10 powerpoint hacks to make your presentations look more professional

On:17 Jun 2022
By:Joshua Johnson
Feature:PowerPoint Templates
Length:7 min read

Our series of tips on presentation thiết kế outlined some generic rules & ideas that you can live by khổng lồ create better, more professional presentations. Today we want lớn follow that up by taking you through the actual process of designing a presentation from start khổng lồ finish.

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We’ll break down every step of the thiết kế process, from choosing colors và images to using whitespace properly. After reading through this you should be all set to lớn design your own beautiful presentation slides that will put your coworkers to shame.

Using a pre-built PowerPoint template can be a good starting point for many people (we collected some of the best PowerPoint templates for you!). But if you’re wanting lớn design your own from start-to-finish, you’re in the right place!

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A Word About Content

I usually make a big giảm giá khuyến mãi about content preceding design, và presentations are no exception. Ideally, you’ll have the topic và much or all of the content outlined before you even think about design. This will in every way shape the appearance of your design, which is why working from pre-built templates isn’t always the best move (though generic templates can and do work great in some circumstances).

The reason that I bring this up is that I don’t really have an actual presentation in mind for this project. I’ll be running with a basic theme, but the textual information will be entirely placeholder copy. Your image, font, color and layout selection shouldn’t necessarily match mine but instead reflect the topic and nội dung you’re working with.

Choosing A màu sắc Scheme

Before I even open Photoshop (yes, I design PowerPoint/Keynote slides in Photoshop và drop them in), I want to lớn find a màu sắc scheme on which to lớn base my entire design. When I need to lớn quickly find several colors that go together I usually start with Adobe màu sắc CC. Not only is it a great way khổng lồ build your own màu sắc schemes, it’s an outstanding source khổng lồ find schemes built by others that you can just grab for your projects.

As luck would have it, I liked the very first màu sắc scheme I saw upon opening Color. This scheme was featured on the trang chủ page & looked lượt thích a great place lớn start for our presentation design.


Now, if you wanted to lớn get everything exactly right, you could make a list of the RGB or Hex values, but I prefer a quicker, more direct route. What I usually vị is snap a screenshot of the color scheme, paste it into my document & stretch it across the canvas on its own layer for easy access. This way I can quickly activate the layer, eyedropper the màu sắc I want, then hide the layer & get back to lớn work. It’s a bit like having a palette of colors to dip your paintbrush in.

Designing Your Cover Slide

Now that we have a màu sắc scheme, the kiến thiết work is going to be much simpler. One trick that designers often use in presentations is khổng lồ leverage the màu sắc scheme as heavily as possible. If you’re new to lớn design, you’ll likely think that this is too easy, too plain or even that it’s cheating somehow, but trust me, it’ll be much more attractive & professional than that horrid Microsoft clipart library you love so much.

To start, simply grab one of your colors from the scheme you chose and flood the background of your slide with it (I chose #631c25). Good job, there’s your background. Don’t freak out. It’ll look great. Now let’s throw in some typography.

Choosing a Font

Font choice is a major issue for non-designers. The tendency is lớn think that most fonts are “boring” and to look around for something exciting & fun. This inevitably leads lớn the use of Comic Sans or some other equally hideous font.


Unless you’re an elementary school teacher, your presentations should never look like this. Instead, why don’t you try one of those “boring” fonts to lớn see if you can come up with something you like.

Combining fonts can be a tricky task và can take a trained eye khổng lồ pull off. Fortunately, fonts designers have already created collections that work well together & if you’re not a designer, they make it easy lớn pull off great typography. The trick is lớn just stay in a family. Again, I know this sounds lame, but it works really well if you make sure the two styles you choose are very different.

For instance, I chose a Helvetica Bold Condensed & a Helvetica Light for my cover slide. Notice how different the fonts are from each other in terms of thickness. Choosing two styles that are relatively close causes visual confusion và should be avoided as a general rule of thumb. Instead, what you want is contrast and plenty of it.


Alignment and Layout

Notice a few things about the way I set up this slide. First, I used a strong left alignment for the text. As I say in just about every design article I write, center alignment should be a last resort, not a first. It tends lớn be the weakest text alignment that you can choose, having a hard edge increases readability considerably (notice that book pages aren’t center-aligned).

