How to choose the right number of slides for a powerpoint presentation

How to choose the right number of slides for a powerpoint presentation

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In PowerPoint, there are three options when you want to select a group of slides to apply formatting, such as an animation effect or a slide transition to all of them. To select a group, use either the Slide Sorter or use the Slides Pane at the left of the screen. Toggle between these two views using the icons on the status bar at the bottom of the screen.

Instructions in this article apply to PowerPoint for Microsoft 365, PowerPoint 2019, PowerPoint 2016, and PowerPoint 2013.

Select All Slides

How you select all slides differs slightly depending on whether you are using the Slide Sorter or the Slides Pane.

Use the Slide Sorter: Select View > Slide Sorter. The first slide in the deck is selected. To select all of the slides in the presentation, press Shift and select the last slide.

Use Normal view: Select View > Normal. In the Slides Pane, select the first slide, press Shift, and select the last slide to select all the slides in the presentation.

Select a Group of Consecutive Slides

Select the first slide in the group of slides that you want.

How to choose the right number of slides for a powerpoint presentation

Hold the Shift key and select the last slide you want to include in the group. This includes the first slide and the last slide you selected as well as all of the slides in between the two.

You can also select consecutive slides by dragging across the slides you want to select.

Select Non-Consecutive Slides

Select the first slide in the group you want. It doesn’t have to be the first slide of the presentation.

How to choose the right number of slides for a powerpoint presentation

Hold the Ctrl key (Command key on a Mac) while you select each specific slide that you want. Slides can be chosen in random order.

Slide Sorter View

Use the Slide Sorter view to rearrange, delete, or duplicate your slides. You can also see any hidden slides.

Move a slide: Drag the slide from one position to another.

Delete a slide: Select the slide and press Delete.

Copy a slide: Select the slide and press Ctrl+C, or select Home > Copy.

Paste a copied slide: Select the desired insertion point and press Ctrl+V, or select Home > Paste.

Adjust the timing: Select the slides, go to Transitions, and change the time in the Duration text box.

Control transition effects: Select the slides, go to Transitions, and select Effect Options.

How to choose the right number of slides for a powerpoint presentation

Now here’s a curious concept. Viewing your PowerPoint slide show in a completely random order. When everything we do here at BrightCarbon is about telling your stories more effectively with a logical and linear flow it might seem like a very strange thing to want to do. So why would you want to do this?

I love PowerPoint. There, I said it and I feel better as a result, just as my therapist told me I would. I use it to create all sorts of things from the obvious presentations, to print documents, videos and even animated GIF images. I love PowerPoint even more when I can get inside it and use VBA code to make it do stuff most people don’t even know is possible.

I recently organised a birthday party for my wife and, as I have a high-quality projector mounted on the ceiling, I thought it would be cool to have a slide show of pictures from across the years playing on the wall. But pictures weren’t enough, I wanted them to be ‘presented’ with an attractive design, a timeline indicator and captions. It was an obvious choice to use PowerPoint to design the content.

How to choose the right number of slides for a powerpoint presentation

The completed presentation has one slide for each of my wife’s years, which will get me into a lot of trouble! Playing it back in order was ok but I wanted to mix it up and have the slides appear in a random order to make it a bit more interesting. Jumping from college years to a baby, to an adult, back to a teenager made it more interesting than running in a linear timeline.

There’s no native feature in PowerPoint that lets you run your slides in a random order. So, I opened up the VBE (Visual Basic Editor) built into PowerPoint and wrote a quick VBA macro to do it for me.

The macro does a couple of things. It firstly works out how many slides there are in the presentation and creates an array (a bit like a table of data) in which all of the unique slide IDs are stored. You might not know, but slides in PowerPoint have a couple of identities. The one we all know is the slide number. But that changes if you move the slide around the presentation. The next one is the slide ID and this is both unique and constant. It gets created when a new slide is added to the presentation and never changes, regardless of where the slide is in the presentation.

This array of slide IDs is then shuffled like a deck of cards using a randomise function. Finally, the randomised array is used to create a custom slide show that is then set to run. And the really cool bit is that every time the macro is run, you get a different slide order.

