Tips for the best PowerPoint presentations

If you were to ask the audience afterwards what the company in question’s current revenue figure was – or even whether it went up or down in the last reporting period – a large proportion of them wouldn’t be able to tell you.

Tips for the best PowerPoint presentations

They’d only have seen the spinning coin, which would have completely distracted them from the rest of the slide’s contents, as well as from the speaker’s voice (it’s no coincidence that hypnotists use similar devices).

Hidden Treasure

When using the Animation Pane, the names of the objects will appear on the slide. These will include unhelpfully titled things such as “Content Placeholder 5”. To rename them, click Home | Drawing | Arrange | Selection Pane, or press Alt+H, G, P, then double-click on any item in the Selection Pane. This is yet another piece of “hidden UI” you’re expected to stumble upon – it isn’t even mentioned in the Help text.

Animation is usually only effective in a presentation if it’s used subtly to emphasise the data you’re trying to convey.

In the above example of corporate revenue reporting, you might want the headline figure in thousands, millions or billions – depending on the size of your company – together with an arrow that points up or down.

Apart from the title, these should be the only elements on the slide, and the animation must support the information you’re trying to impart.

Float In is a good effect for the upward arrow, followed by Fade In for the revenue figure.

This animation will support the message you want to convey (“revenue went up this quarter to £500,000”), and you should speak in sync with the slide being drawn. If you want preamble before you reveal the actual figure, you may want to make the arrow appear after a mouse click, but if there’s no preamble required, make it appear “after previous” (the previous animation being the new slide being drawn).


Always think about the words you’re going to say to accompany each slide, but don’t write them all down on the slide itself. The slide is there to illustrate your presentation; it isn’t the whole presentation. If you write down every word you’re going to say, there’s no point you being there to read them out: the audience will have read them before you’ve said anything – you’ll be adding nothing, and they’ll become bored very quickly. It’s better to make speakers notes that you can refer to while presenting.

The right effect

Animation effects are easy to achieve using the Animation Pane and the Animations tab on the ribbon. Animations are divided into four groups: Entrance, Exit, Emphasis and Motion Path. Entrance animations, which affect the way an item gets onto the screen, are the most commonly used. Emphasis animations can be used to highlight a particular object on the screen, but they should be used sparingly.

Exit animations should be used more rarely still: unless you’re actually talking about removing, deleting or otherwise making something disappear, you don’t need them. It’s usually sufficient to change to the next slide without having all the objects on the current slide fly away, split, fade or bounce off the screen.

Motion paths are perhaps the most abused of the animation effects, since making text or objects fly around the screen is best avoided unless you want to make your audience sick.

A good use of a motion path is when you have objects stacked on top of one another: using a motion path to move the top one out of the way to reveal what’s beneath, or to move the bottom object so it slides out from under the topmost object, can emphasise a process – such as a department being split into two – since the motion reinforces the concept that something new is emerging from something existing.

Disclaimer: Some pages on this site may include an affiliate link. This does not effect our editorial in any way.

Todays Highlights
How to See Google Search History
how to download photos from google photos