Lesson 4: Advance PowerPoint Slide Design

About this lesson

My Slides Look Boring. What Can I Do?

The issue is NOT boring but instead matching the right look to get your point across.  Each slide should have a purpose it is your job to match the slide design to the purpose

What Are My Slide Choices?

To illustrate  your point, PowerPoint has many different tools that we cover in this video, including text boxes, charts, images, photos, SmartArt and even various text enhancements

Which  Slide Layout Design Do I Choose?

This advanced tutorial walks through the variety of choices and when (and how) to use each layout and content enhancement.

And once you have customized each slide, your presentation objectives will be more achievable.

The Masterclass

This is lesson four of the six-part Masterclass on becoming a PowerPoint Power User, but the ideas covered in video training stand on their own and there is no requirement to watch the earlier lessons.


The lesson will break up the toolsets between text enhancements and graphic enhancements:

  • Text Enhancements
    • Font formatting
    • Creating Text Box
    • When WordArt is appropriate
    • Creating Tables
  • Graphic Enhancements
    • Adding Shapes & Objects
    • Creating SmartArt
    • Adding Photos & Video
    • Creating Charts
  • Slide Layouts
    • Use the right layout for the right message
    • Changing the Master Slide Template
  • Design Ideas
    • Office 365 magic tool for cool looks


Subject Microsoft PowerPoint

Software Compatibility Office 2013 up to Office 365

Level Advanced

Course Completed Complete




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Video Course Transcript

Based on the other training you’ve now created a solid idea-based PowerPoint presentation. With a great design template, you want to make your word ideas jump off the screen without scaring your audience. I got you covered. I will show you how to turn your individual slides into strong communication visuals by adding graphic elements to enhance your presentation without becoming cheesy and keep your audience engaged. 

This is rated A for all and has powerful tips and tricks for both new and longtime PowerPoint users to turn you into a PowerPoint master. The first three minutes discuss strategies to building effective slides and the last 28 minutes are fast-paced training sessions on the individual elements, including both when to use and how to use based on my decades of experience. 

Take a look at the ideas over here. Now, let’s power up to adding graphic elements to PowerPoint style. 

Human ideas can be communicated in a variety of methods, which is great because different people learn through different mediums. Up to this point we focused on building the foundation of your presentation based on ideas as expressed by words. Now, we’ll learn how to illustrate your individual slides, but only if appropriate and if it adds value. 

We want to avoid fortuitous frills and be laser-focused on effective communications. I’ll be centering our training on serious presentations that require a professional appearance. If you have a different audience be that fifth-grade class presentation or a close-knit team meeting you can still use this technique but you can loosen up and have a bit more fun. 

Make sure the message matches the target environment. 

To accomplish our goals, we will cover the following presentation components. PowerPoint has tons of tools in the toolbox. Some are more useful than others. I’ll focus on the most commonly used enhancements that focus on specific slide elements. Future training videos will expand upon these tools and introduce other steps that will deal with the presentation as a whole. 

In this training video, we’ll be demonstrating the most recent version of Office 365 as of Fall 2020, however, you happen to be using an older version we will highlight significant differences by comparing and contrasting with PowerPoint 2013. And at the end we will see some design ideas that are unique to the most recent version of Office 365 all in all give Microsoft credit for keeping the menus the same for over seven years something they fill to do at the years before. 

And what you learn today will be good for years to come. Also this presentation you’re seeing is filled with things not to do. I’ll point them out as we go along including this warning box it is way overkill to one angle the box to use different fonts for the word warning plus three combined caps and italics and bold and underline please show some restraint don’t yell and shout the same time. 

One more thing my training videos will sometimes employ some over the top visuals to help learning over YouTube. I am not creating a corporate video here. I’m trying to get you up to speed as quickly and effectively as possible within YouTube this reiterates my mantra of having the message matched the environment. 

Okay, here’s a quick review, let’s reset this to a basic presentation by going to design and selecting the second choice from the left which puts everything back to basic. See how we have the outline view. Always start here as things will flow smoothly see our previous YouTube training lessons on outlines. 

