An easy to read slide makes you look better to your audience. Remember the following points when you design your slides, because knowing how to design easy-to-read slides is quite different than knowing how to design good copy for printing on paper.
- Use horizontal images (landscape rather than portrait), with width equal to one-and-one-half times the height. An ideal page size is 7.33 inches by 11.00 inches, but some software has you use another size.
- Keep your text to a minimum on each line. You do not need to use full sentences on a slide. Just use key words from your speech. If you put all the words you say on the slide, people will pay less attention to you.
- Use only a few items per slide. Use either bullets or numbers to distinguish each item from the others. Your audience pays more attention if the images change frequently than they do if you keep the same slide showing for a long time.
- Use large type, preferably a typeface that has no serifs, such as Arial. Serifs on the letters help the eye move from letter to letter on paper, but tests have shown them to be a hindrance on slides.
- Leave space around the edges of your text. Words that go right to the edge of the slide get cut off and do not look good. If you have too many words to fit comfortably, you need to make a second slide, not jam more onto the one you have by making the text smaller or going right to the edges.
- To distinguish between different areas (for example, in a bar chart), use different colors rather than different patterns. Many patterns (diagonal lines, cross-hatching, etc.) are composed of lines with "zero", or minimum thickness. Minimum thickness on 35mm film is so thin that it is hard to see.
- With projected light, bright, light, warm colors seem to advance toward the viewer, while dark, cool colors seem to recede. Therefore, always use darker, cooler colors for your background and brighter, ligher colors for your text. The eye is most sensitive to yellow light, thus most people use yellow for their titles and highlighted, important text.
- If you want to put a scanned image on your slide, use one with an appropriate size. If you want a picture to take up one-quarter of the slide, a 600x900 pixel image is the right size. Note that if you are doing the scanning yourself, you get 600x900 pixels by scanning a 6x9 inch photo at 100 dpi, a 2x3 inch photo at 300 dpi, or something similar. You should not use a scan which is too small or too large.