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Public Speaking / Presentations: PowerPoint


PowerPoint, one piece of the Microsoft Office Suite, is perhaps the best known tool for creating presentations. While everyone has seen dry presentations consisting primarily of text on slides, PowerPoint can do much more than this, including offering embedded content such as images, videos, audio files and even dynamic content from the internet.

Basic PowerPoint

PowerPoint Slide Design


• Text

  • Maximum five lines of text per slide 
  • No more than 20-25 words per slide 
  • Mix upper and lower case letters 
  • Slides should not contain complete sentences 
  • Use short bullets that emphasize or reinforce what you are discussing 
  • 10 Second Rule – If it takes longer than 10 seconds to read the slide there is too much content 

• Font

  • Use easier to read sans serif fonts such as: Arial, Tahoma, Verdana 
  • Avoid serif fonts such as: Courier, Times New Roman, and Garamond 
  • Use 44 font size for headings 
  • Use 38 font size for bulleted points 
  • Minimum of at least 28 size font 
  • Remember person in back of audience must be able to read text 


  • Avoid using black and white for the color of all slides 
  • Avoid background colors like red, yellow, and white 
  • Use dark background colors like blues and greens 
  • Always use bright colors for lettering such as white, yellow, and bright orange 
  • When designing charts make sure to use a contrast of colors 
  • Recommended that you use between 3-6 colors per slide 
  • Use color to help separate concepts. 
  • Highlight important information 
  • Presentations may look different when using an LCD projector. You may want to test slides ahead of time 


  •  Picture should match what you are discussing 
  • Use clip arts for appropriate age level participants 
  • Try and keep charts free from clutter and make it simple 
  • Avoid using too much audio, can be distracting 
  • Remember the presentation is about the content, not about pictures, movies, and audio files