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Using Visuals Effectively in a PowerPoint Presentation

Updated: Feb 11



According to researchers, when people are presented with vivid images, they will remember 95% of what they see and hear. Filling your presentation with strong visuals is key in ensuring your audience leaves remembering your main points; here’s how to pack your PowerPoint with the best images.


Avoid cliché stock photos

Not all stock photos are bad, but some give off very cheesy, posed, cliché or cheap vibes. It can be tricky to pick out the good ones in a world filled with millions of stock photos; however, we have a few tips that will help you navigate your iStock or GettyImages libraries to find the best images for your slides. Our first tip is to avoid any pictures that feel overly posed: people throwing their hands in the air in celebration, high fives that don’t look natural, a person deep in thought with their hand on their chin and a furrowed brow. You get the idea. It’s also important to pay attention to the lighting in the image. Really bright and flat lighting screams stock; opt for more moody or dynamic lighting to take your visuals to the next level.


Instead of this:


Try this:


Compress your images, but make sure they stay sharp

From the start, you should be using high resolution images on your slides (at least 1980 by 1080 pixels); however, if you use a bunch of high res pictures throughout the deck, you’ll end up with a pretty huge file once you’re saving out your final PowerPoint design. This is when the “Compress Image” tool comes in handy. Just double click the image you want to compress, click the Compress Image icon, and choose which Picture Quality you want (we recommend On Screen for in-person presentations). Once you’ve compressed your images, be sure to run through the deck again and double check that none of the pictures are fuzzy or pixelated.


Limit your image per slide count

One of the most common mistake we see of images being used in PowerPoint is an overload of them being used per slide. Oftentimes, people will try to add a picture for each bullet point or detail on their slide, resulting in small images that can hardly be seen by the audience. The best way to optimize your image use is to stick to one high quality image per slide or idea—ask yourself, “Does this photo add to the point I’m making?” If the answer is no, cut it!


If you need multiple images on one slide, use a grid

There may be times when you can’t follow the one-image-per-slide rule and will need to use multiple photos on a slide; when this happens, utilize grids and create a collage of images, rather than haphazardly placing photos wherever there’s room on the slide. Use the Gridlines feature in the View tab in PowerPoint to line up and place your images in an aesthetically pleasing way.


Now get out there and take your PowerPoint designs to the next level.

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