Chapter 21

Ten Tips for Creating Readable Slides

This chapter gives you a few random tips and pointers that will help you produce readable slides.

Try Reading the Slide from the Back of the Room

The number-one rule of creating readable slides is that everyone in the room must be able to read them. If you’re not certain, there’s one sure way to find out: Try it. Fire up the projector, call up the slide, walk to the back of the room, and see whether you can read it. If you can’t, you need to make an adjustment.

tip Remember that everyone’s eyesight might not be as good as yours. If you have perfect vision, squint a little when you get to the back of the room to see how the slide might appear to someone whose vision isn’t perfect.

If a projector isn’t handy, make sure you can read your slides from 10 or 15 feet away from your computer’s monitor.

Avoid Small Text

If you can’t read a slide from the back of the room, it’s probably because the text is too small. The rule to live by is that 24-point type is the smallest you should use for text that you want people to read. A 12-point type might be perfectly readable in a Word document, but it’s way too small for PowerPoint.

No More Than Five Bullets, Please

Did you ever notice how David Letterman used two slides to display his Top Ten lists? Dave’s producers knew that ten items is way too many for one screen. Five is just right. You ...

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