Guidelines For Word Documents, Powerpoint Presentations, And
Based On "Best Practices" In "New Media" Communication
For this course, these are the format guidelines for documents (Word),
slides (Powerpoint), and webpages (HTML files). These guidelines are
based on current best practices in effective communication in "New
Media", particularly written communication on the Internet. These
guidelines assure focus, consistency, brevity, appeal, and significant
savings when files are printed on paper.
Every document should have a page title.
Every Powerpoint slide should have a slide title. Every page and
slide should have a footer.
All of your work should have a consistent format.
- A page or slide title should be bold,
centered, in a font size somewhat larger than the main text font. (If
you are unsure which font type to use, you should know that "Arial" is
the most commonly used font.)
- Use single spacing. Why? It saves paper.
- Between paragraphs, use one line
- Don't indent
the first sentence of every paragraph. Instead, use a plain block
style. Why? Most communication on the Internet uses this simplified
- Use left justification. Use centered text and left justified text sparingly, if at all..
(in bold with capitalized letters) to "chunk" ideas
together. There should be no line break between a "section
heading" and narrative text.
- For page and slide titles and all headings,at the very least,
capitalize the first letters of all "significant
words" (There is surprisingly little common ground on what a
"significant word" is internationally in the instruction of English
grammar!) Although it is currently "non-standard
usage", your instructor capitalizes every first letter of every word in a page title or "section heading" because this is
becoming a common
practice on the Internet... that actually makes sense in terms of
consistent emphasis. Rule: If you are consistent, you can do it.
using underlining. Don't use underlining in titles and headings in this course. If you want to emphasize something, use bold.
use an extra space between your sentences. What your typing teacher in
high school said you HAD to do no longer applies in the
age. Some people are quite surprised at this; if you are not convinced, please read this article.
use clear and complete sentences that are spell-checked. In Microsoft Office
applications, use the F7 key to spell check.
ask a friend to check your grammar.
- A footer should be, whenever possible, one line of text that looks a bit like this: CORS 4567, YourFirstName YourLastName, ThisAssignmentName, ThisSemester, ThisYear
A Sample Section Heading
above this narrative text is an example of a "section heading". A
very convenient organization of your thoughts in a manner that is very
readable. Notice that the "section heading" uses capitalized letters
and that the text is bold; notice also that there is no extra line break
between the "section heading" and the narrative text. Why? It saves paper.
- Your narrative text should follow immediately below a
- Tip: At the end of a "section heading", try using the Enter
+ Shift key
combination to move the cursor directly below.
- Avoid using "&". Instead, substitute
"and" for the "&" symbol.
- Avoid, using all capitalized letters LIKE THIS for your
phrases or sentences in documents or presentations.
- In lists of items, there should always be
a space between a "bullet" and the first letter of your text.
- There is never
a space before punctuation like
a comma or a period. There is always
a space after punctuation
like a comma or a period.
- Visual information is always appreciated if it is related
to your message. As a rule, be visual whenever possible! This dramatically enhances readability, clarity, and interest.
- Best Practice Tip: Whenever you can, use "captured images" that directly relate to your topic. Whenever possible, actively link
every image in every document or presentation to an Internet address or
"URL". It's OK to use the same Internet address as an active link
in similar captured images.
- If you can, use at least 2 images per document page and at least 1 image per slide. Again, try to actively link the images.
- The word "Internet"
is always capitalized.
- Your instructor spells these words in this way: website, webpage, Powerpoint, and clipart although these words are not standardized in spelling.
- Try to use just one font, unless there is a special
- Your instructor recommends using blank backgrounds for documents.
- Your instructor recommends using "true blank" Powerpoint slides, without a special background. Here's how to create a "true blank" Powerpoint slide.
- Tip: When copying the text of an online abstract, change any
bold text to plain text.
- Tip: If you need to provide a bibliography entry (in "APA format"), use http://bibme.org
- Tip: You can add a text caption directly
photos, just like in newspapers and magazines. Readers appreciate this. If you use captions, follow these
caption should be in a slightly smaller font size than
the narrative text font size.
- Use a phrase (an incomplete sentence) as a
caption with a period at the end.
- Center the caption text directly underneath the photo or image. (This may require the use of a "text box".)
- Don't use multiple punctuation marks like !!!
or ??? in a
page or a slide. Instead, just use one
punctuation mark. Why? It looks more professional.
- Use a
consistent format: the
same type of font, font
size, font style, font color, and text placement on each page or slide
makes your work look professional. Each page or slide should look like
it's related; so think of happy relatives.
