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Presentation Hackathon Part 1: 5 Incredibly Simple Hacks to Create Stunning Slides

Presentation Hackathon Part 1: 5 Incredibly Simple Hacks to Create Stunning Slides

Anuj Malhotra

Anuj Malhotra

September 24 2015

This article is first in the series of “Presentation Hackathon” where we share incredibly simple and quick hacks that any presenter can use to create the most professional slides without any professional designer’s help.


What is a good design? Smart, elegant, easy to the eye, beautiful, trending, and many more adjectives can be added to describe a good design. While the “looks” of the slide constitute an important aspect of a good design, how it “functions” to achieve its purpose is even more crucial. Pretty slide won’t do you much good if it overpowers the message. A good design should look good and work good too.


Keeping this in mind, we are rolling out the “Presentation Hackathon” series. What you would be getting isn’t just tips to decorate your slides but also design them well so that your message stands out, is noticed and remembered by the audience.


This article gives you 5 quick design hacks to turn a slide full of text into a super sleek, professional one. Let’s say you have a slide like the one below:


Before amateur PowerPoint Slide full of text


The slide is plain boring. It lacks any personality whatsoever. The white neutral background with so much text makes reading about the organization a time-consuming chore.
Time to do some magic! Well, not really. We will be applying only 5 incredibly simple fixes to give this slide a stunning makeover. Take out your PowerPoint slides full of text and work with us, step by step, hack by hack, to transform the look and feel of your presentation:


Hack 1: Change the background color

White background does not inspire; especially when it comes to presentations. Instead, choose a dynamic fill color or your brand color as the background fill. This hack requires no design skill and hardly takes 5 seconds to implement. Take a blank slide and follow these steps:


  • Right click on the slide and click Format Background.
  • Select Solid Fill and choose the color you wish to use.


If you love a background used in an image elsewhere, copy-paste that image on your blank slide. Choose the Eyedropper tool and duplicate the same background color on your slide. Like we did for this slide:


Format Background with Eyedropper Tool- PowerPoint Hack


Hack 2: Insert a shape and give it picture fill

The second step is to add a visual element to your slide. It need not necessarily cover the complete slide; it should however be big enough to be seen and spark visual interest. Dump the conventional square format of a regular image for a circle instead. It will blend into the slide and not appear as a separate element. Follow the steps below to have a picture fill within a shape:


  • Click the Insert tab
  • Under Shapes, choose the oval shape
  • Press shift and drag to have a symmetrical circle
  • Right click on the circle and click Format Shape
  • Give the circle a white outline and select Picture Fill
  • Locate the file on your computer and insert the same


To move the picture within the circle, follow these steps:


  • Click the Format tab
  • Under Crop drop down, click Fill
  • Move the image in the crop rectangle as per your requirements


Your slide will now have a visual element that looks impressive and classic:


Applying a picture fill to shape- PowerPoint Hack


Hack 3: Vary Font Sizes & Fonts Themselves

Add drama to your text by varying the font size and using combinations of two or more fonts. But first split your sentence into two or three parts. Make the most important words on your slide large and bold. Choose a different font for the selected keyword. In our slide, ‘HR Consultancy’ is the keyword since it defines the organization. Make it capitalized, increase its font size and give it a different color as well as font type so that it stands out.


For further effect, enclose the statement within boundaries by drawing a line above the sentence and below it. This heightens the importance of the text. Draw a line by following these steps:


  • Go to the Insert tab and Shapes drop-down to select a line.
  • Draw a straight line, right click and choose Format Shape to customize its color, width and style.


Varying Font Type and Font Size- PowerPoint Hack


Hack 4: Turn bullet points into columns of text (Aligned Columns)

Bullet points instantly turn off the audience. Take each bullet point and put it in three separate columns, separated by a dotted line. This will help divide chunks of text into neat columns that will be easy to the eye. To ensure that all are aligned properly, follow these steps:


  • Select all text boxes
  • Click the Format tab
  • Go the Arrange group
  • Under the Align drop-down, click Distribute Vertically.

