Phase 1

When designing PowerPoint presentations or editing the presentations of others, it is important to know the seven rules of PowerPoint. By learning and following these rules your presentations will be professional and effective.

Rule 1: The PowerPoint is a Map for Your Presentation

One of the biggest mistakes to make with a PowerPoint is not with the design of the presentation, but with the delivery. Many poor speakers simply read the bullets of the PowerPoint to the audience. Do not just read the slides. The audience can do that themselves.

Know your presentation inside and out and use the PowerPoint to highlight your presentation. A well-rehearsed and smooth delivery will hold your audience’s attention.

Rule 2: Use 6 x 6 formatting.

When formatting the bullet points for your presentation remember the 6 x 6 rule. There should be no more than 6 bulleted items per page. Each bullet should have no more than 6 words in the statement.

Which looks better on the slide?

·        Cross-company analyses revealed that 6% of all employees were unaware of the changes in our Healthcare coverage.

·        6% not aware of Healthcare changes

Another rule of formatting is to always bullet point your statements. Using numbers only causes your audience to prioritize the information on the slide.

Rule 3: Solid Charts have Solid Colors

Nearly every PowerPoint should include some table, chart or graph. Charts and Graphics can be difficult to read if too much information is represented on the slide or the chart uses patterns instead of solid colors. From the back of the room, your audience may not be able to distinguish from red stripes and pink stripes.

Activity 1:

Let’s focus on the first three rules. Select one PowerPoint from the following link (SCEC Presentation) and edit it so that the first three rules of professional PowerPoint are followed:

    ·        Rule 1: The PowerPoint is a Map for Your Presentation

    ·        Rule 2: Use 6 x 6 formatting.

    ·        Rule 3: Solid Charts have Solid Colors

Once you’ve completed the activity, proceeded to rule 4.

Rule 4:  Proper Layout is Easy on the Eyes

A cluttered slide is difficult to read. Use a complimentary color palate and select non-jarring graphics to enhance your presentations. Many times choosing pink wording or an animated image in your presentation can actually distract your audiences. Remember that all elements (animations, colors, fonts, graphics, etc.) should revolve around your presentation theme.

Rule 5: Use Fonts that Maximize Readability

This rule is simple. When selecting your fonts and sizes, make certain that it is readable from the distance of the farthest seat in your presentation area.

Rule 6: Presentations Shouldn’t be Surprising.

The order that you sequence your information should be organic and one topic should lead into another. The audience should be able to anticipate the type of material that might be on the next slide. Do not rely on the speaker to make logical transitions from one topic to the next. Let your PowerPoint do the work for you. 

Rule 7: It is a PowerPoint, not an Opera

Your slide transition animations should be quick and simple. It is easy to separate the professionals from the amateurs when the audience sees a presentation that uses elaborate and time-consuming slide transitions. This does not mean you should not use transitions. Professional PowerPoints use transitions that are varied, fast, and logical.

Activity 2:

Create a two slide presentation to tell a simple question and answer joke. Place the question on slide #1 and the answer on slide #2.

ex. Q Why did the chicken cross the PowerPoint? A. To get to the other slide.

Even though this assignment seems silly, follow rules 4-7 to make your joke PowerPoint a professional and effective.

    ·        Rule 4:  Proper Layout is Easy on the Eyes

    ·        Rule 5: Use Fonts that Maximize Readability

    ·        Rule 6: Presentations Shouldn’t be Surprising.

    ·        Rule 7: It is a PowerPoint, not an Opera

Phase 2

In Phase 2 you will look at three presentations and evaluate them based on the techniques from Phase 1. You will use the rubric found in the Evaluation section to guide you.

To begin the evaluation, click on one of the following links and choose 3 presentations to evaluate.

Complete the evaluation form and then continue to Phase 3.


Slide Title and location

Correctly completed elements

Mistakes to correct










Process 3

For your assignment, you will utilize tips and suggestions from Processes 1
and 2 to create your own PowerPoint presentation.

PowerPoint Presentation Requirements:

  a. Your presentation may be focused on any topic you choose.
  b. Your presentation should display your design knowledge of an appropriate, professional PowerPoint presentation.
  c. Your PowerPoint presentation must include each of the concepts reviewed in process 1 and 2.

Self-Evaluation Summary:

Along with your PowerPoint slides, you will submit a self evaluation summary.
  a.  This written summary will be 2-3 paragraphs.
  b.  The summary should entail why your PowerPoint slides demonstrates
exemplary work on all areas as shown on the Evaluation Rubric.