Sunday, April 20, 2008

Quick PowerPoint Tips With Your Laptop

Font size:

Try this: Look at this screen from
12 feet away, and then from 6 feet.

Sign painter's rule of thumb:
1" letter is readable from 10 ft.
2" letter from 20 ft.
3" letter from 30 ft.
Assume 72 point fonts are 1" high
You can do the math.

Before you start to prepare your presentation, determine (guess) how far your audience will be from your screen, then choose the best font size. Choosing the right font size is 90% of the job.

point size is actually measured from ascender to descender

Font Selection:

These fonts may look fine when you're close to the screen but look at this screen from 6 ft.

From a distance, you'll notice that the serif (Times) font and the 'narrow' or condensed font are more difficult to read.

There's always that struggle to squeeze more words into limited space so using a narrow font may sometimes be necessary.

Don't sacrifice readability for style.
Keep your eye on the ball, your job is
to communicate.


Yellow with black lettering is considered the most readable. (school buses and traffic signs)

. . . however,

On a sign, color is paint.
On screen, color is light.
What may work on a sign or in print
may not work well on an LCD

re: Reds and greens.
Ambient light affects contrast by turning rich, deep burgundys and hunter greens into pastels. There's also the colorblindness issue, about 10% have difficulty with reds and greens.

Control the seating

1. If you can control the seating, be mindful that sunlight streaming directly on your laptop's screen will 'wash it out', make it less visable. Seat your audience in the most favorable lighting. If you're in a restaurant, try to seat your audience with their backs to the wall.

2. A wireless mouse or even a mouse with a long cord could be useful in a boardroom setting, you could run a powerpoint presenation from a distance.

3. When presenting to a very small group (1 to 4 people), put your laptop in the middle of the table and encourage them move it around. It's always better to have your audience participate.

4. Store the CoolPad(tm) in your carrying case, you'll never know when you'll want to share your powerpoint stuff