Creating Powerpoint Slides

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Rules for creating engaging PowerPoint presentations:

  • Slide Length:Keep the text per slide to a minimum. You're not writing a book. Try to keep it to no more than six words per slide. More data does not equal more information.
  • Relevant Stats: The only reason to include statistics in a slide is to advance an argument. Only put relevant numbers to make your point. Irrelevant data will act as a distraction.
  • Stock Photos:Don't use bad/stereotypical photos or clip art. Use professional stock photo images. You can find cheap photos at
  • Special Effects: Keep the special effects to a minimum. Don't go crazy on dissolves, spins or other transitions.
  • Sound Effects: Sound effects should be used sparsely. If you do, stay away from sound effects that come with the software. Try to be original.
  • Handouts: Slide handouts rarely work without you there to explain them. Put some extra effort in and create a complementary document. Tell your audience before you start your presentation that you will provide them this document after the presentation. Don't hand it out before the presentation. If you do, they will read it while you're talking.
  • Bullets: No more than 3 bullets per slide.
  • Don't Read Slides: Don't put your cue cards on the screen. Keep them where they belong - in your hands. Slides should reinforce your words, not repeat them.
  • Number of Slides: Don't be afraid to have many slides. It's better to have many slides with little data on each than to have a few slides with tones of data.


  • Video of Dick Hardt's OSCON 2005 Keynote presentation regarding Identity 2.0.

Also See


"Really Bad Powerpoint" from Seth Godin's Blog

"How to make a PowerPoint chart" from Seth Godin's Blog