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Present Like a Pro

Key points when creating slides

  • Slides should be used to emphasize your oral presentation; don’t put everything you are going to say on the slides, and don’t read from them.
  • Use clear headings and titles that alert the audience to key concepts.
  • Slides should follow a consistent format (i.e. titles in the same place, in the same font, text in the same font, etc.).
  • Put only one main idea on each slide.
  • Try to observe the 6x6 rule: limit slides to 6 or fewer lines of text with 6 or fewer words in each line.
  • Ask yourself, “Does this need to be on the slide or can I present this information verbally?”

Making visually effective slides

  • Ensure all images, graphs, charts, and videos are relevant and necessary. It should be clear to your audience why the visual aid is on the slide.
  • Consider what you want to be most prominent on your slide. Use colour, space, and icons to draw your audience’s attention to specific points.
  • Font size should be a minimum of 22 points in order to be readable by audience members at the back of the room.
  • Ensure that there is enough contrast between the text and slide background so slides are easily readable.
  • Learn more about graphic design principles related to slides.

Graphs and charts

  • Ensure that all axes are labelled appropriately.
  • If using a graph, chart, or diagram from a journal article, follow appropriate citation guidelines. Modifying a complex graph or chart to highlight only the data most relevant to your presentation is often more visually appealing than showing an entire graph or chart.
  • Read more about Data Visualization to learn how to effectively communicate your data through visual means.


  • If using images from the Internet, ensure that you are following copyright laws. For more on copyright, read this helpful guide on Finding Images.
  • When using downloaded images, use the highest resolution possible. It’s better to shrink a large image to fit a slide, rather than enlarge a small image.


  • Ensure that your slides are accessible to all audience members. The University of Guelph, Office of Diversity and Human Rights has several resources to help you make your slides or other presentation materials accessible.

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