Deck Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself, Part 2

6 more tips for more effective PowerPoint (PPT) slides or Google Slides presentations.

Bust out your best star wipes transitions, because we’re back with even more tips for more effective PowerPoint presentations.

Part 1 showed you the ins and outs of slide masters and other tips that cascade throughout your presentations. This companion post covers helpful tricks, especially for applying to individual slides. Ready, set, star wipe!

Drop down to wise up with templates

image alt text

This might seem obvious to some users, but it can be easy to miss. When you add a new slide to a PPT, you have the option to choose from all layouts in your Master template simply by clicking and dropping down the “+ New Slide” menu item.

You can quickly choose the layout option you need or change the layout of a slide already created. You’ll most likely still need to go in and make some alignment adjustments, but at least it’s sticking to a Master slide convention. 

If you’re frequently creating your own layouts that aren’t in this slide dropdown tool, then it’s a good idea to add that layout to your Master slides. Once you do that, moving forward you can use that custom layout while still following template conventions. 

Crop it like it’s hot

Screenshot of how to use the crop tool
Time to get up close and personal with your new friend, the crop tool

This tip for more effective PowerPoint decks is simple: Get comfortable with the crop tool. Without needing to pivot to your favorite photo editing software, you can create much more impactful imagery right in PPT. 

For example, you can adjust the zoom inside the crop window to give the image a focal point. This added depth helps make your photos more engaging, and the added visual interest draws in the eyes of the presentation’s attendees.

Also, remember there’s more to life than just the tried and true square crop. That’s right, there’s also the circle crop. Perfect for a nice modern look to headshots. Tip: The circle crop does not default to a perfect circle, so you can set height and width in the crop tool menu.

Make your charts pop

Screenshot of how to use the chart formatting menu

Did you know that you can customize your charts in PowerPoint? There are all kinds of ways, actually. After you create a chart, select the chart on your slide workspace to pop up the formatting pane on the right side of your screen. From here you can adjust where labels are positioned, and even tweak things like whether to show a percentage symbol or decimal points. You can also change the type of chart, such as convert a pie chart to a bar chart or even change the color scheme used.

One of our favorite things to adjust here at Expand is the size of the “doughnut” on the pie chart > doughnut option. A larger “doughnut” opening can actually give your chart a more design-forward look, therefore elevating the appearance of your presentation. This tip for effective PowerPoint presentations is also a great way to make single stat callouts.

Skip the eye chart

Eye chart example of too much text on one slide
Skip the eye chart so everyone knows your presentation strategy has crisp 20/20 vision

If you’ve ever said, “Okay, this next slide is an eye chart…”, then this tip is for you. We’ll even add some white space for emphasis. 

Change the way you design your slides. 

Go ahead and use multiple slides to make a larger point. The real estate is free, and you can claim as much space as you want to make more complex points. The risk of having your audience’s eyes glaze over while (not) looking at an eye chart of a slide just isn’t worth it. 

You don’t need to pare down to marketing guru Seth Godin’s limit of 6 words per slide. All you have to do is break things into more manageable chunks across multiple slides. Your main goal is to convey info to others, and your audience can’t retain what they can’t read.

This kind of “radical” shift away from “dump all the info at once” can be a big change for some companies. The larger your org, the more chance your company’s wider PPT culture can affect the success of this tip for more effective PPT presentations.  

Test the “slide build” approach

Animated gif showing a slide build approach with 5 steps revealed one at a time
5 very important steps

As an alternative to the tip above, you can “build” more and more content on a slide with each click. This allows the audience to focus on one thing at a time, even if it all ends up being on the same slide. As you talk through the slide, you can click to bring up the focal points. This is great for process slides or step-by-step slides.

Create separate leave-behind versions

If you need to include a lot of information on some slides because they’ll do double work as a leave-behind, then try creating another version of the deck. Think of it as the difference between a banner ad versus a landing page. Sometimes you’re just better off customizing the same message for different mediums, to help get the best results in each scenario.

The presentation version can have fewer words and concepts per slide with more of the heavy lifting done by the presenter. Meanwhile, the leave-behind version can be more detailed with on-slide information to best provide information in collateral form. 

This takes some planning and additional work, but it’s well worth it. After all, with a live presentation, the speaker is the focus and the slides are just there to help set up or reinforce what’s being said. Meanwhile, the avenue for communicating with a leave-behind is significantly different because the slides have to do all the work. Like conveying key info that otherwise would be lost in the talk track or in the presenter’s mind.

Bonus tip: Get PPT help from Expand

Don’t have the time to manage all your presentation decks? Wish your team had some practical training for wow-worthy slides? Reach out below so our team can save you time or run a PowerPoint tips workshop to train your team. 

You may also like...


Deck Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself, Part 1

6 tips for more effective PowerPoint (PPT) slides or Google Slides presentations, straight from Expand's official presentation slides expert.
Halloween marketing ads

Orange You Glad About Our Color of the Season?

How to use this energetic color to your advantage, from warming up seasonal marketing to boosting year-round conversion.

Contact Us

Howdy! Share a few quick details so we can help you.

    We respect your privacy and time. For details, check out our Privacy Policy.

    For general inquiries, email us at