10 Design Tips & Hacks for PowerPoint

Ahh yes, you know, the one program designers just absolutely love. The one program we did not realize we would be using at least 25% of the time when we signed up for our designer role, which explicitly called out for skills needed in Adobe Creative Suite but voilà, here we are again battling PPT’s constraints and gritting our teeth designing in a program not designed for designers.

Hopefully the tips below can relieve some of the pain. For all else, we still got our Excedrin, coffee, or whatever your preferred vice may be.

Design Tips:

  1. Stop using templates. No repeating elements on every slide. We are no longer in 1997 and obligated to have the damn title, logo, slide number, and your mother’s maiden name on every slide. If you do choose to have an element repeat on every slide, just make it the slide number.
  2. Use a clear navigation. If a Table of Contents is present, make the listing of contents hyperlinks for easy access to slides.

Table of Contents – Include hyperlinks for quick access to slides.

Use prominent, consistent slides throughout the presentation that distinguish a change in sections.


Use section dividers throughout your presentation.

3. Consider making it interactive if the PPT is being distributed for individual use instead of used in a presentation setting.

4. Less text, more imagery for clarity of content (think photography, infographics, icons to separate info).


Separate your content out with iconography and utilize white space.

5. HOWEVER if the presentation requires a lot of text, make sure the color scheme and overall theme is simple, therefore the focus is still on the text and the viewer is not overly distracted by competing visual design elements.


Tech Hacks within PPT:

  1. To create a splash photography background that isn’t going to compete with the content overlaying it (and without having to edit in an external program i.e. Photoshop), create a shape over the entire image and experiment with the opacity in the transparency settings (Format Shape> Solid Fill > Transparency). You could try a white, black, or even solid color overlay.

Format Shape> Solid Fill > Transparency

2. A coworker of mine taught me this one.  When wanting to copy formatting in PowerPoint or MS Word, highlight new texts, bullets, or headings and hit (Crl+Shift+C) to copy your desired format, and paste it by pressing (Crl+Shift+V).

3. Navigation shortcuts are your best friend. “F5” Starts the presentation. “N” changes to the next slide. “P” moves back a slide. Jump to a certain slide by entering the # of the slide and then hit “Enter.”

4. Input a specific color using a hex code or RGB in the color settings. (Color> paint bucket icon> More Colors…> Select slider icon [second to left] > Choose whether to input RGB or Hex code in provided fields.)


Color> paint bucket icon> More Colors…> Select slider icon [second to left]

5. To duplicate more than one object, but keep them aligned, simply hold down Shift while selecting all of the desired objects, then ALT and drag either vertically or horizontally.

There you have it! (For now, until I discover even more methods of cheating PPT’s ridiculous ways, muahaha) I’d also love to read any hacks that you may have discovered along your amazing PPT journeys! Leave a comment below to share.



Nicolette Shasky

About the Author | LinkedIn
Nicolette Shasky is a creative soul with a specialty in visual storytelling and UI/UX Design. She currently works as a Visual + Analytics Designer at Interactions Marketing in San Diego, California.


  1. Orysya Stus says:

    Awesome design tips, I enjoyed the read!

  2. Always the best posts! Thanks again! I bookmarked this

  3. Khyle Vincent Cardosa says:

    Very well! I’m so amazed with the design tips you can do with powerpoint.

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