PowerPoint from Microsoft Office is the go-to tool for everyone to create great slide shows for academic or professional purposes. One of the nifty features of PowerPoint that aids in making great looking presentations is the ability to use a template.

A PowerPoint templates allows you to put your own content in a pre-designed PowerPoint file. A template is not an actual slide show, it simply contains that design elements, a defined color palette and fonts that you can adopt into your presentation.

How Presentation Has Changed Over Time

Back in the 90s, with older software, presentation slides used to be made with simple text and graphics. Most ‘slides’ had bullet points, explaining the matter in short. However, both the software and design philosophy has changed now. Now, PowerPoint can incorporate audio and video, can help visualize data in a better way with graphs and charts, use animation and transition of slides and elements.

Modern design philosophy often incorporates minimal design elements, allows the usage of bright bold colors, focuses on cleaner fonts and a lot of blank spaces. This allows the viewer to better focus on the topic that is being presented without being distracted by the design elements. Now, presentation slides are replaced with presentation decks. The new terminology is used to refer to animated, interactive, and cleaner slides with a professional look.

Templates versus Themes

A template and a theme is often used interchangeably, but are completely different entities. A theme is simply a font and background that is applied to the presentation that you are working on. The theme does not take care of the layout or animations, or even the graphical elements that you put into the slide show.

The template is a more complete design solution. You cannot apply a template to a current presentation. You will need to work on the template the develop the slideshow. A template may have different themes too.

Selecting the Right Template

Selecting a PowerPoint template can be a difficult task if you are not aware of what content you will need to put in the slideshow. Since you just cannot migrate content from one template to another, here are a few steps that you can follow to make sure that get to use templates as smoothly as possible, completing your presentation in minimum time.

Enlist all the content

Make a list of all the content that you will need to put in the slideshow. This includes mandatory textual content, graphics, charts and graphs and media content. You can do that using pen and paper. For the textual part, you can use Notepad or even Microsoft Word.

Group content in slides

Now that you have all the content, you can start with what content will go in which slide. Often, you will see, that once you have listed all the content, you will find a better sequence of the slides or content. Try not to go beyond fifty words for each slide, accompanied with not more than two or three different graphical elements.

Start searching a template that suits your needs

Now that you have an idea of how much content you can put in a slide, start looking for templates that will offer a visually consistent experience across all slides.

Keep it Clean and Simple

An uncluttered template will not only give your presentation a professional look instantly, but it also offers a higher ability to customize. You can insert more content without overlapping them onto the graphics of the template.

Keep light and dark background options

Get a template that has both light and dark themes. Light themes work well in well-lit areas, whereas dark themes are great for darker places, where you present in a dimly lit room.

Keep a Blank Slide

When switching from one topic to another, keep a blank slide. Use a template that has a simple blank slide without anything other than the background. This gives the viewer some breathing room, in case it is a long presentation.

Maintain a good color contrast

A good color contrast makes sure that your font stays readable. Sometimes, text that may look fine on your computer screen may not look very readable on the projector. So, find a template that has a good color contrast.

Proper Aspect Ratio is Important

Make sure that you know the aspect ratio of the slides. There are two standards – 4:3 and the 16:9 widescreen. That latter is the newer version. Find a template that will allow you to switch between the two aspect ratios without messing with your content layout.

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