All text boxes will be aligned properly giving a polished look to the slide.


Dividing text into neat rows and sections- PowerPoint Hack


Hack 5: Use Icons to break monotony of text

Icons are small visual representations of ideas and objects that are not only eye-catchy but also universally understood. Icons reinforce the text, bring visual relief and are complete in themselves. For our slide, we can choose an icon for each of the services offered by the HR consultancy firm and make the slide look more classy and lively. You can download beautiful PowerPoint Icons (vector as well as image icons) from our website and use it for your presentation. You can browse and download PowerPoint icons for free from our Free PowerPoint Templates section. It’s better to use fully vector icons since these can be edited, enlarged and customized without having effect on resolution.
Here’s how the final slide looks when we are done with the last presentation hack:


Applying Icons to slide- PowerPoint Hack


Remember the slide we started with? See the difference a few tweaks can do to your slide:


Professional Business PowerPoint Slide


None of the five hacks we mentioned require a great deal of time investment on your part. In less than 10 minutes, you can turn a boring-to-death slide into a killer one and win the envy of your competitors and approval of your clients. You will also have achieved a good design that looks good and works good.


Short on time to revamp your presentation? You can hire services of a professional PowerPoint presentation design company like ours so that each slide of yours oozes professionalism and sophistication!


Stay tuned for the next in the series of Presentation Hackathon. Let’s rid the world of ugly presentations, one slide at a time!

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55 thoughts on “Presentation Hackathon Part 1: 5 Incredibly Simple Hacks to Create Stunning Slides”
    1. slideteam
      Thank you Arun. Glad you liked them. :)
  1. Dennis
    Excellent. It would be great if you could show more 'before and after' slides.
    1. slideteam
      Thanks Dennis. We will definitely be posting more Hackathon blog posts with more of such examples for you. Stay Tuned. :)
  2. Zilmar Pereira
    Easy to do and of great effect. A lot of design principles put together in an attractive manner.
    1. slideteam
      Thank you Zilmar. We will try to do even better next time! :)
  3. Yinka
    Great tips. I will download the icons. Looking forward to more! well-done.
    1. slideteam
      Thanks a lot Yinka. Such awesome comments have made our day!
  4. Valerie
    Love it! Looking forward to seeing more!
    1. slideteam
      Thanks Valerie. We'll definitely publish more of such hacks for slide makeovers. Stay tuned!
  5. Eric
    Great tip! What are your thoughts on slidedeck templates and consistency amongst different presentations? E.g. Same font style in different presentations.
    1. slideteam
      Thanks Eric. No harm at all in having consistency among different presentations (template, fonts, colors, etc.) if they reflect your brand identity. Ideally, the presentation topic and audience should dictate the fonts and colors. A light-hearted topic can have fancy fonts while a business presentation should have regular, bold fonts.
      1. Janisa
        So that's the case? Quite a revelation that is.
        1. slideteam
          Well, that's just one case Janisa. Check out our other hackathons to see many more revelations. :)
  6. Febea Tabuada
    Brilliant! Thank you for such useful tips :)
    1. slideteam
      Our pleasure, Febea. Stay tuned for more presentation hacks on SlideTeam Blog!
  7. Nancy
    WOW! Just changed my slides for a presentation next week! My "about us" now rocks! Thank you.
    1. slideteam
      That's great Nancy! That was exactly our purpose. Do check out the Part 2 of Hackathon series- . We'll post more of such hacks for you.
    2. Delia
      At last! Someone with the insight to solve the problem!
      1. slideteam
        We are honored Delia to hear that. :D
  8. Trina
    Very informative. Thank you for sharing... It will definitely help me.
    1. slideteam
      That's great Trina. Glad we could be of some help. :)
  9. Susan
    Great slide! I have a higher confidence in the "after" company. My customers like to print ppts. How can that background be made printer efficient?
    1. slideteam
      Yes, a professional slide lends higher confidence. You are right- a colored background will use a lot of ink and might not print well. We suggest you remove the background color at the time of printing. To do so, go to the File tab and under the Print settings, select the "Grayscale" or "Black and white" option rather than the default color option.
  10. Steve
    Great Tips! Thanks for providing "value" to those of us who need that extra insight.
    1. slideteam
      Thanks Steve for those encouraging words. We hope we continue providing value to all SlideTeam customers. :)
      1. Jenaya
        My problem was a wall until I read this, then I smashed it.
        1. slideteam
          That's an awesome analogy Jenaya! :D
  11. Menaka
    Just great. Never knew how to do these simple wonders though I always have envied such attractive PPT's. Thanks a heap.
    1. slideteam
      Yes Menaka, small makeovers can make tons of difference. We'll be sharing more of such tips, thanks. :)
  12. Adonia
    Good stuff for those of us who aren't creative or artistic!
    1. slideteam
      Thanks Adonia. Design is surely an art but it is a craft too which can be learnt. We too are learning with every passing day.
  13. Buchi
    Really great tips!
    1. slideteam
      Thanks a lot Buchi. :)
  14. Yvonne Wang
    Really cool tips. I am a big lost at the step 4...
    Go the Arrange group
    Under the Align drop-down, click Distribute Vertically.
    (I didn't find it in my powerpoint 2013) Is it also in the tool box (Format Shape) at the right hand side?