Note how the warning box is row, it is not on the outline. And it can get messed up look at how the design template treats it in unpredictable fashions.

So start an outline mode with apply a design template and now we can get down to the business of enhancing specific slides with additional elements. On this slide. I just pull the text from an earlier slide which has its own problems that will discuss at a moment look at the before and after and see how the before is just a long list of items way too many items to be effective. 

It is just one long list with no emphasis eyes will glaze over if you show this slide so let’s renovate this slide by first breaking it up into two columns of text by a way of the layout change to two content. 

This is better but still too much text now just right across the slide let’s do better first off as I hinted the slide has other issues such as a mixture of multiple messages, let’s get rid of everything that is not related to enhancing this slide let’s create two parallel ideas groupings enhancing into text and enhancing into graphics. 

Or we have now organized the two distinct concepts of enhancing by text and by graphics we can do better visually by using the indenting the elements and then formatting the lead bullet points with bigger font and boldness. Let’s go down the rabbit hole on fonts and typography. There’s a whole craft and art about typography that is best left to the professionals. 

Different font families, communicate different emotions and might be more or less visible in a different medium a dreamy font may convey a mood but it may be hard to read on the slide across the room. Attempt to limit your presentations to two font families or better yet just one avoid the ransom letter look by mixing too many fonts to be safe stay with the design template defaults. 

Also be careful about using too many fonts enhancements don’t mix bold with underlying with italic. Remember our warning example at the beginning of this presentation choose just one font enhancement for emphasis, otherwise, you’re rudely shouting from your slide. 

With all that said there’s a quick advanced user technique in PowerPoint and also in a word that lets you emphasize a title beyond bold or color it’s called small caps. Go to the home menu. Click on the downward arrow for font and choose small caps, you can also just right-click on the selected text and choose font see how the ash will capitalize letter is bigger than the non-cap but they all look like caps settle but effective. 

Now to make it match on both columns use the format painter brush to keep consistency. Click on the painted brush once on the formatting you like and then a single click on a word or I click and drag over multiple words will apply that formatting to the target highlighted word. 

Note that if your cursor is on just one part of the word, you will still pick up the whole word formatting and the target click just needs to be on the part of the word or the whole sentence to apply the new formatting. 

Font size and empty space one more trick fill up the page with larger fonts, you want this slide to be readable from across the room go to the home menu select the text box with a single click and see the dotted lines around. Hold down your shift key and click the second column text box now use the font row and shrink icons to get it to look just right. 

Small font is okay as long as your audience can read the message from the back of the room. But stay consistent on the page and across the page before and after to make sure things look just right. Here’s a little more on font sizing for the most recent version of Office 365.

Autofit. It’s a text has too many lines, you can select the text box, however over it to get choices. Note that PowerPoint will mess with you if you have too many lines by shrinking the font size away from your standard, so be aware of that. Now that we’re done let’s compare the before and after as you can see the after is a cleaner look and actually uses the text is graphic element to highlight our concept of having two different techniques text enhancements and graphic enhancement and notice that we’re using the exact same number of bullet points, which creates a symmetry that is good for emphasizing our concept and also is visually pleasing. 

Text boxes. I’ve worn you to stay away from text boxes in previous training videos and we will see why in a few moments but there may be times when you want to highlight a very specific item by way of a text comment wanting it to jump out on purpose. 

Here’s the mechanics. To put in a free-floating box, you need to go into the insert menu there select the text box. And then go on to the canvas of your slide click and drag to create a box that you want the text to be typed in once you let go of the mouse click inside and type in the text. 

Don’t worry we can resize the text box at any time. If you want to change the location you can move to the border of the box and get the four-way arrow click and drag it around to resize click on the any corner or side point and resize the box. 

One about to show you is specific to the more recent versions of Office 365, but there are similar variations that you’ll see on the screen for the older Office PowerPoints. However all recent versions of PowerPoint all of the Office products like Word Excel has this feature of hiding menus until they’re needed in this case the shape format menu is not displayed until you select a shape. 

