The Definition of a Slide (or Slides) in a PowerPoint Presentation

Person holding microscope slide

Presentation software such as PowerPoint generates a series of slides to accompany a human presenter or to be recorded as a stand-alone presentation. A slide is a single screen of a presentation, and every presentation is composed of several slides. Depending on the subject matter, the best presentations may consist of 10 to 12 slides to get a message across, but more may be needed for complex subjects.

Slides keep an audience's attention during a presentation and provide additional supporting information in textual or graphic format. 

Selecting Slide Formats in PowerPoint

When you open a new PowerPoint presentation file, you are presented with a large selection of slide templates that you can choose from to set the tone for your presentation. Each template has a series of related slides in the same theme, color, and font choice for different purposes. You can choose a template and use only the additional slides that work for your presentation.

The first slide of a presentation is usually a title or introductory slide. It typically consists of text only, but it can include graphic elements or images as well. Subsequent slides are chosen based on the information to be transmitted. Some slides contain images, or charts and graphs.

Transitions Between Slides

Slides follow one after another during a presentation, either at a set time or when the presenter advances the slides manually. PowerPoint includes a large number of transitions you can apply to slides. A transition controls the appearance of one slide as it transitions to the next. Transitions include one slide morphing into another, a fade of one to another, and all sorts of special effects such as page curls or animated motion.

Although transitions add extra interest to a slide presentation, overdoing them by applying a different spectacular effect to each slide tends to look unprofessional and may even distract the audience from what the speaker is saying, so use transitions judiciously.

Enhancing a Slide

Slides can have sound effects attached to them. The sound effects list includes cash register, crowd laughing, drum roll, whoosh, typewriter and many more. 

Adding motion to an element on a slide – a line of text or an image – is called animation. PowerPoint comes with a large selection of stock animations you can use to generate movement on a slide. For example, you can choose a headline and have it zoom in from the margin, spin around 360 degrees, flip in one letter at a time, bounce into position or one of many other stock animation effects.

As with transitions, don't use so many special effects that the audience is distracted from the content of the slide. 

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