The full VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) macro is included below and if you need to know how to use it in your presentation then check out our How to use VBA in PowerPoint article. The comments in green tell you what each part of the macro is doing.

Each time you run the RunRandomSlideShow macro you’ll see your slides appear in a slide show in a different order. When you quit your slide show, you can then see what the macro has done by clicking the Slide Show tab in PowerPoint.

First, click the Custom Slide Show menu and choose Custom Shows…

How to choose the right number of slides for a powerpoint presentation

This opens the Custom Shows window and you’ll see that a new custom show called Random has been created:

How to choose the right number of slides for a powerpoint presentation

If you select this custom show and then click the Edit button you’ll see all of your slides on the left hand side and the randomly ordered list of them on the right:

How to choose the right number of slides for a powerpoint presentation

Remember, each time you run the macro this order will change.

This is how the macro creates the random order slide show but how does it actually run it? Close the windows above and back in the PowerPoint Slide Show tab click the Set up Slide Show button. This opens up the settings for your slide show:

How to choose the right number of slides for a powerpoint presentation

Here you’ll see on the right hand side that instead of showing All your slides, the macro has instructed PowerPoint to run a Custom show called Random. It also set the show to Loop continuously until ‘Esc’ so that it never ends!

You could use the same technique to add some spice to your PowerPoint Karaoke – also known as PowerPoint Roulette or Battledecks – an improvisation game where you give a presentation to an audience without knowing the content of the slides!

There you have it. Now you can go out into the world and play random slide shows to your heart’s content. And if you want to know more about macros, check out our other VBA blog articles. If you’re interested in add-ins, we have a very cool free one called BrightSlide and should you be interested in having us develop a custom solution for you, get in touch here.

Never add or fix manually again

Here are two common problems related to slide numbers in PowerPoint and how to fix them.

Scenario A: You’ve finished building a PowerPoint deck for the Big Meeting tomorrow, and you get an email from your boss asking you to add one more slide to the beginning of the deck. You create the slide but then notice that all the subsequent slide numbers are off by one.

How to choose the right number of slides for a powerpoint presentation

Since you manually added slide numbers to every slide using text boxes, now you have to go through the entire presentation, slide by slide, and update the slide number on each slide individually. What a pain.

Scenario B: You were savvy enough to use PowerPoint’s built-in slide number functionality, but despite having checked Slide Numbers in the Header and Footer dialog box, the slide numbers don’t appear anywhere on your slides. What’s happening?

Here are the steps to follow to add slide numbers to PowerPoint the right way so they appear where you want them to, and you never have to renumber slides again.

  1. Open the Slide Master. Select the View tab, and then select the Slide Master icon.

How to choose the right number of slides for a powerpoint presentation

  1. Select the Parent Slide. The Parent Slide will be at the very top of the list of slides on the left, and it will be the biggest slide on the list. You may have to scroll to the top of the list.

How to choose the right number of slides for a powerpoint presentation

  1. Select the Master Layout icon to open a dialog box.

How to choose the right number of slides for a powerpoint presentation

  1. Check the box next to Slide Number.

How to choose the right number of slides for a powerpoint presentation

  1. On the Slide Master tab in the ribbon, click on the red X icon to Close Master View.

How to choose the right number of slides for a powerpoint presentation

  1. Select Slide Number.

Note: Even though you selected Slide Number in Step 5 above, you’ve only indicated that you want the option to add slide numbers to your deck. That’s why the dialog box in Step 5 says “Placeholders.” In this step you have to tell PowerPoint to actually insert slide numbers. Then you can specify where you want the slide numbers to appear and how you want them to look.

  1. Select the Insert tab, and then click on the Slide Number icon to open the dialog box with Header and Footer options.
  1. Check the box next to Slide Number. Make sure there’s a checkmark in the box next to Slide Number.

How to choose the right number of slides for a powerpoint presentation

  1. Check the box next to “Don’t show on title page.” Best practices say that your title slide should not have a slide number on it. Check the box highlighted below to hide the slide number on the title slide.
  1. Select Apply or Apply to All, and you’re done!

