PowerPoint doesn’t cause ‘Death by PowerPoint’ in the hands of inept presenters any more than cars cause traffic accidents or guns kill people. The blame lies with the users. PowerPoint is an excellent tool when used properly. That said, it’s wide variety of features make it easier for inept presenters to design bad slides:
- The tool doesn’t say ‘bad idea’ when you come up with poor layout or design and it will create a full sentence text slide with 20 lines of 10 pt. type if you ask it to do so. Because it can.
- It will automatically spread the bullet lines over the entire slide, even though we know that we should only use the top two thirds of the frame for text, allowing for ‘headroom’ of the people in the front rows.
- It will also provide us a menu of jazzy and glitzy transitional devices. That most of them are lame and overused in routine workplace presentations is our fault, not the tool’s fault.
- Consider font choices – only a few work well for projected text, yet we’re given a wide variety to chose from. That’s marketing, too.
- Same goes for background color choices – many thousands available. Isn’t that impressive! Yet the typical adult eye can only differentiate among 400 different shades tops. All the rest are the result of marketing hype.
So, PowerPoint isn’t the culprit, inept presenters are. But, ignorance is curable and we can outlaw Death by PowerPoint … in our lifetime!