Tip: PowerPoint Presentation Checklist

About this lesson

Before presenting, you must check your presentation for readability, standardization, punctuation, and other specific PowerPoint presentation style points.

Typical stylistic guides don’t work for slide shows.  This tutorial, with the matching download checklist, will help guide you in creating a professional slide deck focusing on

  1. Slide Design for Video Conferencing
  2. Setting the Proper Aspect Ratio
  3. Making ALL OF THE SLIDE Readable
  4. Avoiding Atypical Spelling Mistakes
  5. Creating Consistency of:
    • Punctuation
    • Capitalization
    • Typography
    • Parallel Construction


  • 00:00 Intro
  • 00:55 #1 Video Conference Setup
  • 02:21 #2 Pick Aspect Ratio
  • 04:00 #3 Font Size and Word Count
  • 05:41 #4 Color Background
  • 06:13 #5 Graphic Interference
  • 07:09 #6 Spelling – Gotchas
  • 08:13 #7 Grammar- The Hard Stuff
  • 09:05 #8 Consistent Punctuation
  • 10:11 #9 Consistent Capitalization
  • 12:02 #10 Consistent Typography
  • 13:26 #11 Parallel Construction of Line Length
  • 13:59 #12 Parallel Construction of Verb Tense


Subject Microsoft PowerPoint

Software Compatibility All versions of PowerPoint


Course Completed




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BOOM! You just completed building your slideshow presentation? And you’re done? Or are you? Because I can guarantee you, you’re not. No creative work is ever done, you can always review, revise, and ultimately rebuild your presentation Slides to make them better. No, make them awesome. Hi, this is Les from Power Up Training. And in the next 18 minutes, I’m going to demonstrate 12 PowerPoint, pre-presentation checklist items, you must know so you don’t get embarrassed in front of your peers and boss while on stage. So, let’s power up. We’re going to use this horrible Slide Show called “Presentation Run Amok.” Checklist #1, identify your target platform. Before giving your presentation, you must know the viewing platform to make sure that the full slides are viewable and readable. Especially if it’s an online video conference. Because everything could go wrong. You have no control over your audience viewing hardware, which could lead to disaster. Look at this one presentation slide on five different viewing platforms. See the potential either the edges been cut off or shrunk down to postage stamp posts a set I mean, very, very tiny impossible to read fine print. To guarantee readability. Make sure your Slides have gigantic, readable fonts and the slide edges should not have anything important around the size as it might get cut off. I recommend for video conference slideshows that you design for readability, not for graphic elegance. Save that for your conference room presentations. And even then plan to explain what is being presented on the static slide for those on audio only. Don’t depend on visual for delivering critical information, which leads to checklist number two aspect ratios in conference rooms. There are two types of projection systems. And it is critical that you know what type you’re presenting on. The most common is the modern widescreen 16 by nine unit aspect ratio found on computers and projectors as the last 10 years 16 by nine. That means the ratio of the widescreen is 16 units wide by nine units tall, be it inches or feet. However, there are some older hardware projectors with the four by three aspect ratio. It is getting rarer and rarer. But oh my gosh, what a disaster if you get surprised, just as you’re about to present. Trust me, such surprises will rattle you and mess with your confidence while presenting live. Fortunately, by default, PowerPoint crates the 16 by nine wide presentations, but look how it does not fill up the full screen. If your target is an older four by three. There are gaps above and below. While PowerPoint will shrink down your presentation to fit, you will lose valuable, usable vertical viewing spaces. PowerPoint has a tool for you to be able to convert the widescreen down but the tool works badly with awful results. Best recommendations. Always find out your target projection aspect ratio before you build your presentation. Checklist number three number of words per slide will impact the readability Look at this “Run Amok” presentation slide. The first bullet point is a full paragraph of words, creating several problems. More words forces the font size to shrink, maybe so small that it is hard to read. And if it’s unreadable, why even have the slide. But equally important is that too many words makes it hard for the ideas to jump off the page. The concepts will get lost. Always edit to the bare essence. The slide should be more like a poem and not some long winded essay. Concentrate on the three or four word ideas that you want the audience to remember and make them jump off the page. Always edit for brevity and clarity. Compare this slide with our main page. The page is much clearer. However, I might consider breaking the slide up into multiple pages. Remember, you can always improve a slide because seven lines of text is on the edge of too many lines and words for a single slide. See this newly split two Slides with the key ideas and the bigger fonts on each page. It is much more effective, including clearer titles of Screen Readability and Word Readability. Checklists #4, the color background may interfere. Look at the same slide. But now with a colorful Kaleidoscope background. Too much color impedes the message clarity. [Static, on purpose.] The color background is interfering with the message. Don’t try to make the fonts bigger and bolder. Instead, solve the base problem and switch to a more muted background color. Check checklist number five background image interferences. Some design templates have a distinctive graphic elements position on the page. But if you’re not paying close attention, that cool image could obscure your message when there’s an overlapping text. In this example, we find the last line with a black font getting muddled by the graphic. While you could change the graphic, this has an easy fix of swapping the color from black to white. Another solution, would be to put an 18% transparent white field rectangle behind the text to make it stand out or just move the text on the page away from the graphic or eliminate the graphic element completely. Let’s change gears and go to the fundamentals of language. Number six, spelling This is obvious with Microsoft’s red squiggly underline as the common spelling errors jump out but there are hidden problems such as homophones. Words that sound the same, but have different meanings. TO drink, or TWO cows or TOO many cows. As you see, the more modern PowerPoint 365 will catch some of the homophones as it did with the TOO CAREFUL but not always. So proofread carefully. And then the issue of a legitimate word, such as wind, which is spelled correctly, but it’s completely the wrong word. Plus the mistake of misspelling proper names and places best to carefully reread the presentation aloud, which will help catch these issues. Reading Aloud will also help with checklist number seven: Grammar