Note: Remember, suppressing the slide number on the title slide will only work correctly if you’ve chosen the Title Slide layout for that slide. You can double-check this by right-clicking on your title slide, choosing Layout and confirming that the title slide layout is selected.

How to choose the right number of slides for a powerpoint presentation

  1. Format and reposition slide numbers. If you would like to change the appearance and/or position of slide numbers, go to the Slide Master to do that. Follow steps 1 and 2 above to navigate to the Parent Slide. Find the slide number placeholder. It will look like this: (#). Select that text and format it however you wish. You can also select the bounding box around the placeholder and move the slide number placeholder element wherever on the slide you like.

Similarly, if you want the slide number to appear in different positions depending on which slide layout you’ve applied, you can adjust the position of the slide number placeholder on individual layouts within the Slide Master.

To do this, navigate to the Slide Master, choose the slide layout you want to modify in the list on the left, and reposition or reformat the slide number placeholder for that specific layout.

By now, you have realised that the Slide Master is useful for so much more than just adding slide numbers to your PowerPoint presentation. Just as adding and positioning slide numbers on the slide master affects all slides in the deck, you can use different layouts in the Slide Master to apply different elements and formatting to slides throughout the presentation.

If you change one element in a layout master slide, that change will cascade throughout all the dependent slides. Learn more about master slide layouts and become a Slide Master master!

In this course:

  • What is PowerPoint?
    Video
  • Create a presentation
    Video
  • Choose the right view for the task
    Video
  • Add and format text
    Video

How to choose the right number of slides for a powerpoint presentation

Try it!

Select the PowerPoint View tab to choose the view that’s best for what you’re doing.

Normal view

Create and edit your slides.

Select View > Normal.

Or, select Normal from the task bar at the bottom of the screen.

Slide Sorter view

See thumbnails of all your slides and reorder them.

Select View > Slide Sorter.

Or, select Slide Sorter from the task bar at the bottom of the screen.

To reorganize your slides, drag a slide to a new location.

Notes Page view

View your speaker notes.

Select View > Notes Page.

Or, select Notes from the task bar at the bottom of the screen.

Slide Show view

Select Slide Show from the task bar at the bottom of the screen.

If you want to see your current slide, next slide, and speaker notes while you present, select the Slide Show tab, and then select the Use Presenter View checkbox.

Master views

Make universal style changes to every slide, notes page, or handout using the Slide, Handout, or Notes Master views on the ribbon.

Page numbers are helpful when a presentation is printed or distributed, and occasionally speakers like keeping them on screen for audiences to refer to when taking notes. But more often than not, I see page numbers in a live presentation as clutter that just screams “PowerPoint.” There are no settings to automatically hide page numbers in Slideshow mode, but here’s how you can do it with a simple animation trick.

STEP 1

Go into your Master and with the page number text box selected and the Animation ribbon visible, apply an “Appear” animation. Then in the Start options, choose “After Previous.”

How to choose the right number of slides for a powerpoint presentation

STEP 2

Select the page number box again, and this time apply a “Disappear” animation to it, also with an “After Previous” start. Make sure you are adding a second animation and not simply changing the existing animation—something you can easily check by viewing the Animation Pane.

How to choose the right number of slides for a powerpoint presentation

With the animation applied to the Master, any slide that has a page number enabled, will have its page number automagically hidden when viewed in Slideshow mode by animating in and then immediately animating out. It happens in an instant, so you’ll never even catch a flash of the number. Why do you need the Appear animation at all, you might ask? Well, slide transitions render before on-slide animations, so without the Appear step, you would see an awkward flash of the number during the slide transition.

Taking Things Further

Once you understand the technique, you can start applying it to items beyond page numbers such as sources and footnotes that might be needed in a handout, but wouldn’t be readable at 6pt in slideshow mode. And if you’re very ambitious, you could design a single slide that works on-screen with just a few words, but contains more detailed text (your speaker notes/talk track) that would be helpful in the handout version.

How to choose the right number of slides for a powerpoint presentation

How to choose the right number of slides for a powerpoint presentation

What About Keynote and Google Slides?

You can apply similar animations in Google Slides, although you would need to do so on each slide as Google does not currently support animations in the Master. Keynote also does not support Master animations, but even on individual slides, you will see a flash of items that have Appear/Disappear animations applied for some reason, so unfortunately this technique won’t work there.

