Notes for presentations

Rule of thumb

Sitting in the back of a room like CogSci 003, your viewers will see your slides at about 4 thumb-widths in height (when hand is held at full arm's distance). Make sure all your slides are readable at this size!


San Serif looks best. Arial is always safe! The smallest safe size for a font is 24 point. If you can, use the same font for all slides.


Can be helpful, but consider numbered lines too! Numbers are easier to refer to in speech. Not everything has to be a bullet, but if they all are, then each item should fit together in a list (ie, one should not be the conclusion reached from considering all the others).


Powerpoint gives every slide a title. It's not really necessary to do that. When saying experiment 1, 2, etc. try to come up with short and memorable titles for them, since you may know each experiment, but the audience will have likely forgotten.


Use graphics instead of text wherever possible.

Use a graphic illustrating your point while you talk over it, rather than a graphic after (or before) the text you speak. Results should be explained while showing a graph, rather than as a set of bullets on the next slide.


Yellow is hard to see. Bright green too, at least on white backgrounds. If you need lots of colors in a graph, consider a black background for the graph.  Unless you have a good reason, use white as your background color.

Text on slides

You don't need full sentences.


Generally a bad idea, unless it's to demonstrate your paradigm, in which case it's a great idea. Never describe a trial with text when you could show a diagram or simulate an example trial.

Last updated 7-2007 by Alan Robinson