Watch when I click on the open space on the slide the shaped format menu disappears, I click on the shape and it reappears. 

So, let’s use the shape format menu. Since we want to emphasize the text box, we need to do some stylization. Specifically we’re going to do the following. I’m going to size the box to fit the text with the little extra space and see how it auto sizes. 

Then. We want to put a border around the box to make it stand out including any of color to increase the line size. 

Then let’s change the fill color inside the box. We’re going to add that glass look to make it seem like it’s transparent. By going into the color and within the full color we can choose the transparency in this case here, let’s try. 80. And then as we move it around you’re going to see that we move then change the stacking order. 

Actually, this is layered on the top at the moment, but if we needed to we could actually go in and bring it to the front or bring it in one step at a time. We can move it our finished box next to the word text box on our slide to call out what we’re working on. 

But when you get just a bit more fancy to specifically call out the part of the slide that we’re referencing. So, let’s change the shape from a basic text box to a call out shape. Click this shape. We want to change. Click the shape format menu. Select Edit. Shape. 

Change the shape. Choose one of the callouts. From here, we can move the box to a more attractive open space on our slide with generous open space around and then we click on the tip of the callout to move the pointer up to the word text box. 

Text box, danger danger. Let me show you the danger of text boxes if they’re done to early in the slide prep process. Go to design. And preview some of our layouts design and look at how the text box no longer quite matches and actually is off with some strange color choices. 

So you need to be careful and only at the text box at the very last moment of your slide design process. Next up and our category of text enhancements word art. This will be super quick. Go to insert. Go to word art. Look at the various effects. And now look that has been added on the top layer after we type in our text. 

The last move for this. Don’t it looks like an amateur move stay away from it. Tables may present data more clearly look at this work cover schedule in all text is it obvious what day is not covered and what days have bonus coverage of three teams. Here’s the same info but shown in a table. 

Now it’s closed on Sunday pops out with bonus shifts on Thursday and Friday and Saturday everyone works. Okay, here’s the steps to create a table go up to insert choose table then choose the number of rows and columns here’s the columns and now the rows don’t worry about the rows we can easily add more roses we go along. 

Then once you go ahead and let go the tables created and you can start to fill in the data by typing into the cell 1 by 1 either tab key to go from left to right and when you hit the end of the row, the tab key will take you to the next row down below continue as needed. 

When you create the table it follows the design base off the original design template, but you can go up to table design and choose a variety of different types of looks and feels for your table note there actually to hit menus. Remember our earlier tutorial on hidden menus select the object and bingo the new menus pop up or in this case, two menus table design and table layout. 

So to recap we want to illustrate our ideas using the best method here a text-based table is more clear than just a bullet list. Data is just data but interpretation through graphics turns the same data into valuable knowledge and knowledge can be acted upon. If you wish for a deeper dive into creating and managing tables, leave a comment below on our YouTube video and I’ll create a specific training session, but do note simple tables work great in PowerPoint. 

However, if you are struggling beyond the basics, then you may be trying to show too much on a slide. Another PowerPoint, no-no. You can easily scan a table that’s included in under 30 seconds and understand why it’s included then you’re good to go. Otherwise you may need to present your data in a different way to make it more digestible. 

The goal of your presentation is to impart knowledge to your audience or to move them to an action. So you must present a convincing case for your cause. This may require presenting data in different formats. Different people process information differently. Some need to hear a convincing argument others need to read the facts and others need to have a picture for the visualize. 

You need to decide how best to present your case as we’ve seen some text data can be better represented in different formats. However, some data is best seen in a visual graphic and some situations require a hybrid approach. In not every graphic as to the picture as we can see with this silly little photo added to our diagram here. 

So let’s see the mechanics of adding graphics to our slides, but please be judicious. I’ll skip you a note. Office 365 is expanded the choices and not all is available for older versions along the way. I will show you some similar screens from Office 2013. Let’s start with a blank page. 