    Thanks a lot~
    1. slideteam
      Yvonne, this functionality is definitely available in PowerPoint 2013. Select all the text boxes first, go to the 'Format' tab in the PowerPoint Ribbon and locate the 'Align' menu on the extreme right. Check out the link of the screenshot given below to help you locate the same faster.
  15. ladykhansa
    Really useful. Hope to see more cool tips guys. Thanks!
    1. slideteam
      Thanks, we are regularly posting cool PowerPoint tips and tricks. Do check out...
  16. Sathinder Reddy
    Sathinder Reddy
    Thanks, great tips, love them.
    1. slideteam
      Thank you Sathinder! Glad you liked them.
  17. Linda Christine McHenry
    Linda Christine McHenry
    I just found this site a few weeks ago. I am an educator so my brain is having a short circuit from the amazing possibilities. I teach medical coding so my slides can definitely be improved! I am trying to add color and eliminate some of the words. I am definitely going to try and get ideas as I can right now, but hopelly in a few months I can set up a subscription! I am so happy I found this site!
    1. slideteam
      We are so pleased to read your comment, Linda and are excited to hear how you are going to try new possibilities with your presentations. Keep us updated. :)
  18. Polly
    Enormous thumbs up for the nice info!
    1. slideteam
      Thank you so much Polly! :)
  19. Sujatha Naren
    Sujatha Naren
    Simple and effective ideas ! kudos
    1. slideteam
      Thank you Sujatha!! :)
  20. Robin Adams
    Wish I found you guys earlier in my career. Great ideas and presentations are visually interesting...Thank you.
    1. slideteam
      We are lucky you found us now, Robin. Thank you so much! :)
  21. Ajaykumar
    I really loved your tips.

    Truly speaking, I was wonder before that how I can make great slides. But your tips are now solving these issues.

    I am getting lots of appreciations after applying these tricks.

    1. slideteam
      We are so happy to hear that, Ajaykumar. Thanks for your kind appreciation. :)
  22. Jenn Ryan
    Love the before-and-after. Slideteam is a great resource.
    1. slideteam
      Thank you so much, Jenn! :)
  23. Muhammad
    Thank you for sharing this. Good job man.
    1. slideteam
      Thank you so much, Muhammad! :)
  24. Andrew Walker
    Andrew Walker
    This is a very useful article. thank you for this informative article about slide presentation.
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