9 PowerPoint Presentation Tips for Students

Create classroom presentations worthy of an 'A'

The Ultimate Guide to Online Learning at Home
The Ultimate Guide to Online Learning at Home

Making effective classroom presentations takes practice. When you follow a few PowerPoint presentation tips for students, you'll be up to the challenge. These presentation tips refer to PowerPoint slides (all versions) and can be applied to any type of slide presentation.

Student presenting PowerPoint slides in front of classroom
Gareth Brown / Getty Images
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Plan Your Slide Layout

Slide layouts in PowerPoint

Make your slides easy to follow. Put the title at the top where your audience expects to find it. Phrases should read left to right and top to bottom. Keep important information near the top of the slide. Often the bottom portions of slides cannot be seen from the back rows because heads are in the way.

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Avoid Fancy Fonts

Theme fonts in PowerPoint

Choose a font that is simple and easy to read, such as Arial, Times New Roman, or Verdana. You may have a really cool font on your computer, but save it for other uses. Often, fancy fonts aren't easy to read on a screen and distract more than anything.

Don't use more than two different fonts, one for headings and another for content. Keep all fonts large enough (at least 18 pt and preferably 24 pt) so that people at the back of the room can easily read the text.

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Use Contrasting Colors for Text and Background

Color themes in PowerPoint

Dark text on a light background is best. This combination offers the most visibility. Sometimes, though, you may want a dark background for effect, to dazzle the crowd. In that case, make the text a light color for easy reading in a classroom presentation.

Text is often difficult to read on patterned or textured backgrounds. Keep the color scheme consistent throughout your classroom presentation.

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Keep Slide Design Consistent With a Theme

Design themes in PowerPoint

When you use a design theme, choose one that won't detract from your classroom presentation. Also, keep the slide design consistent with that theme. Test it ahead of time to make sure that the text is readable and that the graphics don't get lost in the background.

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Use Footnotes to Add Information

Header and Footer dialog in PowerPoint

Adding footnotes to the slides in a PowerPoint presentation allows you to document the sources of information you used in your research, just as you would if you were turning in a research paper. Use footnotes to cite quotes and statistics or to add extra details related to the text on the slide.

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Print Out Speaker Notes

PowerPoint print page

Reading a PowerPoint presentation in front of a class can be nerve-wracking. Printing your slides with speaker notes allows you to have thumbnails, text, and written notes, if you wish, so you can read along with the slides and add pertinent information. You can also use the printed slides as handouts for the class. Alternatively, you might want to add a voiceover to the slideshow to avoid speaking in class altogether.

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Run a Presentation Unattended

Set Up Show dialog in PowerPoint

There might be times when you want the slideshow to run on its own in a continuous loop, such as part of a science fair presentation. Using the Browsed at Kiosk setting when setting up the presentation lets you show the presentation unattended.

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Use Animations and Transition Effects Sparingly

Animations tab in PowerPoint

Who doesn't love to apply animations, transitions, or GIFs to a presentation? Going overboard with these elements can be entertaining, but rarely will the audience be paying attention to the message of the presentation. The slideshow is a visual aid and not the objective of the classroom presentation.

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Convert PowerPoint Shows to Google Slides

PowerPoint presentation in Google Slides

Schools often use the Google suite of productivity applications, such as Google Slides, in the classroom. If you have PowerPoint at home, you can use it to create a presentation and share it with your teacher or others using Google Slides.