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3 PowerPoint Pet Peeves (And How To Avoid Them!)

POSTED ON 
June 1, 2021

A few weeks ago, we had a really fun getting-to-know you session with all of our amazing new team members. One of the questions posed was, "What's your biggest pet peeve?"  

My pet peeves are, in no particular order…  

  • When strangers forget to cut the vent stitches out of new coats and blazers* (*If we're not strangers, I promise I will always have scissors in my bag for this EXACT purpose.)  
  • When people take their shoes off in airplanes.
  • And – I was too embarrassed to share in front of the team, but will confess now – messy PowerPoints.  

Note: I'm not bothered by 'ugly PowerPoints' or 'boring PowerPoints' – that would be much too subjective! I'm bothered by messy PowerPoints. Because, like Shoeless Joe in seat 8B, there's objectively no excuse.  

And let’s face it – like it or not, PowerPoint is a part of our world. Presentations are a ubiquitous internal communication tool, and perhaps the most commonly used tool for executive communications. So, chances are pretty good that you spend some time building PowerPoint presentations.  

So, if you’re ready to clean up your PowerPoints, read on…I’m going to share a few tips and tricks (complete with video demonstrations!) so you can all join me in my seemingly endless battle to rid the world of sloppy slides!

Most of what makes a PowerPoint appear messy has to do with alignment and spacing... but we can fix that!

POWERPOINT PET PEEVE #1:
MISALIGNED SHAPES

Once your content and elements are on the slide, rather than eyeballing it or clicking the arrow keys one at a time, let PowerPoint do the hard work for you! Select all of the shapes in question, and use PowerPoint's tools to achieve perfect alignment and totally even distribution. Check out the video below, and visit Microsoft's guide if you want to learn more.  

BONUS TIP: QUICK ACCESS TOOLBAR

I'm feeling better already knowing that the world will perhaps have fewer slides with misaligned shapes dirtying them up. I'll feel even better knowing that perfect alignment is only a click away! Add these alignment and distribution tools to your Quick Access Toolbar to keep them top of mind and within reach! Check out the video below and visit Microsoft's guide to learn more.  

Perfection at your fingertips.

POWERPOINT PET PEEVE #2:
NOT-QUITE-CENTERED TEXT

There's a right way and a wrong way to center text within a shape. We're all familiar with how to left align, center align and right align lines of text in the font/paragraph menus… But when it comes to getting text into the vertical center of a shape in PowerPoint, a series of haphazard line breaks is NOT the answer.  

Check out the video below to see the two quick steps to neatly (and correctly) center a text within a shape.  

POWERPOINT PET PEEVE #3:
MESSY TABLES

Finally, I'm a huge fan of using tables in my PowerPoints as a quick, easy and clean way to keep text organized and well-aligned automatically. But tables can easily spiral out of control and turn your slide into a trash heap. Prevent that from happening with two key tricks:  

  1. Evenly distribute your columns (aka, make all of your columns the same width, automagically)  
  1. Align your text within your table cells

Follow these PowerPoint tips and tricks, carry scissors in your bag (or better yet, snip those new coats and blazers before you leave the house!), and keep your shoes on during your next flight, and we're well on our way to a lifelong friendship.  

For more bite-sized brilliance, subscribe to our monthly newsletter, the Inkwell, and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter!

Jackie Berg
HEAD OF RESEARCH & BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

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