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10 Font Tips for Presenters

How to Use Fonts Correctly in PowerPoint Presentations


Presenters use PowerPoint or other software for the thousands of presentations that are given daily around the globe. Text is an important part of a digital presentation. Why not make the best use of the fonts to get the job done right? These ten font tips for presenters will help you make a successful presentation.

Font Tip #1 - Sharp Contrast Between Fonts and Background

Use contrasting fonts in PowerPoint presentations
Use contrasting fonts in PowerPoint presentations © Wendy Russell
The first point and most important about using fonts in presentations is to make sure that there is sharp contrast between the color of the fonts on the slide and the color of the slide background. Little contrast = Little readability.

See Also ~
Make Font Colors Stand Out on PowerPoint Slides
Design Themes in PowerPoint 2007

Font Tip #2 - Use Standard Fonts

Use standard fonts in PowerPoint presentations
Use standard fonts in PowerPoint presentations © Wendy Russell

Stick to fonts that are common to every computer. No matter how fabulous you think your font looks, if the displaying computer doesn’t have it installed, another font will be substituted – often skewing the look of your text on the slide.

Choose a font that is suitable for the tone of your presentation. For a group of dentists, select simple fonts. If your presentation is aimed at small children, then this is a time when you can use a “funky” font. However if this font is not installed on the presenting computer, make sure to embed the true type fonts into your presentation. This will increase the file size of your presentation, but at least your fonts will appear as you intended.

See Also ~
Why Do Fonts Change on a Different Computer?

Font Tip #3 - Consistency Makes for a Better Presentation

Slide master in PowerPoint
Slide master in PowerPoint © Wendy Russell
Be consistent. Stick to two, or at most, three fonts for the whole presentation. Use the slide master before you start entering text to establish the chosen fonts on the slides. This avoids having to change each slide individually.

See Also ~
Slide Masters in PowerPoint 2007
Custom Design Templates and Master Slides

Font Tip #4 - Types of Fonts

Serif and sans serif fonts for PowerPoint presentations
Serif/sans serif fonts for PowerPoint presentations © Wendy Russell

Serif fonts are the ones with little tails or “curly-ques” attached to each letter. Times New Roman is an example of a serif font. These types of fonts are easiest to read on slides with more text –- (More text on slides is something to avoid if at all possible when making a PowerPoint presentation). Newspapers and magazines use serif fonts for the text in the articles as they are easier to read.

Sans serif fonts are fonts that look more like “stick letters”. Plain and simple. These fonts are great for headings on your slides. Examples of sans serif fonts are Arial, Tahoma and Verdana.

See Also ~
How Do I Replace All Fonts in My Presentation?

Font Tip #5 - Don't Use All Capital Letters

Don't use all caps in PowerPoint presentations
Don't use all caps in PowerPoint presentations © Wendy Russell
Avoid using all capital letters – even for headings. All caps are perceived as SHOUTING, and the words are more difficult to read.

See Also ~
Tips on How to Be a Better Presenter

Font Tip #6 - Use Different Fonts for Headlines and Bullet Points

Use different fonts for titles and bullets in PowerPoint presentations
Different fonts for PowerPoint titles/ bullets © Wendy Russell
Choose a different font for the headlines and the bullet points. This makes text slides a little bit more interesting. Bold the text whenever possible so that it is easily readable at the back of the room.

See Also ~
10 Tips to Create Successful Business Presentations

Font Tip #7 - Avoid Script Type Fonts

Avoid script fonts in PowerPoint presentations
Avoid script fonts in PowerPoint © Wendy Russell
Avoid script type fonts -- always. These fonts are hard to read at the best of times. In a darkened room, and especially at the back of the room, they are almost impossible to decipher.

See Also ~
10 Most Common Presentation Mistakes

Font Tip #8 - Use Italics Sparingly

Use italic fonts sparingly in PowerPoint presentations
Use italic fonts sparingly in PowerPoint © Wendy Russell

Avoid italics unless it is to make a point – and then make sure to bold the text for emphasis. Italics pose the same problems as script type fonts – they are often hard to read.

Font Tip #9 - Make Fonts Large for Readability

Font sizes for PowerPoint presentations
Font sizes for PowerPoint © Wendy Russell

Don’t use anything smaller than an 18 point font – and preferably a 24 point as the minimum size. Not only will this larger sized font fill up your slide so there is not so much empty space, it will also limit your text. Too much text on a slide is evidence that you are a novice at making presentations.

Note - Not all fonts sizes are the same. A 24 point font might be fine in Arial, but will be smaller in Times New Roman.

Font Tip #10 - Make Use of the Dim Text Feature

Dim bullet text in PowerPoint presentations
Dim bullet text in PowerPoint © Wendy Russell
Use the “dim text” feature for bullet points. This places the emphasis on the current issue and brings it to the forefront while you are making your point.

How to Use the Dim Text Feature in PowerPoint

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