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Have you ever spent ages trying make your boxes line up in the middle on PowerPoint? Or, have you never even thought about boxes being in line but felt your PowerPoint slides were lacking?

PowerPoint is critical to any office career, so it is crucial to have clear slides that are easy to understand and support what you’re saying. The best way to turn a basic presentation into a professional one is in the little details and mastering PowerPoint techniques . Here are 5 top tips to take your slides to the next level.


1. Align is your best friend

If you ever need anything to be perfectly in the centre or you wanted three items to be evenly spaced vertically or horizontally, the Align and Distribute functions are your best friend. Both found under the “Arrange” option on the Home tab, items on your slides can be selected and then aligned to the top, middle and centre and/or distributed. You can also select multiple items to have them all in the same line. Once things are in line and evenly spaced, you can never go back to seeing misalignment again.

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2. Group lets you move things that go together at once

Utilising the Align can sometimes go awry when selecting multiple items. For example, if you have three images and you want them to be evenly spaced and for them to be centred, this won’t happen by simply selecting all and then clicking “Align Center”. This is when Group comes in to help you align multiple items at once.

Once you have distributed the three images separately, then select all three and group them, and the “Align Center” function will work better to your needs. Individual items can still be selected even when they are grouped, and you can ungroup or group them as you wish. Now items that belong together can stay together.





3. Make your numbers clearer 

You may need to present your numbers and calculations, especially in accounting and finance. However, your audience doesn’t want to see the excel spreadsheet you worked from. It may make sense to you but it won’t make sense to your listeners and it isn’t clear. You want to make it as easy to read as possible. Below is an example of how it looks with an excel table compared to selecting the key takeaways and highlighting them with clear rectangles.


Balance Sheet

Bonus tip: edit text of shapes instead of text boxes

Text boxes are the bane of PowerPoint’s existence, their inconsistent sizing and alignment of text makes them frustrating to use. Instead, create rectangles using shapes (you can make the outline and background white or transparent if you want it to work like a text box) and then right click and select “Edit Text”. The text will always be within the shape and fit accordingly. You can still change the font size and colour as you wish.



4. Use Slide Master to create templates 

Templates are highly useful when you wish to create slides that have similar placeholders or designs, such as for the title, a slide tracker on the bottom, page number design or a “Source” text box in the same place on every slide. The best place to create templates is in Slide Master, found under the View tab.

You can add and edit placeholders, images, shapes, add logos, go wild! Placeholders are boxes or locations on the slide where you want text to go. You can also rename the different slide types you create in the template to find them easier when you make new slides.

It may require more time initially, but is more efficient in the long run. Next time you need to add a new slide, you can simply select one of the template options you had previously made and voila, there it is, ready for you to edit. Here you can also add specific guidelines to help you with alignment if you want certain content to be in a certain area.




Bonus tip: Set a default colour scheme and fonts, or create your own!

Default colour schemes and fonts are great for ensuring that the colours work together aesthetically and that every time you edit a new shape or text box, the font is always the same without having to change it each time. These can all be set in the Slide Master tab when you are in Slide Master view to keep it uniform for the whole slide deck. You can even scroll down to customise your own fonts and colour schemes! We recommend using a colour picker (there are add ons on Google Chrome) if you find a colour you like on the internet and want the exact same colour code for your slides.


5. Compress images if you have a large file

Some PowerPoint files can be huge when you’re squeezing in plenty of shapes, images and content. It is common for some PowerPoint files to range from 50MB to 100MB! This can make sending or uploading your PowerPoint significantly difficult.

A tip to quickly make your file smaller is to compress images. This is done by selecting an image (we recommend selecting one that’s large or high-res), going to the “Picture Tools” tab that pops up and selecting “Compress Pictures”. In newer or perhaps Mac versions of PowerPoint, Compress Pictures is simply shown as the image without the text, in case you have trouble finding it. Then a box pops up to select options. We recommend deselecting “Apply only to this picture” so that you can simultaneously compress all the images in the file as well as “Delete cropped areas of pictures” with “Screen (150 ppi) as the target output.

You can select one image and then simultaneously compress all the images in your deck, generally it doesn’t change anything about how the presentation looks. We’ve turned a 70MB presentation into 7MB simply by compressing images, and it hasn’t effected the resolution when on a projector. However, make sure you check your slides after compressing, as occasionally some images can be made smaller or squished, then simply enlarge or resize them.


These are some of our top PowerPoint tips for professional presentations, the more practice and fluency you have with the program, the more skills you will learn and you might create your own shortcuts for doing things!

To develop more comprehensive PowerPoint skills, we provide corporate training in PowerPoint to excel your experience, for more information, contact us at or call us at 1300 369 809.


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