Prompted by a few presentations I have seen recently, I wanted to write briefly about an easy change to your slides you can use to immediately start to improve your presentations. That is, using the entire slide for images and text.
Many times, the backgrounds and templates we choose will subconsciously constrain our use of the slides. This is very common when we are mandated to use template slides for branding, but not allowed to step outside of the template when needed.
If you are following good presentation design principles, then this will likely not affect text much, as you will know to condense your use of text and just use the space allotted. Where there is real impact is the use of images.
Most of use will instinctually put the image in a corner:
But why not use the entire slide? [aka, “No one puts Baby in a corner!” I’m dating myself, but it was a good movie.]
The image is easier to see, the slide looks better and more professional.
Another example with a medical image:
Now using the entire slide:
Very commonly in our educational presentations, we use images to let the audience examine the slide (exploratory) or point out key findings (explanatory). Much easier to do when the audience can easily see the image and details.
A few important points about using the entire slide when using images:
- The is an option to “lock” the height and width ratio when expanding an image. If you turn it off, make sure your image still looks balanced when finally positioned.
- Images must be of high enough quality to expand to the entire slide. I have found that the native image must be at least 750-800 x 500-550 pixels at 72 dpi to be able to expand without compromising resolution.
- Finding great images that are large enough for free can be tricky. A few free sites include everystockphoto.com or fotalia.com. If you are willing to pay a fee for the images (national lectures, anything you may want to copyright, etc…) then consider sites like istockphoto.com.