How often have you been in this situation: You and your team have a series of big presentations looming and despite excellent content, the PowerPoint templates themselves aren’t the show-stopping documents you need them to be.
Whether it’s down to a mix of different talent levels related to building PowerPoint templates or busy colleagues using outdated and off-brand assets, poor PowerPoint presentations are at best boring, confusing and inconsistent, and at worst an unprofessional design nightmare that distracts from the message being delivered.
Luckily, there are a lot of quick and easy ways to turn even the most inexperienced slide contributor into the office PowerPoint pro. Here are seven of our go-to PowerPoint tips for building PowerPoint templates that won’t disappoint.
1. Start with a core PowerPoint template
According to recent PWC research, success in business lies with brands that have a strong corporate identity, like Apple, BMW, Coca-Cola and Facebook. As brand consistency is integral to building brand integrity, the starting point for building a PowerPoint presentation should be the implementation of your visual corporate identity on all core elements of the template.
To do this, add logos and graphics, format text boxes with company fonts and bullet styles, and set the correct color themes for default shape and chart formats. In short, make sure all the visual elements used in your presentation are tailored to your brand.
2. Make building PowerPoint templates a customizable process
You can’t predict all the ways employees will want to communicate through PowerPoint, so templates should represent a variety of different scenarios to avoid creating limitations or focusing on just one type of presentation. Creating several PowerPoint templates is a good idea, for example, one designed for large audience presentations and another for monthly internal reports.
As noted by PowerPoint expert Maria Toft, Microsoft Office and Office 365 come with preset slide layouts, but you can easily customize these by making the below slide deck fundamentals your own:
Front, first slide and intro slide layouts: here you can have a header, picture, and short text.
Content / text layout is useful for all kind of PowerPoint presentation slides: text, table, chart, SmartArt and even video.
Agenda slides 2 x content slide layouts: use this slide if you what to explain a table, figure or chart, or just want text in two columns.
Divider: make a break or intro to the next chapter of your presentation - it’s good for the audience to see a clean slide with little information.
Text + image: always use picture-placeholders for inserting pictures, because they keep their size ratio and placement, and the design on the slide remains intact.
End slide: make sure your attention to detai doesn’t stop at the final slide, and make a (good) lasting impression with a strong presentation exit.
Watch this short video and learn more how Templafy tools can increase your productivity in PowerPoint
3. Build additional files with default slides or content that can be copied
Don’t be tempted to produce 100 slide documents when you're building PowerPoint templates - this will just leave users with the time-wasting task of cleaning up files and removing content before giving presentations or sharing documents with others.
Instead, build a set of additional files with content that users can copy and paste as needed. Commonly needed slides include:
Shapes and smartart.
4. Create PowerPoint slides for all skill sets
Not every employee is clued up on how to make a PowerPoint presentation stand out. It’s unlikely your entire team is made up of PowerPoint wizzes or talented graphic designers, so make sure your templates are intuitive for varying skill sets.
Another option is to help improve skillsets by making use of Microsoft’s range of resources to help employees improve their PowerPoint skills through regular software training. Thanks to the launch of the Microsoft Partner Network, 640,000 partners worldwide - including Templafy - can now offer companies resources, training and technology to ensure their workforce have an advanced understanding of Microsoft products, including PowerPoint.
If you’re building PowerPoint templates, it's a good idea to create ‘simple’ and ‘advanced’ versions, to help employees transition between levels of PowerPoint knowledge.
5. Use shortcuts to save time
Practice makes perfect, so the less time spent creating slides, the more time employees can spend perfecting their performance. That’s where handy Office shortcuts come in: according to research, if you’re using keyboard shortcuts in Office applications you can shave off 2 seconds of every minute, 16 minutes off every workday, and 64 hours of every year.
There’s an almost endless list of PowerPoint shortcuts (check out this helpful PowerPoint building blog, serving you loads of amazing time-saving shortcuts) but below are some of our PowerPoint specific essentials…
- Shapes and slides:
You can duplicate selected shapes or ppt slides more quickly than with copy and paste by pressing Ctrl+D. New slides can be created by pressing Ctrl+M. You can select a number of shapes and group them together by pressing Ctrl+G or Ctrl+Shift+G to ungroup them. You can even copy the formatting of a shape with Ctrl+Shift+C, and paste it onto another shape with Ctrl+Shift+V.
Teach your colleagues that they can use shortcuts to show off your PowerPoint skills while presenting. Shift+F5 will start the presentation from whichever slide you are currently on. If you want to draw attention to any particular area of the slide by zooming in with the + key, and panning with the arrow keys. Zoom out again with the – key.
- Make your own shortcuts:
Customized templates can have their own customized keyboard shortcuts. Navigate to the relevant menu with keyboard shortcuts: press Alt+F to open the File Menu, then T to open the options. Then head to Customize Ribbon and press the Customize button to bring up the list of all the functions you can assign shortcuts to.
6. Make life easier with add-ins
PowerPoint add-ins are another smart way of building PowerPoint templates that stand out not just in your office, but in your competition. Add-ins like SlideProof offer sophisticated checking tools that detect (and fix) inconspicuous errors including double spaces, hyphenation, missing footnotes, mixed fonts, color schemes, alignment, margins, bullet types and page numbers.
We’re also big fans of Pexels, which plugs into a huge online library of stock images for commercial use, so you can browse their image selection without ever having to leave PowerPoint. When text heavy slides are a no-go in presentation etiquette, sometimes a well-placed stock image is just what you need to turn your PowerPoint game around.
7. Be dynamic with slide customization
With its deep integration with PowerPoint, Templafy is a handy tool for reducing time spent creating, customizing and building PowerPoint presentations.
Rather than starting a document from scratch, Templafy gives employees access to your company’s pre-approved asset library of ready-to-go slides and on-brand content elements such as images and graphics right. Available from within PowerPoint itself, you can access your templates on any device to easily produce good-looking, brand compliant presentations.
Templafy also dynamically personalizes PowerPoint templates to individuals’ needs, so generic company templates can be personalized into thousands of different on-brand presentations with the right look and feel, as well as up-to-date company data and legal disclaimers.
Forgoing expensive IT costs and resources, Brand Managers can easily roll out any changes themselves enterprise-wide - no matter how big or small via the Admin platform. Now they can rest assured that users always have the most relevant and up-to-date assets to hand.
Want to find out more about how Templafy is your secret tool to building PowerPoint templates that are as show-stopping as they are brand compliant? Let’s talk!