Presentation Hackathon Part 1: 5 Incredibly Simple Hacks to Create Stunning Slides
This article is first in the series of “Presentation Hackathon” where we share incredibly simple and quick hacks that any presenter can use to create the most professional slides without any professional designer’s help.
What is a good design? Smart, elegant, easy to the eye, beautiful, trending, and many more adjectives can be added to describe a good design. While the “looks” of the slide constitute an important aspect of a good design, how it “functions” to achieve its purpose is even more crucial. Pretty slide won’t do you much good if it overpowers the message. A good design should look good and work good too.
Keeping this in mind, we are rolling out the “Presentation Hackathon” series. What you would be getting isn’t just tips to decorate your slides but also design them well so that your message stands out, is noticed and remembered by the audience.
This article gives you 5 quick design hacks to turn a slide full of text into a super sleek, professional one. Let’s say you have a slide like the one below:
The slide is plain boring. It lacks any personality whatsoever. The white neutral background with so much text makes reading about the organization a time-consuming chore.
Time to do some magic! Well, not really. We will be applying only 5 incredibly simple fixes to give this slide a stunning makeover. Take out your PowerPoint slides full of text and work with us, step by step, hack by hack, to transform the look and feel of your presentation:
Hack 1: Change the background color
White background does not inspire; especially when it comes to presentations. Instead, choose a dynamic fill color or your brand color as the background fill. This hack requires no design skill and hardly takes 5 seconds to implement. Take a blank slide and follow these steps:
- Right click on the slide and click Format Background.
- Select Solid Fill and choose the color you wish to use.
If you love a background used in an image elsewhere, copy-paste that image on your blank slide. Choose the Eyedropper tool and duplicate the same background color on your slide. Like we did for this slide:
Hack 2: Insert a shape and give it picture fill
The second step is to add a visual element to your slide. It need not necessarily cover the complete slide; it should however be big enough to be seen and spark visual interest. Dump the conventional square format of a regular image for a circle instead. It will blend into the slide and not appear as a separate element. Follow the steps below to have a picture fill within a shape:
- Click the Insert tab
- Under Shapes, choose the oval shape
- Press shift and drag to have a symmetrical circle
- Right click on the circle and click Format Shape
- Give the circle a white outline and select Picture Fill
- Locate the file on your computer and insert the same
To move the picture within the circle, follow these steps:
- Click the Format tab
- Under Crop drop down, click Fill
- Move the image in the crop rectangle as per your requirements
Your slide will now have a visual element that looks impressive and classic:
Hack 3: Vary Font Sizes & Fonts Themselves
Add drama to your text by varying the font size and using combinations of two or more fonts. But first split your sentence into two or three parts. Make the most important words on your slide large and bold. Choose a different font for the selected keyword. In our slide, ‘HR Consultancy’ is the keyword since it defines the organization. Make it capitalized, increase its font size and give it a different color as well as font type so that it stands out.
For further effect, enclose the statement within boundaries by drawing a line above the sentence and below it. This heightens the importance of the text. Draw a line by following these steps:
- Go to the Insert tab and Shapes drop-down to select a line.
- Draw a straight line, right click and choose Format Shape to customize its color, width and style.
Hack 4: Turn bullet points into columns of text (Aligned Columns)
Bullet points instantly turn off the audience. Take each bullet point and put it in three separate columns, separated by a dotted line. This will help divide chunks of text into neat columns that will be easy to the eye. To ensure that all are aligned properly, follow these steps:
- Select all text boxes
- Click the Format tab
- Go the Arrange group
- Under the Align drop-down, click Distribute Vertically.
All text boxes will be aligned properly giving a polished look to the slide.
Hack 5: Use Icons to break monotony of text
Icons are small visual representations of ideas and objects that are not only eye-catchy but also universally understood. Icons reinforce the text, bring visual relief and are complete in themselves. For our slide, we can choose an icon for each of the services offered by the HR consultancy firm and make the slide look more classy and lively. You can download beautiful PowerPoint Icons (vector as well as image icons) from our website and use it for your presentation. You can browse and download PowerPoint icons for free from our Free PowerPoint Templates section. It’s better to use fully vector icons since these can be edited, enlarged and customized without having effect on resolution.
Also read: “11 Dos and Don’ts of Using Images in Presentations”
Here’s how the final slide looks when we are done with the last presentation hack:
Remember the slide we started with? See the difference a few tweaks can do to your slide:
None of the five hacks we mentioned require a great deal of time investment on your part. In less than 10 minutes, you can turn a boring-to-death slide into a killer one and win the envy of your competitors and approval of your clients. You will also have achieved a good design that looks good and works good.
Short on time to revamp your presentation? You can hire services of a professional PowerPoint presentation design company like ours so that each slide of yours oozes professionalism and sophistication!
Stay tuned for the next in the series of Presentation Hackathon. Let’s rid the world of ugly presentations, one slide at a time!