How do most business professionals start creating their PowerPoint slides? They open a previous presentation and copy a few slides into a new file, making sure to click the Keep Source Formatting option so the template from the previous file gets applied. This is a big mistake. You may get an old version of the template or even multiple versions of templates that will give the presentation an inconsistent look and feel.
The best practice is to always start with your company’s current PowerPoint template. You can usually download it from your corporate intranet in the branding or marketing area. You can also search for the term “PowerPoint template” on your company’s intranet to find the page it is located on. Then start your new file by applying the template to a blank PowerPoint file using the steps in this previous article.
Why should you do this? Why change the way you’ve always done it? Here are five reasons.
Your presentation will be brand compliant
Branding is more important today than ever before. Your organization has spent a lot of time and money developing a brand that will resonate with customers, employees, and stakeholders. By using the current PowerPoint template, you ensure that you are projecting the current brand story with your slides. You can even apply the colors and fonts from the PowerPoint template to your Excel files so charts and graphs you copy into your slides are brand compliant.
The logo won’t be different between slides
Your company’s logo is an important element of the brand. By using the current template, the logo will be in the correct color and aspect ratio and will be located in the correct place on the slide. Starting with slides from previous presentations runs the risk of having a logo that is out of date, one that has been modified by someone else, or jumps between places on different slides.
The text will be consistent on each slide
Using the current template makes it much easier to make sure that the text on each slide is the correct font, correct size, correct formatting, and in a consistent place on each slide. Having to try to manage this manually is a lot of effort that you don’t need to go through.
It will be so much easier to combine slides from different files
If you have ever had to pull slides from different people into a single presentation you know the struggle of getting all the slides to have a consistent look when everyone has used different versions of the PowerPoint template. If everyone starts with the current template, combining slides into a single file is so much easier. (If you are the one that has to pull slides together every month, send this article to everyone else so your task is much easier.)
It is less work when you use layouts that match the content
An aspect of PowerPoint templates that many users don’t leverage is the ability to use layouts that are tailored for specific types of content. Many templates contain multiple layouts that are designed to make it easy to create slides without a lot of manual formatting. For example, layouts can help make sure slides with a single graph always look the same, customer testimonials all have the same elements and are consistently formatted, and text slides have the correct bullet character, spacing, and font size.
Does it take a few more minutes to get the latest PowerPoint template from the intranet and use it to start your new PowerPoint file? Probably. But it is far less time than what you would spend fighting with the format of slides, manually adjusting elements on slides, and apologizing to your boss and others for why the slides are inconsistent.
Go check your corporate intranet right now. Download the current PowerPoint template. Use it to start your next PowerPoint file. Using the current PowerPoint template to start every new PowerPoint file will save you time and frustration in the future.
Dave Paradi has over twenty years of experience delivering customized training workshops to help business professionals improve their presentations. He has written nine books and over 100 articles on the topic of effective presentations and his ideas have appeared in publications around the world. His focus is on helping corporate professionals visually communicate the messages in their data so they don’t overwhelm and confuse executives. Dave is one of less than ten people in North America recognized by Microsoft with the Most Valuable Professional Award for his contributions to the Excel and PowerPoint communities. He regularly presents highly rated sessions at national and regional conferences of financial professionals.