Please click on one of the links below:

 Preparing Your Presentation

 Using Images Within Your Presentation 

 Using Media Clips Within Your Presentation 

 Using Animation Within Your Presentation


 Avoiding Common Presentation Pitfalls

 Presentation Delivery Tips

Preparing Your Presentation

·        Prepare your presentation in advance so that your ideas are logically organized and your points clear.  Write a detailed outline of your presentation.  Address the essential points and leave the details for publication.

·        Presentations are most readable when using a dark background (blue, for example) and bright lettering (yellow or white.)

·        Use the absolute minimum number of words in the title, subtitle, and captions.  Remember that standard abbreviations are acceptable.

·        Avoid using small fonts.  In general, 28 point and larger fonts will be easy for everyone to read, while anything smaller than 20 points will likely be illegible from the back of the room.

·        Use bold characters, not fancy serifs.

·        Graphics must be well designed, simple, and readable by everyone in the audience.  It is worthwhile to use professional preparation services, if possible.

·        Use as few graphics as needed that can be discussed in the time allotted.  As a general rule, use one graphic for each one or two minutes of presentation time.

·        Devote each graphic to a single fact, idea, or finding.  Illustrate major points or trends, not detailed data.

·        Do not show long or complicated formulas or equations.  Each graphic should remain on the screen at least 20 seconds. 

·        Table preparation:  Do not use more than three or four vertical columns and six to eight horizontal rows.  If there are any more columns or rows, the information will not be readable.  Do not use ruled vertical or horizontal lines; they distract the eye and clutter the graphic.  Whenever possible, present data using bar charts or graphs instead of tables.

·        Graph preparation:  Generally, do not use more than one or two curves on one diagram; a maximum of three to four curves may be shown, but only if well separated.  Label each curve; do not use symbols and a legend.  Do not show data points unless scatter is important.

·        Colored graphs are very effective.  Color adds attractiveness, interest and clarity to slide and viewgraph illustrations and should be used whenever possible.  If you use color, remember that contrasting colors are easier to see.

·        Consider breaking up a complex slide into a series of slides, to make it more intelligible.

·        Critically examine every graphic and view them under adverse light conditions before presenting at a meeting.  It is sometimes impossible to provide excellent light conditions at meetings.

·        It is often helpful to step 8-10 feet back from your computer screen and make sure that your slides are readable.

·        An introductory and concluding graphic can greatly improve the focus of your talk.

·        Make use of the Slide Master capability of PowerPoint, to standardize the look of your presentation. That way, if you need to change the bullets or fonts, they can be changed globally, and you won’t have to edit each slide individually.


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Using Images Within Your Presentation

·        PowerPoint will display your presentation in slide show mode at the native resolution of the display. The PC has a native display of 96DPI (Dots Per Inch). You should consider these factors, when inserting images into your presentation.  If your image file is scanned, or from a digital camera, it is likely to be much larger than the screen resolution. (Typically 1920x1080 96dpi) An image size larger than this will not translate into a sharper image, when displayed on screen. It will only increase the size of your PowerPoint file and slow down the playback of your presentation. Reduce the image size in an image-editing program (like Adobe Photoshop®) prior to inserting the image into your presentation.

·        There are many different image file formats available. After you have made sure that your image size is appropriate, you should save your image as a .BMP, .GIF, or .JPG file prior to inserting it into your presentation. Generally the JPEG format provides high quality, small file size and portability to other machines.

·        If the image file is the output of a mathematical program (such as MATLAB®) please make sure that you save the image as a JPEG and not as a Metafile. The latter file depends upon the software program being installed, to properly display the image.

·        Once you have the images properly sized and saved, choose Insert Picture from file… to put the image onto the slide. Do not copy and paste the image, or drag and drop it into your presentation. Doing that might look fine on your machine, but it may not display properly when you transfer the presentation to another computer, particularly if you are a Mac user who will be presenting from a PC.

·        Animated .GIF Files: Although these (unlike most media files) are actually saved within your PowerPoint presentation, you should bring the separate .GIF file with you whenever possible.  Microsoft has changed the way they handle the looping of these in recent versions of Office, which on occasion causes them not to play properly in PowerPoint.  If you have the original .GIF file with you, we can fix this problem if necessary in the speaker ready room.



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Using Media Clips Within Your Presentation.  

·        Be aware that media clips are not saved as part of your PowerPoint presentation, that the actual video or audio files need to be on the computer you will be presenting from.  You will need to supply those files along with your PowerPoint file either when you upload or in the speaker ready room.

·        Avoid long file names for media clips.  There is a limit in PowerPoint on the total length of the path to your media files, and much of it gets used up in pointing to your presentation folder.  Though the absolute limit varies based on the presenter’s last name and session room, movie and sound files with names longer than 20 characters should be renamed prior to inserting them in your presentation.  The shorter the file names of your media clips, the better.  

