Slide Design

Design tips on creating "slides" and computer presentations:


Keep wording simple, concise, and clear. 

Amount of Information
Don't use too many words.   Limit text to 7 words across, 5-7 lines per slide. Break down complicated slides into a series of simple slides. Use key words and phrases; not sentences. 

Grammatical Structure
Maintain the same sentence structure throughout your slide, for example, start every phrase with a similar verb tense. Check for similar phrase structure throughout. Be CONSISTENT!


Size of Letters
Use a MINIMUM of 18-24 points for optimal projection of overheads, slides, or computer presentations.

Type of Letters
Use serif, sans serif, but not decorative script for most of your presentation text. 

Case of Letters
Titles can be UPPER CASE, but use both upper and lower case for the body of your text. It is easier to read.

Text Alignment
Left justified text is easier to read than centered text or text justified on both sides.


Use photos to reinforce concepts or the application of an idea, especially when realism is essential.

Use illustrations to demonstrate steps or the progression of a process.

Line Markers
If you like them, use bullets. Number items ONLY when it is necessary to present an order to things of when presenting step-by-step instructions. Use arrows and other highlights to draw attention to important areas or content on a slide.

Tables and Graphs
Use tables when there is no other way to present your data. Charts and graphs are preferred since they can highlight trends and comparisons in a visual manner.


Horizontal formats project better than vertical formats.

Dark backgrounds project better and are easier on the eyes than light backgrounds. Light colored letters show up better than dark. Do not use red as a background color (tough on the eyes) and watch the color combinations you select. Make sure you get enough contrast between colors that you use. Yellow is good to use to get attention. Use different colors to separate ideas; but use similar colors to carry an idea across several slides. Try not to use more than five colors per slide.


If you use artwork and photographs from books, magazines, and journals, you should seek permission from the copyright holder. Working at a State educational institution does not constitute "fair use" for educational purposes in every case, nor does it make you immune to meeting the tests for fair use. Most authors and copyright holders will give permission over the phone or via e-mail if you promise to follow up with a letter requesting permission.