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Also, notice the generous whitespace that I used. Remember that you don’t have lớn eat up every inch of space. Giving your text room lớn breathe helps your layout immensely & gives the thiết kế a clean look.

Adding an Image

At this point you might be wondering why you wasted your time reading so I could give you such plain advice. The truth is, most people that create presentations could improve them by 100% from following the advice above. However, I realize minimalism may be too extreme for some folks so let’s throw in an image to make it look nice.

Since our text is on the left, I wanted lớn find something a little heavy on the right. The general theme that I’ll go for is “City photos” assuming I had some sort of architecture or city-centric presentation to lớn give. Again, you’ll have lớn choose iamges relevant to lớn your own topic.

I grabbed this Flickr Creative Commons image from photographer Ben Spreng.


Now, if we just made this image our background, the text would become unreadable and we would be ditching our màu sắc scheme. What we’re going to vì chưng instead is set it on top of the colored slide & set our blending mode lớn Overlay. Then throw your opacity to around 45%.


As you can see, this helps the slide look much more interesting but keeps the text và colors fairly intact. It’s a simple solution that adds a lot of interest to lớn an otherwise plain design.

Adding nội dung Slides

The cover may seem like it’s only a tiny part of the battle, but you’ve actually already mix the tone for the entire presentation. You’ve got your theme, màu sắc scheme & fonts already in place. Now you just need to lớn set up a few different layouts for your content.

The thing to lớn keep in mind is to lớn keep everything extremely simple, and that includes the level of content that you include. Apart from design, these are just good presentation tactics that you’ll learn in every public speaking class. Filling your slides with everything you’re going to lớn say makes you unnecessary. You could just thư điện tử everyone the slides & shut up.

Instead, the slides are merely meant khổng lồ be a visual aid. Show a slide with your overall topic or main point, then speak the rest, without reading. Nothing is worse than watching a guy read his cảnh báo cards word-for-word for thirty minutes, except perhaps watching a guy turn his back to the audience so he can actually read his slides out loud to you the whole time! You may laugh, but I’ve seen it happen folks.

For our first content slide, we’ll grab another Flickr photo & set it to lớn the bottom portion of our slide at full bleed. Then we’ll set the đứng đầu to another color from our scheme & toss in some text using the same exact formatting that we used on the cover.

See how this closely resembles the theme we’ve already established while still looking significantly different? This is they key to good presentation design: cohesiveness without redundancy.

Now for our third slide, we can simply vị the inverse of the second slide with a new color and a new image.

Adding Informational Elements

It would be nice if every slide ever presented could work in a full bleed image, but the truth is that this simply isn’t practical. It will often be the case that you’re presenting graphical information or some other chiến thắng that isn’t necessarily a photo.

My advice here is to lớn try to stick as close khổng lồ your theme as possible. For the slide below I flooded the entire background with a solid color from our original scheme and made a quick 3d graph with white columns (I drew a few flat boxes in Illustrator and applied a 3d effect).

As you can see, this slide is very information-focused và yet it doesn’t sacrifice the aesthetics và simplicity we’ve already established.

You’re All Set

From here you might come up with one or two more alternate slide designs và then rotate between them for the duration of your speech. The result is a presentation that is beautiful, very readable & highly professional. The bonus is that the simple, straightforward thiết kế will probably result in less work than a clip-art-filled horror show.

Most of the time, great kiến thiết doesn’t mean being particularly artistic or knowing how khổng lồ create amazing complex layouts. Instead, it’s about presenting information in an attractive và user-friendly way. With this goal in mind you realize that you’re probably trying way too hard if your end result is ugly. Try cutting out half or more of the elements on one of your slides và giving what’s left a strong left or right alignment with plenty of whitespace.


I hope this article has convinced you lớn abandon that video art gallery once & for all. The benefits of clean, minimal kiến thiết in presentations are clear: the information is easier to lớn take in và the end result is more professional than the mess of information you typically see in presentation slides.

Of course, if you’re looking to get started quickly, flick through our collection of the best PowerPoint templates to find a beautiful phối of pre-made designs!

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