“To succeed as a presenter, you must think like a designer. Every decision a designer makes is intentional. Reason and logic underpin the placement of the visual elements.”

Nancy Duarte


The watchwords for great slides are readability, simplicity, consistency and across the whole presentation – variety!

  • Limit yourself to one main message or visual idea per slide and support with relevant facts and arguments.
  • Use concise language and do not overload the slide with words – less is definitely more.
  • Put the main message into the headline using about 7 to 9 words maximum.
  • A sub-heading can expand on and add extra meaning to the heading.
  • When you have no option but to use text, aim for a maximum of 4 to 5 bullet points.
  • Use a font size that is READABLE: 24—28 points for the bullets, 38—44 points for the headline.
  • Sans-serif fonts like Arial work best in presentations and bold text has more impact.
  • A visual solution (tables, photographs, clipart) is right when it SUPPORTS your main message and does not distract from it.
  • Take that photographs are light enough and have a high enough resolution when projected.
  • Use corporate design templates when available and apply a cohesive graphic style throughout the presentation e.g. ClipArt in homogeneous drawing styles, font style and heights…
  • Label all graphic elements that are not 100% self-explanatory.
  • Use colour wisely (limit to three or four) and colour code (headlines, bullets etc.).
  • Check out how it looks on the screen and not just on your PC.
  • Keep animation and transition effects simple: e.g. wipe text from left in the reading direction, animate objects in the direction of movement and flow.
  • Remember people notice pictures more than text so adapt your explanation to fit and explain graphic elements first.


The Training Box recommends

slide:ology: the art and science of creating great presentations

By Nancy Duarte

2008, O’Reilly Media