Just for demonstration purposes, the next steps are not an endorsement for cheesy art. I’m just showing you the mechanics of how to insert pictures. Go to insert menu. Choose pictures, then choose stock images. 

From there, you’ll see that we have a set of items the stock images of Rye will talk about in a moment. There’s also a few more pieces will cover such as icons. Cut out people. And stickers. Let’s come back to those in a moment and talk about stock images. 

What is the stock image? Images created by photographers to be used in the future for unknown content as opposed to being commissioned to make a statistic specific image for a specific job. Stock images can be used in national advertising campaigns or in a boardroom or a classroom PowerPoint presentation. 

Is stock photography free? Some images require payments for use some are royalty free, but you need to attribute where it came from and some have no strings attached. You need to find out before using an image if you have the right by examining the digital rights. If you’re using Office 365 and looking through this list, then you are good to go these images are royalty free. 

If however you do a Google image search you need to do your homework if you want high-quality unique images you might explore the paid services such as shutterstock or adobe stock images personally. I use shutterstock when I’m looking for a very very specific image with a specific look. Here is a shutter stock image that cost me around 10 bucks one that I was incapable of drawing on my own if we use to make my point about a very specific project but Microsoft has lost to choose from for free. 

Let’s take a quick tour of the pictures we go to picture insert pictures and from here we’re gonna take over the stock pictures which we spend a fair amount of time looking at now we have icons these icons can be dropped in as little symbols, in fact you could go through and find a very specific set of symbols that you’d want to use potentially for bullet point, although I’m not over the keen about using these as well a points. 

I like to stick with the design so my handy in certain pictures and once again the stock images we then have some of these called cutout people and you’ll notice these cutouts there’s a Screen that seems to be in the background this screen will become transparent so that when you bring it into the slide you’ll only see the person and everything else will come through the background other stickers these little more playful once again, maybe not right for your corporate piece, but they’re there, let’s look again back at the cutoff people. 

I’m gonna choose a few we’ll click on them and we’re gonna add them in you can see where they added in and sure enough the background’s available we can rearrange these the whiteboard on the person on the left. Actually is something we could now insert a text box when you insert the text box, I’m gonna be typing something in unfortunately the font currently is white so you’re not able to see what I’m typing but that’s okay, we can go back and fix that by highlighting the text. 

And then going in and selecting a color to make it visible, here we go. 

Which brings up the point why? You must have a compelling reason for clip art let’s take a look at a few examples of things that aren’t going to work quite right how about this one our project is just beginning and we have blue skies in front of us this is picture Joe it’s not really blue skies it’s pretty but it doesn’t really add to our presentation or this one, oh my goodness, if you use this in a corporate boardroom, you would never hear the end of it stay away what about sports you can’t go wrong with sports, can you? 

Yes you can. Some people don’t care about sports and look at this we’ve got a trite picture and then we’re using word arc no please stop it stop it then here’s our next one. This one actually didn’t come from photos but instead it came under 3d models we need to drop it in you can then click and drag and show different perspectives that particular piece of art. 

I was gonna tell you no no stay away from this but my 30-something graphic artist daughter looked at this and go oh hey that’s kind of cute and it goes back to my original statement, make sure you understand your audience and put in what’s appropriate. Lastly you can bring in photos from your own computer but be careful about these huge images today’s high pixel photos can make your PowerPoint presentations file size balloon, which may slow up the presentation or make it impossible to send the saved presentation by email. 

But if you do bring your own photos selective and powerpoint look for picture format and then compress pictures this will let you shrink the image saved file to match your needs does that mean some photos are big enough to print out on a billboard but your photos only need to have a smaller resolution to match your screen output thereby reducing the file saved size. 

No but inserting video is possible but that goes beyond this training video as an introduces complexity not only to the presentation size, but how it will play out in a conference room. Smart art. Since office 2013. Microsoft has introduced an enhancement to create custom smart art to communicate complex ideas, our first example is just a quick trick take our list of items right-click choose convert to smart art then preview the transformation. 