Grammar is hard. And while Microsoft smarter tools might try to help it can still fail you. Look at my last line of “grammar can been hard to learnt.” All spelled correctly, but a word salad of wrong words. Best to reread aloud are your tools like Grammarly a great add on, made better with the paid version, or see my chat GPT’s tutorial tips on being a better writer. The checklist number eight through 12, all deal with Consistency. This is subtle, but consistency is what separates amateur slideshows from those that look very professional. Number eight Consistency of Punctuation. Slide presentations have their own unique punctuation styles and rule sets. For example, in this essay, you would put a colon in front of a list of items. But in PowerPoint, you can drop the colon as the sub bullet points are expected to be supporting the above statement. This colon could be dropped. And for the end of line punctuations, people will debate if you should have commas and periods. But no matter they will all decide pick one and stick with it. See this page it has some lines with punctuations and some without. Don’t mix them up, or at least to mix them up on the same page. For me when possible. I’m gonna Drop the punctuation marks one less distraction on the screen. The star of each slide needs to be the essence of your ideas, not the extra commas and periods. Number nine Capitalization. Like punctuation. PowerPoint presentations have their own rules for capitalization. And once again, different professional presenters will argue for one approach versus another. But they will all agree that no matter what you need to be consistent throughout your presentation, this particular slide is a mess. Look at the second bullet point, I capitalized each word, much like what you would find on a newspaper headline, or a web page title. But on the sub bullet point, I follow the traditional sentence style by capitalizing the first word and lowercase for all the following words. Oops, okay. Even with that same line, I did break the rule with a capital W. Oh, what a wrong move. For me, I typically follow headline capitalization rules for all my major word on the title plus for the top and second level bullet points. However, if my slide has words in a sentence format, something I attempt to avoid when I can, I will resort to the normal writing capitalization rules. For the first word only. I try to use those longer sentence forms on a secondary bullet point. So I can keep my headlines capitalized for the major bullet points, once again, focusing on the main concepts. And yes, you can break this rule to make a single word, all caps if you want to emphasize a specific word or concept. Once you understand the need to check for consistent capitalization, he becomes obvious. Or is it? Look at those capital letter S here is a capitalize or not. This question arises because of the lack of consistency in typography, checklist item number 10 Font Size and Family. Use the same font style for the titles. While you can use another style for the bullet points. Just keep them consistent from page to page to page so you don’t get the ransom note look with a mishmash of typography. Look at this page. It appears that we’re using Candara font, or 32 point size. But look at the word size is a different typeface. Seqoe at a similar but smaller 26 point size. Interestingly, the different font families make it harder to determine if the “S” is caps, or not. Best highlight the whole word collection of the text, and then set the collection to a single typography font to make it uniformly consistent. And more consistency for checklist items number 11 and 12 of parallel construction. Oh wait, wait, what’s that? Well, checklist number 11 Is the simpler of the two. I attempt to keep the bullet point line. Similar in Word links. See how the first bullet point is longer. It hurts visually and actually breaks the rhythm of the words like a poem, attempt to balance the word line counts. Of all the rules that may be difficult and is not the end of the world. If you can’t do it, but it’s worthy of your attention. Lastly, number 12. verb tense consistency. What the heck is that? Look at this slide of a verb tense in the English language. Really? We’re doing high school grammar lessons now? No, no, that would be cruel. So let’s leave behind the esoteric, progressive and perfect tenses for the more common simple tense because here you must bring consistency per slide page. And this is important. There are three simple tenses. Number one, the present simple, is stating a fact. “I run every day.” While number two past simple deals with past events, which is common and status reporting PowerPoint presentation, such as “last quarter deliveries were up as we ran twice as many trucks” and last item number three, Future Simple, which is what should happen in the future. “We will run more package deliveries if we double our truck fleet.” With that quick backgrounder, look at this mess of a slide, where the presentation agenda has a mix of all three tenses. “is under control.” “how we plan,” “we will build.” And while our presentation is discussing events of the past, present, and future, we can fix this agenda slide to make it so that every bullet point is future tense, as it refers to what we’re going to present in the future of this presentation. For example, even though the topic of project status is discussing past events, the use of the word “examine” refers to the upcoming talking slide that is in the future, even if it’s only a few minutes away in the next later slide. Still, it is the future. See how we use this technique to make all four bullet points future tense, as we plan to discuss each items going forward, all consistent in their parallel construction. As a bonus, each bullet point starts with an action verb. While the earlier version had a mixture of nouns and verbs, and definite articles had a pronoun. Ideally, each line starts with a verb, which is the most powerful way to go. And at the minimum, start them all with nouns. And that completes our 12 point checklist for every presentation. See the notes below in YouTube, if you want to download a copy of the list from our free website of Power Up Training, but more importantly, once you understand these foundation rules, you should incorporate them into your creation process. And then you won’t need to check them at the slide deck once you’re done. However, I always recommend that you review your finished work multiple times to tweak it to make it even more awesome. Need help on how to present the presentation now that you’ve made it awesome? Then check out some of our other videos on the playlist, improve your presentation skills, or this video next. As always, like if this was useful, and do subscribe. Until next time, Go Power Up!