Six Simple Ways to Push your PowerPoint Over the Top

Let’s face it - these days, everyone over the age of eight knows how to make a PowerPoint presentation. They’ve been a staple (for good reason) in your classes since you were eight years old and making heavily animated presentations about Christopher Columbus, and they’re still around in most college lecture classes.

The problem comes in when you walk into a lecture class and all 200 students have made a PowerPoint that looks exactly the same. There’s no need for you to do the same! You’re a creative, savvy collegiette - and there’s a lot more you can do with this program than you realize. Instead of blending into the crowd, pick a tip or two from the list below and get ready for an A on that next group project, biology presentation, or public speaking final.

Tip #1: Use shortcuts to make your presentation look neater

PowerPoint comes with a ton of built-in features that will make your presentation (and you, by extension) look a lot more professional and tech-savvy. Try using snap-to-grid and snap-to-object to make your slides more clean and neatly arranged. Or use SmartArt graphics (as shown below) to present graphic information in a fresh, new way.


Tip #2: Spice things up with presentation-focused features

While PowerPoint has pretty much everything you could need built into the program, there are a lot of cool (and free) extras out there as well - often in the form of easy-to-download apps. Try downloading the Omnidazzle app to access features like an onscreen “laser pointer” and spotlight. And that’s just the beginning - the app can provide all kinds of ways to highlight your text, from cutouts to a “pixie dust” feature - although you might want to save that for something less serious than a class presentation!

Tip #3: Don’t use a template everyone’s seen a million times

Most people don’t venture past the pre-selected backgrounds in their PowerPoint window - but Microsoft Office’s website has thousands of templates to choose from. For a quick, easy way to spice up your presentation, use one of these less-familiar templates...or explore a little on your own!

  • Carnival - this theme is colorful, but simple and professional at the same time
  • Colored Pencils - a fun theme that’d be perfect for an art class presentation or an elementary education major
  • Bulletin Board - the tacked-up look of this theme is anything but tacky, and it’s unique enough to keep everyone’s eyes on your presentation
  • Windmills - sustainability is a hot topic these days - if you’re doing a presentation on green issues, here’s a great theme to use
  • Light Bulb - Want your presentation to spark a bright idea? Use this template!