To this change our presentation, it might have it consistently done. Let’s look at creating a more complex example that turns a list of actions into a process. So we highlighted our bullet list we’ve right-clicked on the selected text we’re then going to go up to convert to smart art we can take a look at some of the samples that are on the screen here, but this is only a subset we could instead is go on down to more smart art and now we see a variety of categories in our particular situation we’re working with a process we can choose a process and bingo we have it converted into a sequence event that’s highlighted with the arrow this has value to a set of. 

Point. If we so desire we can actually go back in and add in one more item or even edit what’s on the list and once we’re done we click and have what looks like an effectively professionally created a piece of graphic art. Which if we want we could tweet just a little more by looking some of the free done variations. 

Very cool. Charts just like smart art charts is a whole new dimension, but I 10. Sometimes only charts can tell the story in a visual format take a look here’s a table of inflation of stock market prices over the years the tables too small to read and too many items digest there’s no easy way to understand if there’s a relationship but let’s see a graphical representation of the data look how almost instantaneously we can see the relationship between the two. 

This is magic this also a lot of hard work let me fly through the recreation of this chart in PowerPoint but know the details will be covered in a follow-up training video for advanced users get ready, here we go, which is insert from insert we’re going to insert a chart from chart we have a variety of different styles to choose from and that’s an important choice in our case line will be the most illicit of our choices, you’ll see it drops it right in the middle and it uses some basic data. 

Just to hold some pieces we go to our table I’m going to select everything I’ll do a control seat of copy and we go into select the whole data entry field. I’ll do a right-click do a paste because we only have two columns it gives little error message we can take out the third series which is no longer needed and bingo we have a chart maybe it’s a little hard to see because we have the other elements in there, so we’ll resize it and while this looks quite right it’s not because our CPI and our S&P 500 prices work off different scales, so I make, Click on the CPI I’m gonna go ahead and tell it to use a different access and you’ll see on the right side we can switch it to a secondary axis that will pop up along the right side and now these are much more aligned so that we can compare the results we also need to add some titles so that people know which access to switch with the charges for and will zip through and add these pieces in place as you can tell while grass are extremely informative, they take a fair amount of work to put together. 

And this is only one of multiple graphs that can be created each graph can tell a different story. I love charts. I’ve also been haunted by two many charts in a power point. Some data in group meetings can only be understood graphically, but if the amount of data is too complex or too many charged per page or too many slides with charts, you will lose your audience. 

Remember our mantra less is always more. Lastly, let’s look at a tool that was introduced in Office 365. It won’t be available in the older versions of PowerPoint. Design ideas is a panel on the right side of your screen that may or may not pop up to make it appear go to design and select design ideas. 

As you click on your individual slides, it will propose an alternate layout. By now, you know that I’m a huge fan of design templates because they were carefully crafted by human graphic design artists. This tool is not as careful and narrated as it is an AI artificial intelligence or semi-intelligent designer. 

Some of these work great. And some are playing bad. Feel free to play with the tool and if you’ll like to use try to match the style across your slides. Maybe not every page, but if you do use it on multiple pages, make sure the styles and the colors in the layout match. 

We just covered a ton of tricks and tips to customize each slide for effective presentations. And we’re almost in the final stretch are our mastering PowerPoint training series. Our next training session setting the stage for your presentation, we hope you put the final touches on your PowerPoint. We will get to the slide prepped with animation and slide transition plus some pro tricks on sections closing slides and hidden slides. 

If you have questions leave them in the comments below. If you want more power training videos, press the like button and subscribe to follow me on YouTube subscriptions help support the channel. If you want to copy of these tips visit, our web page at power dash up dot training season link down below in the notes. 

Next up is setting the stage for PowerPoint presentations. Click on the links somewhere on the screen here. Or to start the complete mastering PowerPoint training playlist, if you’ve missed some of the previous modules, go ahead and click on the link on the screen also. 

Now, go power up.