Using lists in PowerPoint -
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Office_Jan27_CPresentations are not easy to create and deliver, and many people struggle with at least one aspect of the process. Presentation experts often cite what you need to do in order to give a successful presentation, with one of the most popular being the use of lists. When you create your next presentation in Microsoft PowerPoint try using a list.

What are lists in PowerPoint?

A common element of many PowerPoint presentations is the list. These lists are usually presented either ordered or unordered. Ordered lists use numbers like 1,2,3, while unordered lists use icons like dots which are commonly called bullets.

If you have a list with numbers or points in it, you will likely be better able to capture and retain the attention of your audience while making your presentations easier to read and follow. In fact, there are some presentation experts out there who only use bullet point lists, preferring to use these as a guide or pointers to note what to talk about.

How to put a list into your presentation

If you want to add a list to your presentation slides:

  1. Open your presentation or start a new one.
  2. Add a new slide and click on the text box.
  3. Enter your content and after each list item press Enter.
  4. Select the content you want to make into a list and press either the Numbered list or the Bulleted list icons under the Paragraphs section. This will put your content into a list.

Formatting your list

Once you have added a list to your presentation you may want to format it to make it more visible or even change the type of icon e.g., from 1 to I. You can do this by:

  1. Selecting your list.
  2. Pressing the arrow beside either the bullet list or numbered list icon in the Paragraph section of the Home ribbon.
  3. Clicking on Bullets and Numbering from the drop down menu.
  4. Selecting the icon you like, as well as color and size, and pressing Ok.

Tips for better lists in your presentation

  • Know the difference between bullets and numbers – For the most part, there is little difference between bullets and numbers. That being said, numbers usually indicate a ranking or steps. Bullets are often used for points that are all equal, or at least don’t need to be ranked specifically.
  • Limit the number of list items – The best presentations limit the number of list items on each slide. It is a good idea to have no more than 4-6 points per slide. This helps ensure that your audience can read the slides and will pay attention longer, instead of reading the list and stopping listening.
  • Bold the main point – If you are going to have a list with text explaining the main point, bold the main point and put it first. Much like this list on this post. This will highlight the main point you are trying to make to your audience.
  • Keep text to a minimum – No one likes to read large amounts of text in a presentation. In fact, most people will stop listening to you to read the slides. Try to have no more than one to a maximum of two lines of text per list item.
  • Think about whether to animate – In most professional presentations, it is best to leave out the animations. These can take too much time to actually show or can even lead to mistakes that can be difficult to recover from while presenting e.g., clicking advance too early. On the other hand, some animations are useful, especially if you need to draw attention to an important fact.

If you are looking to learn more about using PowerPoint and the other programs included in Microsoft Office please contact us today.

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