going animation crazy with sounds and excessive movement. That becomes more distracting than engaging. Limit animations so they enhance content rather than detract.

8. Pace Your Delivery

Creating stellar slides is an excellent start but don’t stop there. The live delivery is just as crucial. Invest time practicing your presentation with your slides.

Rehearse the flow and pace of your narrative. Refine and memorize transitions between slides. Nail your timing to keep the audience engaged. Get so comfortable delivering your content that the slides become natural visual aids.

With great slides and honed delivery skills, your audience will hang on to your every word from the introduction to a powerful conclusion.

A woman presenting traditional advertising


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PowerPoint Donts

Just as important as the dos are the don’ts. What pitfalls should you avoid when designing PowerPoint presentations?

9. Don’t Use Distracting Backgrounds

Remember our tip to embrace minimalism? Well, the opposite is using distracting backgrounds. Avoid loud colors, complex patterns, or images totally unrelated to your content. At best, they are distracting. At worst, they make key info harder to comprehend.

Stick to simple, neutral backgrounds. If using an image, ensure it directly reinforces your narrative. Anything extra risks your message getting visually lost. Keep backgrounds clean so content remains the focal point.

SlidesAI avoids using distracting backgrounds like crowded templates or unrelated images in the presentations. It focuses on simple, clean backgrounds to keep attention on your key content.

10. Don’t Overwhelm With Walls of Text

We covered the 6×6 text limit rule earlier. But even with 6 lines and 6 words, slides can become text walls without good visual breakdown. Big blocks of text are tiring to read and make retainment tough.

Instead, thoughtfully chunk text into concise sections. Use headers, subheaders, and bullet points to organize key bits. Align text left for easier scanning. Supplement with supporting imagery. Breaking up text improves comprehension drastically.

11. Don’t Rely On Boring Bullets

Speaking of bulleted lists, bullet overkill is another issue that turns slides into snore fests. Slides crammed with back-to-back bullet points lose audiences fast. The endless text blurs together with minimal memorability.

For memorable content, limit bullets to key takeaways only. Then reinforce each point visually – a photo, icon, chart, etc. Quality visuals boost memorability way more than a slide stuffed with 11 bullet points ever could.

12. Don’t Use Inconsistent Formatting

Remember, formatting matters! Shifting layouts, fonts, and color schemes appear disjointed and sloppy. The mismatched design screams amateur hour.

Establish a visual style and stick to it slide to slide. Use the same fonts, limit your color palette, and space elements consistently. Most importantly – maintain alignment across all slides. With unified branding, your presentation will look polished and professional.

SlidesAI ensures your presentation formatting stays consistent slide to slide by applying your preferred color palette, fonts, etc through its intelligent algorithms.

13. Don’t Include Unnecessary Animations

Animations can be great for guiding the viewer’s eye and demonstrating motion. But avoid going overboard. Excessive animations, sounds, and movement become more distracting than engaging.

Use animations subtly and intentionally. Emphasize only key points and important transitions with simple builds or entrance effects. Anything superfluous, whether flying text or whooshing sounds, pulls attention away rather than enhancing content.

Keep it simple and purposeful. Let smooth, minimal animations work behind the scenes rather than take center stage away from your narrative.

14. Don’t Use Unsupported Graphics

Only include images, photos, charts, etc that directly support the ideas and messaging in your presentation. Don’t insert fluffy visuals that have no clear tie to your content.

Every visual aid you present should clearly reinforce your narrative rather than derail tangents. Unsupported graphics quickly become distractions. They also undermine your credibility if audiences can’t grasp the connection.

Keep it focused. Be intentional about every visual you include. Remove anything superfluous that doesn’t serve a purpose.

15. Don’t Plagiarize Content

While it’s fine to find inspiration from other presentations, copying chunks of text or visuals without proper attribution is unethical. Never pass off someone else’s hard work as your own.

Always credit sources directly within your presentation if incorporating external ideas, quotes, charts, images, etc. Also, avoid violating copyright laws by inserting visuals without licensing them appropriately first.

Your presentation should showcase your unique ideas, voice, and message. Ensure you create original content or properly cite anything derived from others. Your integrity depends on it.

16. Don’t Wing Your Speech

With great slides completed, don’t just wing it on presentation day. The live delivery is just as crucial. Invest time to refine your pacing, transitions, slide timing, and flow.

Practice your speech thoroughly with the deck so your narrative and movements feel natural. Nail down transition phrases between slides. Get 100% comfortable presenting your content.

With stellar slides and a well-rehearsed delivery, your presentation is sure to wow audiences from start to finish.

A girl student presenting in front of class



There you have it – 16 PowerPoint dos and don’ts for creating memorable, professional PowerPoint presentations. Apply the dos to make high-impact slides, and avoid the don’ts for mistake-free presentations.

Put these PowerPoint best practices into play and watch your ordinary slides transform into extraordinary visual stories. Your audiences will be engaged from start to finish.

But even with these tips, crafting stunning presentations can be time-intensive. Instead, let SlidesAI do the work for you using the power of AI.

SlidesAI integrates with Google Slides and PowerPoint (coming soon) to instantly generate professional presentation decks from your content. Simply input your text – SlidesAI will turn them into visually cohesive slides designed for audience engagement.

SlidesAI saves tons of time by handling slide layouts, formats, graphic design, and branding tailored to you. The AI delivers presentation-ready slides in seconds.

Take your Presentation skills from amateur to pro – try SlidesAI for free today!\

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Dos and Don’ts of PowerPoint Presentations?

Key PowerPoint dos include simple designs, concise text, quality visuals, consistency, accessibility, custom icons, subtle animations, and practice. Don’ts involve distracting backgrounds, walls of text, boring bullets, inconsistent formatting, excessive animations, irrelevant graphics, plagiarism, and winging it.

What is the 5 by 5 Rule in PowerPoint?

The 5 by 5 rule recommends having no more than 5 lines of text per slide and 5 words per line. This keeps each slide focused and text easy to digest. Too much text overwhelms audiences.

What is the 7 Rule on a PowerPoint Presentation?

The 7 rule states that your slides should have no more than 7 bullet points. Like the 5 by 5 rule, this maintains simplicity for the audience. More than 7 bulleted items become hard to retain.

What are the 5 Rules of PowerPoint?

5 key rules are: don’t cram slides with too much text, minimize slides for emphasis, utilize quality visuals, stick to a consistent format, and limit animations. Following these makes presentations professional, clean, and engaging.

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