So ... I spent the better part of this evening working on 2 presentations that I am delivering for the first time next week.  Of course, I usually try to find existing PPT decks and then customize them from there ... why reinvent the wheel, right?  Usually this doesn't take too long ... I apply my template, fix any weird formatting issues and move on.  These 2 PPT's took a whole 4 hours to fix ... now, besides demonstrating that I don't have a life (after all, I'm doing PPT's on a Saturday evening), it also demonstrated that the original author of these decks is in dire need of some PowerPoint training.  The sad thing is that I can see him spending the same amount of time doing the formatting ... which turned out to be the problem. (Oh, and the formatting wasn't even consistent in the same deck, much less between the two!)


When writing a PowerPoint, especially one that you KNOW others will use (and this was distributed for reuse), stick to the *&#&$% design template.  Don't add a bunch of custom text boxes with a bunch of custom bullets.  Yeah, it might look nice with your template, but doesn't change formats real well.  PowerPoint has this feature called Design Templates -- has had it for a long time actually.  Check it out -- read the "friendly" manual.  Specify the formatting, including your favorite bullets, there.  Not on the slide.  Oh, and hey, it's actually easier for you.  You won't need to copy-paste, format paint or anything like that. 

I know it may be hard, but truly, resist the urge to add custom text boxes, especially after you've gone through the trouble to delete the standard placeholders for the slide layout.  The first time you have to redo the deck with a predefined template, you'll thank me.  And there are layouts with all kinds of stuff, including 2 bulleted lists, objects and images.  USE THEM!

And stick to the color template too.  Don't use a bunch of custom colors on your slides.  Don't like the colors in the template you are using?  Change them!!  Don't add new colors ... screws up the entire scheme!  And then when the template changes, it's all an ungodly mess.  Resist the urge to go to that "custom color" section. 


Now, perhaps I'm a little on the picky side here ... but I do like my PPT's to have a consistent look and feel.  Even if my ideas about "design" leave a lot to be desired ... it just looks more "professional " ... I have my favorite template that I use (stolen, to be sure) for all of my presetations ... at least as much as possible.   

OK ... feeling a little better now.  Not much ... a Saturday evening wasted doing stupid stuff like that isn't going to go away that easily.  I think I need to have a little session with the PPT author (I know who it is ... won't say ... he's another 'softie and should know better ... which makes it that much worse) and throttle him a bit.