Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
rutgers library logo dark

Presentations in Medicine & Science: Preparing Slides

Resources to help assist you make good presentations in different formats. Posters and oral presentations

Preparing Slides

Presentation Design:

  • Don’t overload your slides with too much text or data.
  • FOCUS. In general, using a few powerful slides is the aim.
  • Let the picture or graphic tell the story. Avoid text.
  • Type key words in the PowerPoint Notes area listing what to say when displaying the slide. The notes are printable and do not appear on the slides.
  • Number your slides and give them a title.
  • Use the “summary slide” feature in slide sorter view to prepare an Agenda or Table of Contents slide.
  • Prepare a company logo slide for your presentation.
  • You can add a logo and other graphics to every slide using the slide master feature.
  • Proofread everything, including visuals and numbers.
  • Keep “like” topics together
  • Strive for similar line lengths for text.

Visual Elements

  • A font size of 28 to 34 in a bold is recommended for subtitles.
    • The title default size is 44
    • Use a san serif font for titles
  • Use clear, simple visuals. Graphics should make a key concept clearer
  • Use contrast: light on dark or dark on light.
  • Place your graphics in a similar location within each screen.
  • To temporarily clear the screen press W or B during the presentation. Press Enter to resume the presentation.

Text:

  • Font size must be large enough to be easily read. Size 28 to 34 with a bold font is recommended.
  • It is distracting if you use a wide a variety of fonts.
  • Overuse of text is a common mistake.
    • Too much text makes the slide unreadable. You may just as well show a blank slide. Stick to a few key words. 
    • If your audience is reading the slides they are not paying attention to you. If possible, make your point with graphics instead of text.
    • You can use the Word Art feature in Powerpoint, or a clip art image of a sign, to convey text in a more interesting way.

Numbers:

  • Numbers are usually confusing to the audience. Use as few as possible and allow extra time for the audience to do the math.
  • Numbers should never be ultra precise:
    • “Anticipated Revenues of $660,101.83” looks silly. Are your numbers that accurate? Just say $660 thousand.
    • “The Break Even Point is 1048.17 units”. Are you selling fractions of a unit?
    • Don’t show pennies. Cost per unit is about the only time you would need to show pennies.
  • If you have more than 12-15 numbers on a slide, that’s probably too many.
  • Using only one number per sentence helps the audience absorb the data.

Statistics:

  • Use the same scale for numbers on a slide. Don’t compare thousands to millions.
  • Cite your source on the same slide as the statistic, using a smaller size font.

Charts:

  • Charts need to be clearly labeled. You can make more interesting charts by adding elements from the drawing toolbar.
  • Numbers in tables are both hard to see and to understand. There is usually a better way to present your numerical data than with columns and rows of numbers. Get creative!
  • PowerPoint deletes portions of charts and worksheets that are imported from Excel, keeping only the leftmost 5.5 inches.

Background:

  • The background of a slide should never distract from the presentation.
  • Using the default white background is hard on the viewer’s eyes. You can easily add a design style or a color to the background.
  • Backgrounds that are light colored with dark text, or vice versa, look good. A dark background with white font reduces glare.
  • Colors appear lighter when projected. Pale colors often appear as white.
  • Consistent backgrounds add to a professional appearance.
  • For a long presentation, you may want to change background designs when shifting to a new topic or section.

Excitement:

  • Sounds and transition effects can be annoying. Use sparingly.
  • Animation effects can be interesting when used in moderation.
    • Too much animation is distracting.
    • Consider using animated clip art
    • Consider using custom animation
  • You can insert video and audio clips into PowerPoint.
  • You can also insert hyperlinks.

Medical Librarian

Profile Photo
Matt Bridgeman
Contact:
Robert Wood Johnson Library of the Heath Sciences
MEB 101
732-235-7604
RUTGERS.EDU | SEARCH RUTGERS.EDU

© , Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Rutgers is an equal access/equal opportunity institution. Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to direct suggestions, comments, or complaints concerning any accessibility issues with Rutgers websites to accessibility@rutgers.edu or complete the Report Accessibility Barrier / Provide Feedback form.