Questions to Ask Before Starting Your Presentation

Before you start creating a PPT presentation, maximize your time and efficiency by asking yourself these 4 questions:

Who is my audience?

a. Audience type/persona?

b. Expected number of people in attendance?

c. Length of time allowed?

Why am I giving this presentation? What is its purpose?

Your audience wants to know what you can do for them.

What is the message?

a. What is the Main Takeaway?

b. What is the Call-To-Action?

Where is the presentation taking place?

a. Will you need internet access?

b. Are there Firewall limitations?

Developing Your Concept

Before you start designing your slides, create a storyline for your audience to experience.

Create a skeleton – Outline/Script-out the Presentation:

Beginning – What is the company’s problem or opportunity? (Their present situation?)

Middle – What unique idea do you have to offer them? Compare the current situation with what could be.

End – The promise of future payoff

Determine which slides are Visual vs. which are Text Slides

Review existing assets – see what current assets are available. Determine which elements are best suited for communicating your message.

Review case studies – It’s helpful to review previous presentations. (PPT team to select or create case studies)

a. What worked for the presenter? Why?

b. Lessons learned (Show with specific slides)

Before You Start Designing

Once you have the Goals of your PPT developed, the next step is to lay the ground work for your presentation:

Your slide’s message should be grasped within 3 seconds

Which elements are best suited for your communication? Visual Driven or Word Driven?

Diagrams / Charts / Graphs – Should be simple to read and comprehend, truthful and to-the-point. Highlight important information.

Photos – Choose images that work well together and are cohesive. Your images should give consideration to your audience (culture, ethnicity, etc.)

Illustrations – Can help simpify intricate stories

Check the web – Does Esri have an existing website or landing page to refer to for design style?

Design – Help the audience see what you’re saying

Text Distinction – Keep titles, subtitles and body copy distinct from one another. Make the most important info the most prominent

Space – Give your message breathing room

Make sure you’re using the latest template:

Dark Template – Formal, good for large venues, not handouts

Light Template – Informal, bright feel, small venues, yes handouts

Is the aspect Ratio 16:9 (13.33''w X 7.5''h)?

Use consistency throughout the layout/design:

Same fonts throughout presentation

Use consistent text placement, size, and color

Be consistent with your image placement

Are you using the most current icons?

Alignment – Check your headers. They should placed in the same location on every slide. on the same X and Y axis throughout the presentation.

Use Guides to ensure consistency

Where to find templates and tools for your presentation:

Compass.esri.com / Presentation Resources / Templates and Tools



Don’t use oversized images (ex: images over 5 megs - they can effect functionality)

Don’t use EPS, TIFF, AI, PDF or PSD image formats

Don’t use CMYK colors

Don’t use too much info on 1 slide – too much info on a slide becomes noise. The message becomes convoluted

Don’t overuse styles, effects, or animations, they can be distracting

Don’t decorate your slides, design them


Use Images 150 dpi at 100% of actual size


Use JPG or PNG image formats

Use clear messaging

Give your slide open space… space is your friend

Steps for PPT Success

A PPT presentation is a visual aid to help you engage your audience and enhance your message. It is not a document or email for them to read.

How to create an effective layout

a. Avoid paragraphs of text and long bullet lists

b. Backgrounds should not compete with content

c. Text and images should stay within the “Live Area” marked by the preexisting guides

d. Keep it clean – Avoid cluttering the slide. Too much information on one slide will turn into “noise” to the viewer

e. Guides – Use guides (see “c”) to align text consistently throughout presentation

How much text do I use on my slide?

a. The PPT Presentation is a visual aid, not a document. Use as few words as possible, or the audience will read the slides and not listen to you

b. Keep headlines to one line

c. Animated Text – Do not animate your text unless it benefits or adds meaning to the subject matter

d. Document vs. Persuasion

Which layout is best for my presentation?

Dark Template – Traditional, good for larger event sites, not handouts

Light Template – Casual, bright feel, small venues, yes handouts

Basic PPT Tips

How to add images– Click and the Picture button and choose picture from file

How to format pictures

Select the picture on your slide and a Picture Format Tab appears.

Within the Format Tab (or "right-click" and select Format Picture from menu) you can select many different ways to adjust your picture. Format options include cropping, image transparency, artistic effects, removing the background, brightness and contrast adjustment, image order and image alignment and much more…

How to reset images to original size and format

Select the image you want to reset. Within the Format Panel (as shown above) select the Reset Picture Pull-Down / Reset Picture & Size.

Grouping images and/or text

Select the pictures/text boxes on your slide while holding down the SHIFT Key

PC = (Quick Key = ˆg to Group; ˆ⇧g = to Ungroup)

MAC = (Quick Key = ⌘⌥g to Group; ⌘⌥⇧g = to Ungroup)

How to Reorder Objects on your slide (bring forward, send back)

Tables – How to Create New Tables in PowerPoint

Figure 1 – Select Insert > Table > Insert Table and enter the number of columns and rows desired. Content can then be entered into the table cells and formatted

Figure 2 – Select Insert > Table and drag your mouse over the squares and a table will form on your slide. Drag horizontally to create columns, drag vertically to create rows

Table Pre-Design – Select Design from your Tabs section and choose from a variety of pre-designed Table Styles

No Style, No Grid (circled here), or choose from a variety of pre-designed styles
Select the Layout Tab to adjust Rows and Column, Text and Cells

Table Custom Design – Choose No Style, No Grid and create your own custom design using Table Style Options; Table Styles - Shading, Borders, Effects; WordArt Styles; and Draw Borders

Sample of custom table

Tables – How to Copy and Paste Tables from Microsoft Word into PowerPoint

  1. In Word select the table that you want to copy, go to Layout > Select > Select Table
  2. On the Home tab, in the Clipboard group, select Copy
  3. In your PowerPoint presentation, select the slide that you want to copy the table to, and then on the Home tab, in the Clipboard group, click Paste

Helpful Quick Keys for Windows Users

Start slideshow from beginning = F5

Start slideshow from current slide = Shift+F5

Hide the projected Image while in presentation mode:

– Blacks the screen = B or “.” (period)

– Whites the screen = W or “,” (comma)

Group objects = Control + G

Ungroup objects = Control + Shift + G

Create Hyperlink = Control + K

Send back = Shift + Control + { (left bracket symbol)

Bring forward = Shift + Control + } (right bracket symbol)

Increase font size = Shift + Control + > (greater than symbol)

Decrease font size = Shift + Control + < (less than symbol)

Helpful Quick Keys for Mac Users

Start slideshow from beginning = Shift + Command + Return

Start slideshow from current slide = Command + Return

Hide the projected Image while in presentation mode:

– Blacks the screen = B or “.” (period)

– Whites the screen = W or “,” (comma)

Group objects = Command + Option + G

Ungroup objects = Command + Option + Shift + G

Show Guides = Command + Option + Control + G

Create Hyperlink = Command + K

Send back = NA

Bring forward = NA

Increase font size = Shift + Command + > (greater than symbol)

Decrease font size = Shift + Command + < (less than symbol)

Created By
Brian Pettitt

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