- How many visuals or graphics you include (there are also ways of re-saving images with lower resolution or smaller file size, to keep memory requirements down);
- How many different transitions, animations, sounds, or special effects you use;
- External “extras” like video files, internet links, etc., that may not function at all when transferred to or played back on a different computer than the one at your own workstation where you’ve assembled your PowerPoint (very often, the simple act of transferring or duplicating the PowerPoint “breaks” the links to the external video or web file. When the new computer doesn’t know where to look for that external file, the result is a “no show” for that particular element.
Revisiting traditional rules of audiovisual slide design will also aid you by keeping your slides simple, readable, and engaging. For example:
- No more than 3-4 lines per slide.
- No more than 5-6 short words per line.
- Use white or yellow as the text colors when doing “reverse” text over an image. They stand out better than other colors like hot pink, orange, etc., especially if the background is busy or cluttered. If possible, also use the shadow or outline option on the text, which will provide an extra bit of separation.
- If you have plain colors as slide backgrounds, text colors like black, dark blue, dark green, dark red, etc., will work well – up to a point. Sometimes, if the background is dark (or you’re using a gradated background effect), some colors may work better than others … so use your own judgment. You may also have to change the font color for the last line or two, if the text appears over the darkened section of the gradated background.
- The simpler and bolder the font, the better, for legibility. Fancy or decorative fonts may be fun or attention-getting at times, but they can also be overdone, distracting, or inappropriate if you use them excessively throughout the presentation. Sans-serif fonts like Arial, Helvetica, Franklin, or Gill Sans are usually more legible than serif fonts like Times, Garamond, Palatino, Bookman, etc. (because of their fine lines, they can be hard to read against complex backgrounds).
- If possible, use one image per slide, unless intentionally constructing a montage. The more you squeeze in, the more competition for attention your audience will experience, with a resulting decline in comprehension.