The PowerPoint tips featured here are not about creating better or more effective presentations, instead they help you avoid any last minute surprises that may crop up when an eager audience is waiting to see your slide show.
*They are all based on my personal experiences at a recent BarCamp.
Tip 1: Put the PPT files on a USB Drive
Yes, there’s box.net, slideshare.net and tons of other PowerPoint hosting services where you can upload your PPT files but I still recommend carrying files on a USB drive because there are chances that Internet may be very slow (or unavailable) in the presentation room. With files on the USB stick, you are always in control.
Tip 2: Use Arial or Times New Roman Font
The default fonts in Office 2007 programs are Calibri, Corbel, Cambria, etc but unfortunately these fonts are not available on computers running older version of Microsoft Office. If you want the presentations to look the same in the conference room as on your laptop, use fonts like Arial or Times New Roman which are universally available.
Tip 3: Always Carry the Microsoft PowerPoint Viewer
You have designed a great presentation using the latest PowerPoint 2007 but it possible that the computer, where you will run the presentation, is running an ancient copy of PowerPoint 2000. In that case, your presentation will fail to run. not run at all.
Download the free Powerpoint 2007 Viewer, transfer it your USB drive and be rest assured that your slide show will be play just perfect on any Windows computer.
Tip 4: Print a PDF of your PowerPoint Presentation
You can use Acrobat or the Save as PDF plugin of Microsoft Office 2007 to convert your PPT into a read only PDF file. Some members in the audience will always ask you for a copy of the Presentation slides and if you are not too happy in giving away the source file, PDF is a great alternative – it also maintains the layout, transitions and even the fonts.
Tip 5: Take Care of Margins
If the display properties of your computer do not match that of the projector, chances are that the presentation slides will be cut off at the edges – to avoid this, designate a margin safe area when designing presentations and limit your text or graphics to that area.
Tip 6: Some Presentation Rooms Can Be Very Big
Do not use small fonts as that will make your slides unreadable especially for back-benchers when the room size is large. The minimum recommended font size in PPT slides is around 24-points (more for headings).
Tip 7: Screensavers, IMs, New Email Notifications
Turn Off all these distractions before running the slideshow – they can sometimes be very embarrassing.
Tip 8: Power Management
Some computers (especially laptops) turn off the screen after 5-10 minutes of inactivity. Always turn off this feature using the Power management console.