I see lots of bad slides! One thing that I notice is that people ignore PowerPoint’s layouts. Please don’t!
Layouts provide a framework for your slides so that they are all consistent:
- Font sizes
- Title placement
- Image and text placement
How do I choose a layout?
Let PowerPoint’s layouts do the heavy lifting for you. When you’re ready to create a slide, first choose a layout. In all versions of PowerPoint, you can do this by right-clicking in an empty area of the slide and choosing Layout or Slide Layout. In PowerPoint 2003, the Slide Layout task pane will open. In PowerPoint 2007 and 2010, you’ll see the options at the cursor, as you see here.
The less designing skill you have, the more you need layouts. Good designers can work with a blank slide (the Blank layout) and make it look coherent. Most others can’t.
I recommend that you consciously choose the layout for every slide in your presentation.
My favorite layout is the Title Only layout. Why?
It gives me consistency plus flexibility–the best of 2 worlds. I like using a slide title and filling the rest of the slide with an image and the Title Only layout lets me do that.
What if there isn’t a layout that I like?
In PowerPoint 2007 and 2010, you can create custom layouts. This is a great feature, so see my tip, “Create a custom layout” for details. Another tip, “Create a product catalog with custom layouts,” provides an example of creating a custom layout for a specific purpose.
How would you use the Title Only layout? How do you use layouts in general? Leave a comment to share with other readers!