PowerPoint Basics

Opening PowerPoint
Understanding the screen
Inserting slides

Adding and editing content

Inserting text
Inserting notes, headers and footers
Formatting text and lists

Working with design

Customizing background
Applying and creating templates
Design tips

Working with graphics

Downloading, inserting and editing images
Image Resources for Health & Life Sciences
Drawing and editing objects

Working with animation

Animating text and images
Slide transitions

Adding sound and video

Sounds, narration and music
Video requirements

Graphs and tables

Working with graphs
Importing and linking data from Excel to PowerPoint

PowerPoint online

Hyperlinks and action buttons
Putting up a presentation on the web

Printing and Presenting

Printing options
Running a slide show


PowerPoint DO's and DON'T's
Other PowerPoint websites
Workshop evaluation
(for on-site workshop participants only)

PowerPoint DO's and DON'T's

The main purpose of this tutorial is to show you what you can do with PowerPoint. What you should do, however, is a whole different story. It is often said that style is a personal issue, however, in the case of presentations, legibility comes always first and should never be sacrificed for the sake of the presenter's artistic fantasies. Below are a few basic stylistic suggestions:


  • Save your work frequently (Ctrl+S)
  • Backup your work frequently (every day, if possible)
  • Store each presentation and its associated files in its proper folder
  • rely on the program's Autosave feature.
  • be brief (no more than 6 bullets/points per slide)
  • use appropriate fonts: big (min. 28pts) and clear (sans-serif). If possible, test your slides: run the slide show and see if you can read your slides from the last row of the room where you will be presenting.
  • use appropriate colors: not too bright, high contrast, consistent. Remember that what looks good on your monitor does not necessarily look good on the big screen.
  • create contrast using font size, colors


  • put everything you present on the slides. Remember that slides are just a visual aid -- if you overload them, the audience will end up trying to read the slides and not paying attention to you.
  • use different colors / fonts on every single slide.
  • use bright background colors that will strain your audience's eyes
  • use too many animation effects! They are VERY distracting for the audience and make you look like a show-off. Use animation only to make a point and not to make your presentation more interesting (use content to do that!).


  • use the powerful UNDO command (CTRL+Z) to experiment and learn to use the software
  • ask for help when you need it
  • maintain a good relationship with someone who knows more about PowerPoint than you do
  • run experiments at the last minute.
  • run experiments before you save a separate copy of your file.
  • panic and start banging your head on the monitor. It won't help (personal experience talking!)



Remember that not everybody has your vision. When you design your slides, keep in mind that your audience might include people with partial sight and color deficiencies.
For more information, visit http://www.lighthouse.org/color_contrast.htm




more PowerPoint Do's and Don'ts

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