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Three Bad Habits That Ruin Flawless Presentations

Ever made a presentation that seemed a little askew? Did it make your eye twitch? Or maybe, you knew something was up, but couldn't place your finger on it?

Two of the most foundational skills in slide layouts are typography and alignment.

Typography and alignment are crucial in making killer presentations. If text isn’t properly formatted, it can throw an entire layout off, causing it to look unprofessional - which will likely distract your audience. After all, if it's hard to read, then it's hard to get your point across.

Design is in the details.

Minor mistakes can break the proportions of good design. Even small variables like shapes and text need to be balanced to create an appealing layout. If you don't keep an eye on even the most minute of design details, you could cause unwanted distractions during your presentation.

Need to level-up your typography? Read on.

Bad Habit #1: Putting a text box on top of a shape.

While creating your presentation, you may be guilty of placing a text box over a specific shape to make two separate elements layered on top of each other.

This method is not only unnecessary, but it complicates your design process.

Doing this requires you to manually resize both your shape and your text box every time you make revisions.

As a result, your editing process is painstakingly complicated and your proportions are likely off.

You can simplify this process by directly typing into the designated shape. This declutters your layout and makes editing a breeze.

Next, you might be thinking "But wait, I can't get the text to do what I want it to do like that!"

I've got a few more fixes in store for you...

Bad Habit #2: Disabling “Do Not AutoFit”

If you notice your text decreasing in size or increasing in size when you adjust the size of a shape, it’s likely that the format settings of that shape are set to “shrink text on overflow” or “resize shape to fit text” by default.

As the name suggests, “shrink text on overflow” automatically minimizes your font size as you add more text to shape. On the other hand, “resize shape to fit text” resizes the shape according to your text length - without reducing your font size.

While these two settings automatically adjust the shape or text format for you, they can create inconsistencies across your deck in the form of tons of different font sizes and weird looking shapes that don’t line up with other elements on the slide.

This creates clutter in your slide designs, making them look gnarly and unprofessional.

In order to fix this, with the formatting pane open, first select a shape. Next, enable the “do not autofit” setting and select “wrap text inside shape.” This helps you achieve the correct proportions for both shape and text. Mmm, delicious consistency!

Bad Habit #3: Ignoring Shape Margins

The last bad habit that people often fall victim to is failing to balance the margins of a shape with text inside of it. Shape margins are the space between the shape’s edge and the text inside of it.

If we ignore ignoring our margins we often end up with an uneven and unflattering design.

Here's what I mean:

Note how the distance from the edge of the shape to the text is too small or uneven on the left but is uniform on the shapes on the right.

To resolve this, you can elect to have choose a bigger margin or have no margin at all. Bigger margins work best if the shape being used has a background color (as in the top right example above), where no margins work best when the shape is transparent (the bottom right example above).

To fix a shape's margins, head into the Formatting Pane and adjust the margins until it suits your needs. Remember, the goal is to add just enough space to let your text breathe inside of the shape - while keeping all of the margins evenly spaced.

The above value are the default in Powerpoint. Tweak as you feel necessary to get the look you want.

Our aim here is to make sure that your design elements align properly to create a visually-appealing presentation while improving legibility

Unlearning these unflattering design habits isn’t hard! All you need to keep in mind is to remember to hit that Goldilocks Zone of spacing - not too much that it feels heavy, not too little that it feels cramped.

Now, you’re on your way to crafting a visually killer PowerPoint Presentation.

Check out the video:

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