Guidelines For Word Documents, Powerpoint Presentations, And
Based On Best Practices In "New Media" Communication
July 25, 2012)
These are 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 title.
Every Powerpoint slide should have a title. Every page and
slide should have a footer.
All of your work should have a consistent format.
- A 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.
- Between paragraphs, use one line
- Don't indent
the first sentence of every paragraph.
- Use left justification.
(in bold with capitalized letters) to "chunk" ideas
together. There should be no line break between a "section
heading" and narrative text.
- At the very least, capitalize the first letters of all significant
of every title and "section heading". (Although it is non-standard
usage, your instructor capitalizes every first letter of every first
letter of every word in a title or "section heading" because this is
becoming a common
practice on the Internet that actually makes sense in terms of
using underlining. 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. If you are not convinced, please read this article. )
use clear and complete sentences that are spell-checked. In Office
applications, use the F7 key to spell check.
ask a friend to check your grammar.
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 text that is bold; notice also that there is no extra line break
between the "section heading" and the narrative text.
- Your narrative text should follow immediately below the
- 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".
- 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
- When copying the text of an online abstract, change any
bold text to plain text.
- Tip: You can add a text caption directly
photos, just like in newspapers and magazines. Readers are used to
this; it is generally appreciated. If you do 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 punctuation like !!!
or ??? in a
page or a slide. Instead, just use one
- Use a
consistent format: the same type of font, font
size, font style, font color, and text placement on each page or slide.
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 your employer on how well you communicate.
Use A Template For Powerpoint Presentations: Be Consistent
Your document pages and Powerpoint slides should have a consistent
look. For Powerpoint presentations, it's a very good idea to
create a "formatted template" before you add content. This means
that you can copy
over and over again blank slides that include basic formatting
information. So, you can 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.
instructor prefers the use of a simple blank background; if in doubt,
use a blank white background for all presentations; this is what many
professionals use. (If you attend a national conference with noted
speakers, you will find that nearly all presenters use blank
backgrounds in their presentations; registration for these events range
from $500 to $1,000.)
- The very first slide of a Powerpoint presentation can be in
any format 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 for 2) desktop viewing by individuals. The format you use depends on your audience.
For an audience, you need 2 or 3 large font sizes so that
anyone in the back row can easily see. Here is an example of
format for Powerpoint presentations for audiences:
- Title Text, Arial 40, bold, centered.
Every slide should have its own title.
- Main text (narrative text), Arial 36,
plain, left-justified. (Don't center your main text).
- Caption text, Arial 28, plain, centered
directly under an image. (Using captions is optional.)
2. For presentations designed for individual viewing on
a computer, you can use much 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: CORS4567, YourFirstName YourLastName, TypeOfAssignment, ThisSemester,
Make sure that you substitute "CORS4567" with the course
name and course number of the course you are taking.
Avoid Powerpoint Annoyances
While it is 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,
- Use left justification of text for all narrative text.
- For an audience, never use a font size smaller than 28
point in a Powerpoint slide. People in the back row can't read small
- Avoid animations. If you do use an animation, use
- Avoid needless clipart or unrelated images. Any images
should be related to your message.
- Avoid using "whoosh" and "typing" sounds. (Some people find
- Avoid using more than one "transition special effect".
Recommended: using one simple and subtle fade effect is OK.
- The rule for maximizing your message is to be consistently simple.
- Be as visual as you can be. Use fewer words, if at all possible.
- Instead of describing items, list them as bullets.
- If you can't say it briefly on one slide, use 2 slides.