The images you choose for your PowerPoint presentation can have an incredible impact on viewer attention, esteem and retention. Picking the right PowerPoint images is essential to the overall success of your presentation. Here are nine tips to help you choose powerful imagery for your PowerPoint presentation.

1. Select Images That Tell a Story

You should think of your chosen images as a connected whole instead of discreet entities. There’s no doubt that the information in your presentation shares a common thread and your images should as well. Pick graphics that tell a logical story on their own or that are related by aesthetic qualities. Creating consistency is essential. If you’ve already picked several black and white photos, use these instead of colour throughout your presentation.

How to choose the right number of slides for a powerpoint presentation

2. Use Unique Images

This photo, which juxtaposes a man’s face over an aerial city shot, is absolutely unique. It’s clear that this isn’t a stock photo or generic piece of clipart. It’s an original picture that speaks directly to the presentation for which it’s been prepared. When choosing visuals for your presentation, use unique pictures whenever possible. Ask around your organisation and find out if there’s an experienced photographer who can help you create high-quality, original photos that correspond directly to what you’ll be talking about. This is a great way to impress and engage an audience.

3. Pick Photos That Enhance Understanding

Remember that imagery in PowerPoint should never be chosen simply because it looks good. Every photo that you use should also enhance audience understanding of your topic. If you’re giving a talk about urban planning, display images that are directly related to municipal or development plans. If you’re talking about farming technologies, use photos that showcase the machinery, techniques or products that you’ll be referencing. The key is to ensure that there are strong connections between your pictures and your presentation topic.

How to choose the right number of slides for a powerpoint presentation

4. Select Images That Encourage Emotional Connections

Encouraging your audience to make an emotional connection with your presentation is essential to overall success. One of the easiest ways to evoke emotions in your audience is to use powerful images. For example, using a beautiful photo of a mother and child in an intimate moment of play is a great way to appeal to the emotions of your audience. Images that encourage emotional connections are compelling, relatable and memorable.

5. Pick Photos That Drive Action

Helping your audience connect emotionally to your presentation is important, but you also need to drive your audience to take action. Perhaps you want your audience to focus on a certain aspect of one slide or you want to invite exploration in an interactive PowerPoint presentation. Whatever the action you want to encourage, use images to direct your readers towards it. If you want your audience to look to the right, for example, display a photo of an individual who is gazing in that direction. Subtle visual cues can have a huge impact on an audience.

How to choose the right number of slides for a powerpoint presentation

6. Choose Complementary Images

You should choose photos that complement each other in order to make a greater impression. Creating consistency is key here, but you should also think about putting two or three complementary images on one slide to help your audience members draw connections between related pieces of your presentation. For example, juxtaposing fresh coffee beans against roasted beans and a beautiful latte is a great way to illustrate a relationship between concepts.

7. Use Images That Speak to Organisational Branding

If you’re making a presentation on behalf of your organisation, be sure that all of the images you use speak to that organisation’s brand and ethos. That means using images that play on branded colours as well as images that speak to brand values. Imagine that you’re giving a presentation about green manufacturing for a company that emphasises environmental responsibility. Using earthy colours and images of clean, crisp skies and waterways is a great way to send a subtle visual message that incorporates brand standards.

How to choose the right number of slides for a powerpoint presentation

8. Prioritize Simplicity & Clarity

There’s nothing complicated about this photo of four beakers with colored liquids. Because it’s simple and clear, viewers know right away what’s going on in the image. As you choose PowerPoint images, focus on simple visual that send a clear message. Avoid confusing your audience with overly complex or busy images. It’s particularly important to focus on simplicity and clarity if your presentation covers a complicated topic. Straightforward visuals give your audience a chance to relax and absorb your message.

9. Use Only High-Quality Images

It should come as no surprise that all of your PowerPoint images should be of the highest quality possible. Use high-resolution image files shot by professional photographers whenever possible. Avoid using picutres that are blurry, overexposed or grainy. Remember that the quality of the photos you put on the screen sends a message about the quality of your information. If you use amateur graphics, your audience is likely to assume that you’re an amateur too.

Following these simple guidelines will help ensure that your PowerPoint presentations are visually compelling. Of course, picking pictures for your PowerPoint presentations can be harder said than done. At Synapsis Creative, we’re design and PowerPoint professionals who know how to leverage imagery to create evocative, effective presentations. No matter your presentation needs, we can help.

Want to get some inspiration? Head on over to our portfolio page to feel inspired.

Guest blog article by Slide Cow

How to choose the right number of slides for a powerpoint presentation

But does it work in the presentation space? I mean, if we were to pick the right RGB values, hues, intensities, casts, and tints, would we be able to influence our presentation audience’s mood?

Depending on the message, choosing the right colors will get your audience to see what you want them to see and feel what you want them to feel. There is no better tactic than this in visual communication because you’re tapping into your audience’s emotional cues.

So let’s get into this with a little more detail. I’m going to list five colors and how they can have an impact on your audience’s mood(s). Depending on your message, you can use these colors to sway the room’s collective opinion to your favor.

Orange

How to choose the right number of slides for a powerpoint presentation

People use orange to associate their content with enthusiasm, creativity, and encouragement. It’s the go-to color to use when you want people to try something or accept something new. I’ve used the color orange in various presentations that instilled change, for example. Above everything else, the color orange is strongly associated with happiness and energy. It’s a “good-mood” color that can turn a frown upside down.

How to choose the right number of slides for a powerpoint presentation

Red is a power color. If red was a person, and he walked up to you, the first thing he’d say is “bow down to me, simpleton!”

Alright, I’m exaggerating.

Still, red is a color that calls for attention. It is a color that binds itself to energy because it is emotionally intense. When we interpret the color red, we could feel things like an elevated heart rate, or an increase in appetite. Think about it: don’t you think there’s some sort of explanation why Coca-Cola or McDonalds are branded the way they are?

Whenever you’re designing your slides, use red whenever you want to grab as much attention as possible.

Green

How to choose the right number of slides for a powerpoint presentation

Green is a little confusing. On one end of the spectrum, green is perceived as a “soft color.” It isn’t merely as intense as the other colors listed here. Instead, green is associated with things like nature or healing. Green exudes comforting vibes like relaxation, freshness, growth or harmony. I’ve used green in my PowerPoint slides whenever I want to make my audience feel as calm and collected as possible. On the other end of the conundrum, the color can be linked to ‘negative’ moods like envy or jealousy. This is because green is traditionally associated with corporate-focused items like money or financing or profit. I guess it comes down to how you want to use it.

Yellow

How to choose the right number of slides for a powerpoint presentation

Yellow is all about happiness and optimism. Think back to when you got that star-sticker in the third grade, or when you got a laughing emoji in your last text message. There’s a reason why those things are yellow. Yellow also helps whenever you want to categorize valuable points in your slide, and that’s only because it’s a color that stands from the crowd. I’ve used yellow several times in my presentations just to help me make each point stand out from the other.

How to choose the right number of slides for a powerpoint presentation

Blue is the ‘silent assassin’ of the color wheel. It’s not an in-your-face color like red or yellow. Its impact on one’s mood is really subtle; things like confidence, wisdom, and intelligence are highlighted very discretely. Blue also tends to represent calmness and tranquility. The color of the skies and seas in our beautiful world are blue, and whenever we look epic at them, we always give ourselves a moment to take it all in.

Influencing One’s Mood With Color

Visual communicators of today don’t tend to stick to the dull black-and-white, Arial font and bullet point routine. The best presenters use colors because they can significantly help get a crafted message across. If you’re excited to try choosing colors for yourself, then my best piece of advice would be to not stick to just one color. Experiment, explore, and above all, have fun. The real value is only gained when you know how to use colors in different combinations, all depending on your message.

Yousef “Yoyo” Abu Ghaidah

Yousef “Yoyo” Abu Ghaidah is a PowerPoint ninja that founded Slide Cow, a learning platform for all things PowerPoint, presentations and public speaking. When he’s not designing slides or giving presentations, he’s on another coffee run. You can follow him on Twitter here.

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