Presentation Design: 20 Tips For PowerPoint, Keynote and Co.

How to create PowerPoint presentations that make you and your message look good
Presentation design

Presentation design


What makes a convincing presentation with presentation software? Here are some tips for presentation design with PowerPoint, Keynote and Co.

PowerPoint™, Keynote™ & Co.


The majority of PowerPoint presentations should be protected from laws such as those governing the misuse of narcotics. For a long time, the audience has to endure lengthy presentations with details that provide neither personal reference nor inspiration and certainly do not generate any positive emotions. Typical are tons of meaningless numbers, a lot of text and boring theory. Overloaded slides dominate. Unprepared presenters cling to the bullet point. The interest of the audience is put to sleep!


PowerPoint from Microsoft™ is a widespread computer presentation program from Microsoft™. Another product for this purpose is Keynote™ from Apple™ and there are other programs or apps. Presentations can be created and accompanied by such programs.






Presentation software is always under criticism. Like any tool, it can be used well and badly. Negative examples are usually based on the fact that no basic knowledge and skills were acquired to build presentations. Then the the information is ruthlessly squeezed into the presentation slides.

PowerPoint is when someone works 4 hours, so he can show in 20 minutes what he could say in 5 minutes.

20 tips for presentation design and presentation


PowerPoint can be a powerful tool to support a presentation. But it can also cause the listener to fall asleep, called Death by PowerPoint. Or being misused to distract from the essential. Like any tool, it is the user who decides whether to use it wisely or not.




1. Keep your distance from the computer at the beginning


Do not start the presentation design with the presentation software. If you start right away with PowerPoint and Co., then you restrict your possibilities right from the start.





2. Bullet points


With enumerations, the creation of presentation slides is quick and easy. That’s why bullet points are so common. During the presentation, speakers orient themselves along with the keywords and think they can save time for proper preparations.

For the audience, this is no pleasure! Use bullets as sparingly as possible.




3. Use simple graphics


Graphics should be easy to understand. Complex images bind the audience’s attention for too long and reduce the speaker’s impact.




4. Each slide has a maximum of one core message


Stay concentrated and encourage your audience to do the same. Dedicate a maximum of one core message to each slide.




5. Do you have a beautiful logo?


It is great if you are proud of your logo. Just, please don’t overdo it. It is enough to have the logo on the first and last page. The same applies to your domain and other contact details.




6. Visual gimmicks


It flickers and flutters and every animation PowerPoint offers should be tried out? Don’t torture the eyes and nerves of your audience.




7. Embed fonts


If the presentation software allows it, embed your fonts in the file. Otherwise, impressive visual effects may occur during the presentation on a foreign system. They rarely support your message.




8. Keywords


Put keywords on your slides instead of worded text. Long texts tempt you to read them aloud and the audience will do the same. This makes you superfluous or even disturbs the reading of the audience. And to be honest; how well can you read aloud and would you like to experience this yourself as a participant in the audience?




9. Simple graphics or photos instead of lots of text


Visualize your messages in such a way that they can be understood quickly and clearly. A simple photo, a sketch underlining the statements of speakers are good.




10. Embed multimedia elements


It is safer to embed the multimedia elements so that they also work during the presentation. What worked in the office can look completely different on another computer. Also, file often on the computer or server in the office and are inadvertently not taken along.




11. Standard quality


A large headline, about five bullet points and quickly set a nice picture next to it. Ready?

Most presentations with PowerPoint and Co. look similar. This quickly leads to fatigue in the audience. Those who design their slides more differently and appealingly attract and hold the attention of the audience.




12. Fonts


The choice of font is a statement. Beyond standard fonts, such as Times New Roman and Arial, there are worthwhile fonts to discover. In addition to readability, the message of the font also plays an important role. Please be careful with the number of fonts used.




13. Own hardware for the presentation


Preferably use your hardware for the presentation. Safe is safe! Murphy is already waiting to be remembered.




14. corporate design


Coordinate the presentation with the corporate design.




15. Graphic designers can work wonders


Not everyone has the budget for first-class graphic designers. But they can do what only graphic designers can do: excellent design!

When it comes to a presentation, schedule support from graphic designers.

I’m not a graphic designer, so I’m always interested in recommendations and contacts to graphic designers. If you know someone …?




16. Presentation slides are aids


More is better? No, the saying “less is more” also comes true in presentations. With presentation software and presentation slides, the respective goal should be supported. Even the most beautiful slides should not replace the speaker’s presentation. Otherwise, the file could be sent by e-mail. Not every piece of information you want to convey should be found on the slides. The slides should not replace the presentation but underline it. Remember that the focus is on you as the speaker and your message, not your presentation slides.




17. Presentation slides as a handout


To save time, presentation slides are created in such a way that they serve as a handout. The opulent result then confuses the audience.




18. Printout


Murphy prefers to be seen where it is most spectacular because that is his nature. So: Print out your slides! The poor forest? Yes, that’s right, but it calms you down.




19. Media combinations


Even the best digital presentation slides can be supplemented with analog sketches completed on site. Reach for the pen in between and go to the flip chart. This will help you attract attention.




20. Emotions


Make sure that the desired emotions are also transported via the image protection presentation.


Just ask me personally

Let's get into a conversation. Please post any questions that may interest other readers in the comments. If you are interested in coaching or training, for personal questions about that and appointments you can reach me by e-mail (, phone +49(0)30 864 213 68 and mobile phone +49(0)1577 704 53 56. You can also use this contact form. Please read the information about the privacy policy.


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What belongs to a convincing presentation with presentation software? Do you know further tips for the presentation design with PowerPoint, Keynote and Co.?


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Presentation slides
should support you and not replace you. - Karsten Noack

This article is a short excerpt from the more comprehensive course materials my clients receive in a group or individual training or coaching.

Published: February 3, 2007
Author: Karsten Noack
Revision: August 17, 2019
Translation: August 17, 2019
German version: