Bulleted text elicits a lot of animated, opinionated discussion. I’ve covered the pros and cons of bulleted text and provided some tips for working with, or without, them:
* Quickly get rid of bullets
* Cliff Atkinson’s Beyond Bullet Points
Sometimes, you can’t think of a way to avoid bullets. So, how do you format them?
Some people like to animate (build) the bullets so that they come in one-by-one. I recently heard a Web seminar by an experienced presenter in the CAD (computer aided design) field say, “I hate it when people bring all the bullets in at once. I can’t figure out which item the presenter is talking about. Please, make it easy on me.”
And just before that, I heard another experienced presenter say, “Building bullets is like spoon-feeding the audience. I hate it when presenters do that!”
So, is there a middle ground? Yes! This technique brings in all the bullets at once, dimmed, but readable. Then you undim them as you discuss them. People who like to see all the bullets at once are happy, and those who like a clue as to the current item you’re discussing are fulfilled as well.
PowerPoint doesn’t have an undimming feature, so you need to change the font color, using animation. Here’s are the steps:
1. Format the bullets in a medium color, such as gray. Make sure that the color you choose is visible against your background.
2. Choose Slide Show>Custom Animation. (In PowerPoint 2007, choose the Animations tab> Custom Animation.
3. Select the text placeholder with the bullets by clicking anywhere inside it.
4. Choose Add Effect> Emphasis> Change Font Color. (You may have to click More Effects to find the Change Font Color animation.)
5. Set the Font Color to the default font color. Set the speed to Fast; there’s no reason to make audiences wait while the font changes color. Keep the default On Click in the Start box, so that you can undim each line as you get to it.
Try this technique the next time you create a bulleted slide and see if the audience is happier!