When you prepare presentations or templates for your clients or your manager, apply these PowerPoint graphics tips  so your presentation will be easy to modify and the PowerPoint file will be as useful as possible. This not only results in a happier client, it shows off your PowerPoint know-how. And even if you are just working on a presentation for your own use, follow these tips to get a more useable, flexible presentation.

Graphics as separate elements

When a client asks for a PowerPoint presentation that has a lot of graphics-intensive slides, whenever possible it is best to bring in those graphics as individual, separate elements rather than as a complete, single graphic. Keeping the elements separate allows the user to build in detailed animations. It also enables them to make last-minute adjustments to their presentation.

For example, if you have a graphic of a fancy chart, make each bar a separate element so each bar can be animated separately. Or if you have a slide that is a montage of multiple graphics, insert each graphic as a separate image (use transparent-background PNGs for great results!), then arrange the montage within PowerPoint. This way if the user needs to swap out an image or move things around, he can do that without having to go to you to do it… which will minimize frustration for everyone concerned!

On all slides other than only the most special cases, the elements on the slide should be individual things on the master background so they can move be moved around or so the user can make on-the-fly changes to the presentation. Otherwise it’s just frustrating for the client when all they want to do is move something over by an inch but they can’t because the whole slide is one big graphic. This also allows the client to decide to change to a different template without requiring you to remake the slides for him with a different background.

“Templatizing” as the final step

When your PowerPoint project is to design a “template,” typically the process is to create a presentation with examples of all the different types of slides, which is then passed back and forth between you and the client until it is just as the client wants it.

Once the design work is over, there is another big step to turn that design into a template. This includes taking the design and creating the background slide, setting the Master slides, the fonts, and the color palette. It is easy to forget that last step! Be careful not to refer to the design as a “template” until that step is done or else your client will be very disappointed in the template (and in you) the first time he goes to create a new presentation.

The moral of the story

Want your clients to be happy with your PowerPoint templates? Don’t build your slides in Photoshop or another graphics program then insert full-screen graphics with elements “merged” onto the background. Doing this completely removes all flexibility from your presentation. Also, be sure to take the time to turn your “design” into an actual “template” before you say you’re all done. Until you’ve set up the master slides and other template basics — it’s still just a presentation design.

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