In all communications in this course, always
use complete, clear, and grammatically correct sentences. The first letter of every
sentence should be capitalized. Every sentence should end with a
punctuation mark. Again: Spell check! Check your grammar. This is
important; you are judged by how well you communicate.
Use A Template For Powerpoint Presentations: Be Consistent
Your Word document pages and Powerpoint slides should have a consistent
look. Who decides? You do. For Powerpoint presentations, it's a very good idea to
use or create a "formatted template" before you add content. This means
that you should copy
over and over again blank slides that include basic formatting
information. This allows you to copy slides and fill them out, as needed.
As a suggestion,
after you make your second slide of your Powerpoint
presentation, copy it over and over again and use it to create content
for your remaining slides. Generally, a Powerpoint file should include 7 to 12 slides.
These Powerpoint templates are freely available: http://ulm.edu/~beutner/#Powerpoint_Presentation_Template
A "template" is something that you can modify as your own, using your own content..
use of a simple blank background is highly recommended in this
course. At national conferences, the majority of professional
presentations use a blank white background; again, this
is what most professionals and educational leaders use.
Powerpoint Slides: There Are Two Types Of Powerpoint Presentations
- The very first slide of a Powerpoint presentation can be in
any format you like because it is unique.
- The second slide and all remaining slides in your presentation should have the same consistent
format. To do this, copy the second slide (that has a title and some
narrative text) and paste it over and over again. When you edit the remaining slides by replacing content,
the slides will have the same "look and feel" of a consistent
Your Powerpoint presentation should be designed for either
1) an audience as in a classroom or meeting for viewing by a group of people on a large screen.
2) desktop viewing by individuals.
For a group viewing your presentation on a large screen, you need to use a large font size so that
anyone in the back row can easily see. Here is an example of
format for Powerpoint presentations in classrooms or in meetings:
- Title Text, Arial 40, bold, centered.
Every slide should have its own title.
- Section Headings, (narrative text), Arial 36, bold, left-justified.
- Main text (narrative text), Arial 36,
- Caption text, Arial 28, plain, centered
directly under an image. (Using captions is optional.)
- For a group presentation, never use a font size smaller than 28
point in a Powerpoint slide. People in the back row can't read small
- For images, "crop" and resize your images to make it as easy as possible to see details.
2. For presentations designed for individual viewing on
a computer, you can use smaller font sizes. Here is an example of one recommended format:
- The first slide title might be Arial 18, bold,
centered. Use Arial 14 for narrative text.
- For the remaining slides, each slide should have
its own title and narrative text. Recommended title size: Arial
14, bold, centered. Narrative text should be "left-justified block format" (no tabbed sentences; no centered
text) with a font size of Arial 12, plain, left-justified.
- Caption text can be Arial 11, plain, centered
directly under an important image. (Using captions is optional.)
Using A Footer
Create a footer for every file that you submit as an assignment: CORS 4567, YourFirstName YourLastName, TypeOfAssignment, ThisSemester,
Make sure that you substitute "CORS 4567" with the course
name and course number of the course you are taking. Similarly, update the semester and year.
Avoid Powerpoint Annoyances
While it is highly recommended to use
a blank white background for presentations, at the very least, your
background should use a common and identical background, with very good contrast
, for all of your
Powerpoint slides. After the title slide is shown, the
slides of your presentation should be consistently similar
- Never read from a slide. Never read from a slide. Never
read from a slide. (Some people find this irritating.)
- One last time: A blank white background is fine for your slides. In fact,
But, if you must use a background, make sure there is very good
contrast. Avoid using red or green backgrounds! This can interfere with
readability. Similarly, red or green fonts should not be avoided or, at
the very least, used sparingly.
- Use left justification of text for all narrative text.
- Avoid animations or effects. If you do use an animation or effect, use
- Avoid needless clipart or unrelated images. Any images
should be related to your message. Yes, do link each image, when possible, to an online location of your choice.
- Avoid using "whoosh" and "typing" sounds. (Some people find
this extremely irritating. Nothing screams "amateur" than using many
fonts, many transitions, and many sounds in a single Powerpoint
presentation. Professionals generally use a single font, a consistent
format with a white background. One or two simple transitions
are optional.... with no "whoosh" or "typing" sounds!)
- For self-identified experts of Powerpoint: Avoid using more
than one "transition special effect". A single, simple, and subtle fade
effect is OK.
- The rule for maximizing your message is to be consistently simple. Do that by using a consistent format. It really makes a statement about professionalism.
- Be as visual as you can be. Use fewer words, if at all possible. Use images whenever you can.
- Instead of describing items, list them as bullets. Or, better yet, provide images.
- If you can't say it briefly on one slide, use 2 slides.
- Think of your viewer. Be gentle and brief.