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Make Better PowerPoints: Some Resources

July 6, 2009

I’m an avid user of PowerPoint and am always saddened by its terrible misuses. It has its place, but so often people expect PowerPoint to do too much. And/or they don’t understand basic design principles for readability. Below, some good resources I’ve compiled to help combat this:

PowerPoint Resources

  • Generic text generator – Need some placeholder text? You know, while you’re building your slides and just need something to take up space for the moment like “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet…” Look no further than lipsum.com for great generic text you can copy and paste in. Just don’t forget to replace it with your real text before you get up in front of your audience! (Trust me on that one.)
  • Cool color finder – Need some nice color palette ideas? If you’re making your own template in PowerPoint, good for you! But be sure to use an eye-pleasing combo of colors. Unsure what goes with that shade of blue? Don’t miss kuler.adobe.com for cool color combos. It won’t steer you wrong!
  • Color contrast checker – Make sure your text is bright enough against your background! You don’t want folks squinting to read your points. Here’s a Color Contrast Checker Tool to check the color contrast of your color combo to maximize readability.
  • Great general PPT tips – I highly recommend Dave Paradi’s “Think Outside the Slide” website. He even offers a free e-newsletter you may want to check out. It’s loaded with tips that will turn you into a PowerPointPro!
  • Share those slides – After you’ve worked so hard on your presentations, don’t let them languish invisibly on your hard drive forever. Utilize SlideShare, which enables you to share your work publicly or privately, so post that content for the world to enjoy!
  • Also worth checking out: Presentation Zen, Microsoft’s Free Downloadable PPT Templates, Beyond Bullets, Presentation Pointers, and perhaps best of all, Really Bad PowerPoint (a short e-book on the dangers of relying too much on PowerPoint). All are great resources!
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