Long time ago you have to think of real-sounding story to explain your lies. Today in 21st century you can just make powerpoint presentation. One day it comes to every designer — he has to stare at icon that looks like hebrew qoph letter jumping in his Dock. When this glorious event happened with me I decided to make professional good looking on every PC or Mac presentation and try not to kill all the people while doing it. The first statements were okay but I wanted to kill all and everyone when I finished making the presentation. So I made a list of advices that can help to save not whole Earth population, but at least it’s half.

Making PowerPoint presentations is fun… yeah… uhm…

  1. All objects are better be drawn in Illustrator or other vector graphic editor that exports to PDF and supports RGB colour model. PowerPoint works with PDF, imagine that!
  2. Proportions of the presentation must be 4:3, so everyone can see the whole slide on every weird laptop. Size by default (720x540) sound tiny nowadays so I made all bitmap object twice as big as they were supposed to and then changed their sizes in powerpoint.
  3. Save as much objects as you can as PDF with fonts embedded. Place all the objects you cand on the slide background. Don't forget, that powerpoint allows only one background image that would be stretched or tiled, so you better size your backgrounds equal to slide size.
  4. PowerPoint understands non-system fonts if you install them on the computer with presentation. Sometimes it's enough to place fonts in the same folder with presentation, but sometimes is isn't. From now on you can create presentations with any fonts but be sure to check if it looks okay with system fonts. It usually does if texts are aligned with text tools, not with spaces ;)
  5. Don't apply all effects like transparency, reflections, vulgar shadows etc. in powerpoint if it is possible. Applying them in powerpoint doesn't reduce filesize but fills RAM with trash and makes it work unstable. If powerpoint decides that there is not enough memory to show effect, it would hide not just the effect but also the object effect was applied to. Sometimes it makes computer reboot and trashes the presentation file.
  6. Avoid templates, because texts in them act like they want but not like you expect. Create everything with your hands, even bulleted lists. As we all know if information can become unreadable — it will in the most reliable moment.
  7. Don't forget to uncheck Shrink text to fit in Alignment and Spacing panel. That shrinkage acts weird too.
  8. The last but not least: save your presentation file after each change and store it on local hard drive. Always save using new name (Save as…). Some versions of powerpoint like PowerPoint 2008 for Mac OS X delete the file during autosave then try to write to it, have problem with permissions and write nothing leaving you with your 0 bytes file. I'm not sure if this problem is common for all version but better be prepared! ;)

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I tried to create presentations using Keynote. It’s easy, comfy and faste, but it doesn’t export to PPT as good as I expected. So there are still situations when you need to use powerpoint.

And the conclusion of working with PowerPoint from Dilbert: