PowerPoint Presentation Guidelines

Requirements for Effective PowerPoint Presentations

NOTE: You are not required to use PPT for your presentation. Please ONLY use PPT if it is necessary for and adds greatly to the quality of your presentation.


  • Use no font size smaller than 24 point.
  • Use a consistent and easily read font throughout the presentation.
  • Clearly label each screen.  Use a larger font (35-45 points) or different color for the title.
  • For bullet points, use the 5 x 5 Rule.  One thought per line with no more than 5 words per line and no more than 5 lines per slide
  • Use dark text on light background or light text on dark background.  However, dark backgrounds sometimes make it difficult for some people to read the text.
  • Do not use all caps, except for titles.

 Graphics and Design

  • Keep the background consistent and subtle.
  • Use only enough text when using charts or graphs to explain clearly the graphic.
  • Use parallel structure when wording bullets.
  • Keep the design clean and uncluttered.  Leave empty space around the text and graphics.
  • Try to use the same style and type graphics throughout the presentation (e.g. cartoon, photographs).
  • Limit the number of graphics on each slide.
  • Check all graphics on a projection screen before the actual presentation.
  • Avoid flashy graphics and noisy animation effects unless they relate directly to the slide. 


  • Limit the number of colors on a single screen.
  • Bright colors make small objects and thin lines stand out.  However, some vibrant colors are difficult to read when projected.
  • Use no more than four colors on one chart.
  • Check all colors on a projection screen before the actual presentation.  They may project differently than what appears on the monitor.

General Presentation

  • Check the spelling, grammar and punctuation.
  • Do not read the presentation.  Practice the presentation so you can speak from bullet points.  The text should be a cue for the presenter rather than a message for the viewer.
  • Display images or bullets only as you are talking about them, otherwise the audience will read slides and not listen to you. DO NOT display an entire slide of text at once. Use a blank screen between slides if a slide is not needed.