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Basic Tips for Using PowerPoint in the Classroom

When used effectively, PowerPoint can add to a presentation. Consider the following basic tips when using PowerPoint.

  • Generally, a PowerPoint slide should highlight facts, figures and main points that will be explained in more detail. In other words, PowerPoint should not be the presentation or a script which is read.
  • Rule of Sevens: Use no more than seven lines per slide or seven words in a sentence.
  • Use large fonts. A font size less than 24 is difficult to read from the back of many rooms. Fonts of 28 to 44 are usually reasonable.
  • Keep the fonts consistent from slide-to-slide and use different fonts sparingly.
  • Use Contrasting Colors. If you use dark text, use a light background, and vice versa. While the text may look fine on your computer screen, it may look duller once it is projected. To ensure enough contrast, be sure to check your colors when projected.
  • Use a consistent color theme throughout your slide presentation.
  • If using transitions between slides, pick one that goes to the next slide quickly and stick with it. Using a different transition between every slide distracts from your message.
  • If you use "builds" (i.e., making text appear one point or line at a time), avoid using single letter or single word builds.
  • Consider the "Appear" effect when text comes on the screen. This allows the audience to focus on the text, versus the movement associated with "flying in," "spiraling," and "zooming."
  • If you use PowerPoint frequently, consider the Quick Keys and Short Cuts for PowerPoint

References

Paradi, David. "Ten Secrets for Using PowerPoint Effectively." Think Outside the Slide, 2009. Web. 19 May 2010.

Szendeffy, John de. "Tips for Using PowerPoint for Academic Presentations." Multimedia Language Lab. Boston U., 2009. Web. 19 May 2010.

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