·        PC Users: Using the .WMV file format is the best way to ensure compatibility within PowerPoint on another PC. While MPEG and AVI formats will generally work too, they use a variety of different codecs that may not be installed on the presentation machine. 

·        Mac Users: Quicktime movies (.MOV file format) do not play directly within a slide in PowerPoint on the PC.  You can create a hyperlink to them, which will open them in a separate Quicktime player window, and allow you to play them from there. If you are going to be presenting from a PC and you can convert them to .WMV format, they should play properly within slides in PowerPoint. Most MPEG and some AVI codecs will also work on the PC.

·        If you’ll be presenting from a Mac, .MOV files using the Sorenson 3 or MPEG-4 codecs are good choices for compatibility with other Macs.

·        All Presenters Using Media Clips: Plan to visit the speaker ready room as early as possible, but at least 24 hours prior to your talk.  With sufficient time our technicians can fix almost any video playback problem, but re-encoding videos can be a time consuming process.

·        If you have specific questions regarding codecs and your presentation, please contact us at


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Using Animation Within Your Presentation.  

·        Animated builds, moves, highlights and transitions can help visually reinforce your message. However, these are often overused by presenters and can detract from the message you are trying to convey. Different versions of PowerPoint have different sets of animation features that are not always backwards compatible, it is best to use as little animation as possible to keep your audience focused on your content, and minimize problems in portability.


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·        The presentation systems will be loaded with Standard System Fonts. If your presentation contains any special fonts, you must provide a copy of the font, to be loaded on the presentation system. Please pay special attention to fonts, if you use scientific notation within your presentation, as this is often written using a non-standard font.

·        PC users: to be safe, use a standard font like Arial or Times New Roman to create your presentation.

·        Mac users:  many fonts with the same names are spaced differently on Macs and PCs.  The Tahoma font is designed to be identical on both systems, so using it whenever possible will help avoid the need to adjust things once your presentation is moved to a PC.


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Avoiding Common Presentation Pitfalls

·        PowerPoint 2007/2008 users should save their presentations in their versions’ native .pptx format, not in the PowerPoint ’97-2003 format, as this will provide better overall compatibility with our systems.

·        Unix Users must have HTML files or PDF files in Adobe Acrobat 9 format.

·        PowerPoint is designed to display pictures and text generated within the program or inserted from other sources.  If the outside source is a sound file over 5kb or any video file, the original file is not saved within the presentation.  Source files meeting these criteria must be available on the computer where the presentation is going to run.  Please copy any source video and sound files to the media with your presentation.  If in doubt, bring the file along.

·        Embedded charts, graphs, and object-oriented graphic files are often difficult to work with.  These file types usually are influenced by the version of the program used to create them, often making them translate strangely on a different computer system.  It is recommended that charts or graphics be inserted into your presentation as a bitmap format graphic. (Examples of bitmap formats are: .gif, .jpg, .bmp, and .tiff) If you embed charts and object graphics in your presentation, it is advisable to have the bitmap format graphics available on your media.

·        Acrobat Reader.  You are welcome to bring your files in Acrobat’s PDF format; however, editing these files at the meeting will not be possible.

·        HTML presentations.  Make sure that your files are portable.  Data will be copied from your media to the networks hard drive.  If files are not portable, you could lose links between pages.

·        Web Server.  A Web Server is not on the network so please plan accordingly.

·        Other Plug-Ins or Active X controls.  These cannot be installed into the network.  If your presentation takes advantage of a function not built into Internet Explorer 8 or Firefox 3.6, you may have difficulties onsite.

·        If you use PowerPoint’s rehearse timings feature, pay close attention to the dialog box that appears after you finish rehearsing.  It will offer to save the timings from your rehearsal, and if you inadvertently agree it will set them as automatic advances of your slides at the times you just rehearsed. Unless you want your slides to advance on their own at predetermined times, you’ll want to say no to this option.  To check if there are any automatic timings currently associated with your slides, choose the slide sorter  view of your presentation, they can be seen as numbers (00:10, for example,) below the bottom left corner of each slide.



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Presentation Delivery Tips

·        Be considerate of the other speakers and the audience by staying within your allotted time. This is essential to ensure adequate time for questions and discussion and adherence to schedule.

·        Please discuss the same material as reported in the abstract.

·        Take the time to rehearse your presentation.  Give your talk to one or more colleagues and ask them for suggestions for improvement.  If your presentation runs longer than the allotted time, eliminate the least essential material and rehearse again.

·        Give an opening statement to acquaint the audience with the nature and purpose of the study. Word choice should be simple: use active words and short sentences.  Words should reinforce your visual material.

·        Use the public address system and be sure to speak slowly and clearly into the microphone.  When using a microphone clipped to your lapel, it may be difficult for the audience to hear you if you turn your head away from the microphone.

·        Face the audience, not the slides or graphics you are showing, and try to establish eye contact with members of your audience in various areas of the room.

·        Do not read your presentation verbatim from your notes or slides.


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